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What is the Difference between Laminate and Veneer?

What's the difference between veneer and laminate? Laminate vs Veneer: What Should You Choose For Your Furniture?

Whenever we think of wooden furniture, we expect our furniture pieces to me made wholesomely from the finest wood. – a 100% wood furniture. The most popular wood choices being- Indian Rosewood, Mahogany, Oak, Teak and others. However, owning superior quality wood furniture in the present times is not a cheap feat especially with its aftercare & maintenance. Hence, instead of making any huge investments, we opt for smarter choices which are cheaper and the near-exact replicas of wood – Laminate or Veneer. Though for an interior designer or a carpenter, Laminates & Veneer mean differently, but for a common man it is nerve-wracking to make an informed choice between the two. So, let us help you through -

Laminates/ Laminate Wood

What we Indians fondly call Sunmica, Laminate wood is a household name. It is most widely used all over India. Laminate is created industrially by fusing together thinnest paper sheets with plastic. The resulting sheets are then printed upon with desired patterns or colors of choice.

Unique Characteristics of Laminate Wood

a)     Flexibility

Since Laminate designs are printed, it can replicate or be anything that a user wants! Any color/pattern laminates can be purchased from the market or be customized.

b)     Durability

The inclusion of plastic makes Laminate sheets much longer lasting. It is resistant to water, scratches, staining, natural deterioration like termite infestation etc. You might get bored of your Laminate but, it won’t wear out on your furniture by itself.

c)      Application

The usage of laminates faces no restriction whatsoever. Laminates are as perfect for strenuous commercial usage as it for private household usage. They are mostly used in almirahs, kitchen cabinets, wardrobes, wall units and others.

d)     Installation

Laminate wood is easiest to install as they do not require any sanding, painting, polishing, or any kind of external finishing. They come ready for installation.

e)     Pricing

The biggest advantage of purchasing Laminate wood is that Laminates being mass produced in factories are easy on the pocket thus, a cheap investment.

f)       Aesthetic Appeal

The mass production leaves Laminates bereft of any natural aesthetic appeal. Every laminate board is identical to another.

Veneers/ Veneer wood

Veneer wood is structurally a layer of chosen wood stuck upon an inferior quality of wood/fiber board substance using a strong adhesive. Thus, it can be defined as being an all-wood alternative to Laminates.

Unique Characteristics of Veneer Wood

a)     Eco-Friendly

Since Veneers are created by fusing two different types of wood hence; it is environment-friendly and will not pollute the Earth be it in production or in scrapping.

b)     Aesthetic Appeal

Veneer wood empowers users to own furniture with real wood of their choice thus; naturally, the aesthetic appeal is stronger than as compared to Laminate. It contains real wood, after all!

c)      Uniqueness

Laminates are all alike. But, that is not the case with Veneer. No piece of Veneer will match another 100%. Every Veneer is as unique as a Zebra’s stripes. They are a sheer treat to one’s eyes!

d)     Installation

Veneer wood because it is not water proof, scratch proof or sturdy enough to withstand natural causes, requires sanding, painting, polishing, or other kinds of external finishing. They do not come ready for installation. Hence, additional overhead costs are needed to be incurred.

e)     Usage

Veneer wood boards are advised to be used in limited quantity so as to enhance their effect and also since they are a costly investment to maintain. Hence, Veneer wood is most suited for personal usage within homes.

f)       Maintenance

Originality can never be an easy maintenance. Even in the case of wooden furniture, a veneer wood piece requires regular dusting, polishing, coating and a maintenance regime to prolong its life and to keep it safe from termites.

g)     Pricing

Uniqueness and natural wholesomeness come at a price and Veneer that are made of high quality, real wood is costly. Veneer boards are costlier than Laminates any day.

Roughly speaking, where Laminates are meant for bulk usages, Veneers are an exclusive purchase. So, when you are making a decision between Laminate and Veener begin by understanding your requirements, your preferences, area to be covered, traffic to be received, maintenance and pricing of the two under consultation with an experienced interior designer. 

 Author Bio: 

Nishant Gupta is founder of Simply Interiors with more than 5 years of experience in FMCG (CPG and Retail domain). He is adept at operations along with marketing and finance. We at Simply Interiors are Leading interior designers and one of our areas of Specialisation is Room Painting Ideas for your Home. 


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