Let us understand the difference between veneers and laminates, two of the most commonly used materials these days, which are being used for giving final finish to the plywood for the wooden furniture.
To start with, let’s take a look at what veneers and laminates are and how they are made.
What is a Veneer?
Veneer is a very thin slice of wood obtained from a tree log. That is why it is also known as wood veneer, since they are actually slices of wood.
What is a Laminate?
Laminates, also known as decorative laminates, are artificially produced materials made from paper and plastic resins. Similar to veneers these are also used as an overlay over wooden surfaces to increase their beauty.
Note: In India, people often refer to laminates by the name of mica or Sunmica (which is actually the name of a well-known laminate company that was an early entrant in the Indian laminate market). There are also many other popular brands of laminates available.
Veneers v/s Laminates
The question of whether to choose laminates or veneers often arises when we are re-decorating our furniture. Another often asked question is whether to go for Veneered Plywood or Laminated Plywood for the kitchen cabinets or other such furniture. The major points of comparison between veneers and laminates are listed below.
1. Which looks better?
Both laminates and veneers are decorative overlay materials, meant to increase the beauty of the underlying wood. If you prefer a natural look and feel, veneers is a good choice, because its a wooden material, a slice of wood. There are many kinds of good looking wood veneers obtained from different trees. e.g. teak, cherry, oak, maple etc.
On the other hand, there are also laminates available in the market that resemble wood grain patterns and look exactly like wood, though they are not. Since decorative laminates are made from designs printed on paper, there is a wide variety available.
The basic point is veneers are natural, while laminates are artificial materials.
2. Which is costlier?
High quality veneers are generally costlier than laminates. The cost of laminates depends on the brand and quality.
3. Which ones are easier to maintain?
Laminates are easier to maintain. They are scratch-resistant, waterproof and usually retain their look for years. In comparison, veneers require more maintenance. They need to be polished from time to time, so that they look as beautiful as ever.
4. Which one is better. Veneered or Laminated plywood?
This is matter of choice.
In terms of aesthetic value, veneered plywood (natural veneer glued over plywood) looks better than laminated plywood in many cases. But laminates on the other hand, offer a wider variety such as high-gloss, plain vanilla look, thousands of design patterns and colours, as also the popular ones that resemble natural wood grain patterns.
In terms of strength, veneered plywood has higher durability than the laminates.
In terms of maintenance, laminates are easy to maintain and do not require any polishing over a period of time.