Wood Veneers: Combining Elegance with Durability

There are two main types of wood furniture: solid wood and wood veneers. It is a common misconception that solid wood furniture is of higher quality than veneers; in many instances, veneer furniture will outperform solid wood furniture in durability, strength and manageability. Here, we’ve laid out four reasons why veneer furniture remains one of the most popular options for home furnishing.

Wood Veneer

 

What is wood veneer?

Wood veneer is a thin slice of natural wood that is attached, through gluing or pressing, onto a panel of fiberboard or particleboard. In furniture, wood veneers give the appearance of an all-wood piece, when in reality only the surface is taken from natural wood.

 

Advantages: Wood veneer pieces use a minimal amount of natural wood, making them more environmentally friendly. Wood veneers are also less prone to the splintering and warping that can come from an all-wood design.

Disadvantages: Unlike solid wood, once damaged, wood veneers can be difficult or costly to repair.

Benefits of Wood Veneers

  • They're still very durable

    Just because veneer furniture isn't completely made up of solid wood, doesn't mean it's not durable. Because veneer furniture is not prone to the same aging effects as solid wood, such as splitting or warping, wood veneer furniture will often outlast solid wood furniture by years.

  • They're easy to clean
    When it comes to furniture upkeep, wood veneer furniture is one of the easiest to clean. For general maintenance, all it takes is a quick wipe-down with a dry or damp cloth to keep dust and dirt away.

  • They have an even appearance in grain pattern
    In wood veneer furniture, slices of real wood are applied or glued to a fiber or particleboard. This process makes it easy to locate particularly beautiful patterns in the wood's grain and incorporate them into the aesthetic of the furniture design.

  • They're sustainable
    Finally, wood veneer furniture is environmentally friendly. Because only the outermost layer of veneer furniture is made from wood, choosing veneer furniture over solid wood furniture helps to conserve natural resources – while still maintaining the beautiful natural aesthetic found in 100% solid wood.

Laminate vs. Veneer

 

Laminate is not wood, veneer is wood. The difference between the two is that laminate is a material other than wood with a coating made to look like wood, while veneer is actual, thin slice of wood that is pressed onto the surface of a furniture piece.

 

Types of Wood Veneer

 

Technically, the types of wood veneer are the same as the types of wood – since veneer is simply a thinly-sliced piece of wood. There are, however, types that are commonly seen in furniture and which you will probably encounter more often than others. These include:

  • Ash veneer

  • Oak veneer

  • Birch veneer

  • Acacia veneer

  • Beech veneer

Can You Stain Wood Veneer?

 

Yes, if the veneer is unvarnished and untreated, you can stain it with a paint for wood. You’ll need to sand down the surface of the wood first, getting it smooth and rid of dust and wood flakes; once it’s sanded down, wipe down the surface with a very slightly dampened cloth to pick up remaining specks before applying the stain. Varnished veneers can be stained, as well, but will require a little more work in removing the treatment when it comes to sanding down – you may not be able to completely remove the coloring through sanding, but if you’re planning on staining over the veneer with a new, darker color altogether, then this shouldn’t be an issue, as the new treatment will cover and hide the old.