A wood finish on office furniture can look absolutely stunning, and it has the flexibility to run the whole gamut of styles, from the light, rustic look of rough, unfinished wood, to the high-class gravitas of a dark, fine-grain, executive-style desk.
However, if you’ve browsed through catalogues for wood office furniture, you may have noticed that there are generally two options when it comes to wood finishes: Veneers or Laminates. (Unless you’re springing for solid wood, which can be considerably more expensive and is usually reserved for high-level executives in larger companies.)
If you don’t have a background in home improvement or office installation services, you might find yourself wondering:
A Veneer is a thin layer of real wood that is glued onto a cheaper composite (usually particle board, MDF, or plywood).
Laminate is alsoglued onto inexpensive material, just like a veneer, only it’s a layer of plastic with a wood-patterned print. This is meant to look similar to a veneer finish, only with the lower cost and increased durability of plastic.
Veneers are the more aesthetically pleasing option. Since they’re real wood, they have the look, the texture, and even the smell of a solid wood desk. Veneers are also often available on higher-quality furniture; some pieces will apply an expensive veneer, such as oak or cherry wood, onto a solid desk made from an inexpensive wood such as pine or alder.
Veneers are much more fragile than laminates. Unlike a plastic laminate, a wood veneer can chip and crack. Wood is also naturally porous—meaning it can absorb water, coffee, and anything else that might spill on it, resulting in unsightly stains and making it more vulnerable to environmental damage. Veneer office furniture tends to pay for its superior aesthetics with a shorter lifespan.
Laminate is often far less expensive than veneer, with regards to both up-front cost and the lifespan of the product. Since laminate is plastic, it isn’t textured or porous, meaning it won’t crack, splinter, or stain like a veneer would. Also, since the ‘wood’ texture on a laminate is printed, laminates usually come with a much wider variety of colours and styles than veneers.
Laminates often don’t look or feel quite like the real thing. While they might look passable from a distance, they tend to be a little too flat and plastic to be natural once you’re up close. And, while they are resistant to spills and cracks, when they do begin to peel at the corners or wear down from friction, they very quickly become major eyesores.
Whether you prefer the aesthetic value of veneer or the pragmatic value of laminate, we’ll make sure your furniture is delivered and installed safely, properly, on schedule, and with minimal disruption to your business workflow. Book an office installation appointment today.