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What are the Disadvantages of Wood Veneer?

Posted by Laurence Lok on

wood veneer

People are initially attracted to veneers because they offer a cost-efficient alternative to traditional wood and may appear quite similar at first blush. But there’s a reason why solid wood furniture costs more.

Most Common Problems with Wood Veneer

The quality of veneers is absolutely lower compared to its hardwood counterpart. Veneer products are extremely thin and more susceptible to water damage – a problem that will cause the material to peel and reveal the particle board beneath it. Veneer also becomes costly to repair as the entire surface usually needs to be replaced once it’s damaged.

The number one way to spot veneer is by its repeating “butterfly” pattern. Because veneer is basically thin sheets of wood, the grain patterns are often reversed back to back creating the obvious faux-wood look. On the other hand, real hardwood has a natural grain pattern that develops organically and does not repeat.

Last but not least, veneer is often overlaid on particleboard, MDF, or plywood which has a different expansion and contraction rate than the veneer on top. The result is that when the veneer naturally expands or contracts according to the climate, the material below it does not expand or contract at the same rate causing the veneer to crack over time.

The bottom line is that if you plan to have your furniture for several years, it is more cost-effective to purchase a solid wood product than a cheaper veneered alternative.