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So, you have a choice to make? And it’s a hard one? Whether to finish furniture with laminates or veneers is a dilemma that every homemaker would have faced. While there is no one single correct answer to this, below, we try to explain the difference between the two. All said, this decision is best taken depending upon your taste, style, costs and time constraints.
- Looks: Veneers are the next best thing to natural wood furniture. Go for veneers if you want that classy, vintage look for your furniture. Laminates, in contrast, being artificial decorative material, are available in a wide range of looks and designs. Laminates are even available in wooden designs, to give the furniture that "natural wooden" look. The sheer range available in laminates outnumbers the options in veneers.
- Costs: Veneers are inarguably more expensive than laminates. A good quality designer laminate can be purchased between Rs. 1,500-2,000/sheet while the same for a veneer would be at least Rs. 3,500/sheet. Plus the labour costs associated with veneer polish is extra. Veneers have to be compulsorily polished, this increases the overall costs of furniture finished with veneers.
- Time: As mentioned above, veneers have to be necessarily polished. This process takes anywhere between 4-10 days, depending upon the area of the furniture and layout. This adds to the timeline of your furniture completion.
- Durability and maintenance: Veneers require much careful maintenance as compared to laminates, they have to be dusted correctly and periodically. Plus if exposed to direct sunlight, veneers tend to yellow over a period of time. And veneer repolishing is practically a very difficult process. So you might have to replace your veneers altogether. In comparison, laminates are much simpler and easier to maintain. Both laminated and veneered furniture can easily last between 12-15 years if maintained well.
So, in a nutshell, if you are fond of that old, classy, vintage wooden furniture ad wouldn't mind paying extra, waiting longer and coping with the maintenance requirements, then veneers is for you. Else, you might be better off finishing your furniture with laminates.