Wooden furniture has always been a popular choice for Indian homes. However, you’d be hard-pressed to find high-quality solid wood furniture at a nominal price. So, most of us opt for more affordable alternatives, like veneer and laminate, with decorative finishes. Also, we choose them over solid wood because these simulate the look and feel of wood. This leads to the question—laminate vs veneer, which is a better finish?

Veneers and laminates (commonly called as Sun Mica in India) are the most common finishing materials for furniture made of MDF, particleboard plywood or solid wood. And before we begin comparing, it is important to note that the differences between veneer and laminate give each of them their own merits. While design and aesthetics are an important concern, you should not forget about durability and cost.

What is a Laminate Finish?

A laminate is an artificial material made by pressing together thin layers of flat paper and plastic resins at a high temperature and pressure. One of these layers of paper is the decorative paper, which gives the laminate its colour or printed pattern. To make things easier, we made a quick video about laminates for you.

What is a Veneer Finish?

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Both finishes look lovely in their own way

A veneer is technically a thin layer of hardwood which is stuck to the core material’s surface using strong adhesives. In fact, it can be used to hide the lower quality or less appealing look of a core material to make the item look flawless and expensive.

Let’s take a closer look at the two materials and understand all the laminate and veneer differences. In this debate of laminate finish vs veneer finish, we have covered all the aspects that majorly impact our decision when it comes to choosing one of these materials.

Laminate vs Veneer: Which is a Better Finish?

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A laminate-finish dining table for a sleek look

Laminate vs Veneer: Variety

Laminate: Available in numerous colours and shades, these can be broadly classified into textured, high gloss, soft and matte. Comparatively, textured laminates replicate the feel of materials like wood or stone. As a result, one can use different types of laminates according to one’s personal style.

Veneer: There are a few types of veneer laminates, each serving a particular purpose. Accordingly, you can classify veneers into raw, paper backed, phenolic backed, laid up, reconstituted veneer and wood on wood. Since it is a natural material, veneer is available in a limited number of shades when it is about laminate vs veneer.

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A bar unit with a wooden laminate finish

Laminate vs Veneer: Maintenance

Laminate: Laminates are definitely easier to maintain. This difference between veneer and laminate goes a long way. That’s because laminates are not only scratch-resistant and waterproof, but also retain their look for years.

Veneer: When it comes to laminate vs veneer, veneers require more maintenance. This is because you will need to polish veneer surfaces from time to time to maintain its look.

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Opt for laminate as it requires low-maintenance

Laminate vs Veneer: Aesthetics

Laminate: These are available in a variety of colours and designs. But since these are mass-produced, one wooden laminate sheet will look the same as the other. Hence, laminate sheets don’t possess the uniqueness in wooden grains like veneer laminates do.

Veneer: Since veneer laminates are wood-make, they maintain the elegance and grace of their parent material. If this difference between veneer and laminate matters, then know that each veneer is distinctive, adding a unique and rich feel to furniture.

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Chic and classy veneer finish bar unit

Laminate vs Veneer in Terms of Durability

Laminate: Laminates are known for their durability and reliability. Since it looks like wood, and you stick it to a strong core material, it is extremely durable and resists scratches and stains.

Veneer: Veneers are usually not as durable as laminates. They require maintenance and care since they are prone to scratches. As a result, most rented homes have laminate finishes and not veneer finishes.

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When it comes to kitchen, high gloss laminate is a great option due to its durability

Laminate vs Veneer: Cost

Laminate: These materials are usually pocket-friendly and more affordable as compared to veneers. In fact, the price of laminates depends on the quality and the brand.

Veneer: High-quality veneers are much costlier than laminates. The veneer vs laminate cost difference sometimes also depends on the raw materials and the process of making. For instance, the value of veneer depends on the type of wood.

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A stylish way to jazz up your home interiors with veneer laminates

Laminate vs Veneer: Utility

Laminate: Since they are durable, laminates are the better choice for kitchen cabinets. Also, this material is the best choice for wardrobes and other frequently used furniture.

Veneer: If there is furniture that you intend to use as statement pieces or as focal points, then veneer laminates are preferable. Seeing that they add aesthetic value and a distinctive look compared to other materials.

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Use laminate for frequently-used furniture

Summary:

VeneerLaminate
MaintenanceHighLow
DurabilityLowHigh
CostHighLow
Scratch-ResistanceNo, but can be
sanded and polished
Yes
AppearanceUnique PatternsRepetitive Patterns
Heat-ResistanceNoYes
Water-ResistanceNoYes

We hope these tips guide you, the next time you are deciding between laminates and veneers for your home! Since these are not the only materials that leave us confused with choices, we have more such comparisons for you. Accordingly, you can find out the difference between vitrified tiles and marble from here: Vitrified Tiles vs Marble: Flooring Options for Your Home.

How Can Livspace Help You?

We hope you found our ideas useful! If you want beautiful interiors for your home, then look no further. Book an online consultation with Livspace today. Send in your comments and suggestions to editor@livspace.com