Veneer vs Laminate

When perusing for interior design materials, there’s no doubt that you’ve come across these terms, veneer and laminate. Currently two of the most popular furniture and home decor options, they are frequently used to decorate the outer layer of engineered wood products such as plywood, MDF or particleboards. Veneer and laminate have been pitched against each other time and time again to determine which one is the superior wood finish. So to settle this once and for all, we’ll go over both and help you decide which you should use to touch up your dream home.

Both veneer and laminate are made as a protective and decorative layer for the various engineered wooden boards. What sets them apart is the way these materials are made. Veneer is a thin layer of real wood that is peeled straight from a log of wood, the same type of veneer plywood is made of. Thanks to this, veneer maintains a high degree of authenticity and class; it is a great option if you want to achieve the look of real wood without actually using expensive hardwood. Veneer is also durable and can last for many years if properly maintained. Furthermore, it can be sanded and refinished if it gets scratched or damaged, which makes it a more sustainable option compared to laminate. However, veneer can be more expensive and require much more maintenance to preserve its good looking surface. Being sliced wood, veneer is still susceptible to water, and although you can apply certain finishing on it to reduce water damage, it’s still recommended that you avoid water entirely with veneer. Best use for it would be in luxurious home interior designs, preferably as furniture and cabinets. Though you can use them in high moisture areas such as kitchens and bathrooms, try to keep their use in these environments limited. 

Laminate, on the other hand, is a synthetic material made of several layers of paper or plastic resin. It can mimic the look of real wood or other materials. Laminate is also very durable and resistant to scratches, moisture, and heat. It is also very easy to clean and maintain. However, laminate cannot be sanded or refinished if it gets damaged, which means that you will have to replace the entire layer if it’s damaged. However, this shouldn’t set you back too much, since laminate is cheaper than veneer. Laminate has very high water tolerance since it’s manufactured with waterproof glue. This makes it perfect to be installed in damp areas such as kitchens and bathrooms, where the use of veneer is less ideal. Laminate’s high waterproofness has a price ,though, the special glue that grants it these properties also emits high amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Though not fatally harmful these toxic emissions have been known to cause damage to your lungs and nervous system.

When comparing veneer and laminate, there are several factors to consider. Veneer is a more natural and sustainable option that can provide a higher-end look, but it can be more expensive and less resistant to moisture. Laminate, on the other hand, is a more affordable and durable option that can mimic the look of various materials, but won’t look as nice. Ultimately, the choice between veneer and laminate depends on your personal preference, budget and what you intend to use the wooden boards for. Speaking of which, now that you’ve chosen the finishing you like, you would probably need something to glue it on to. Which we would (biasedly and) highly recommend plywood. If you’re not familiar, we got you covered with numerous articles on the various plywood types out there, take a look at our article comparing plywood and MDF:

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