A sure way to recognize wood laminate is when the grain does NOT follow through your piece. Wood Veneer is a sheet or thin layer of 'quality-natural-hardwood' that is adhered to a lesser quality wood surface. Wood Veneers give the impression of a more desired quality wood without being as costly.
If the underside of the furniture you are inspecting has a grain that looks completely different than the top, then it's a veneer. Top and bottom veneer pieces are made from two different pieces of wood, meaning they won't match.
Laminate flooring will have a repeating pattern. It may not be obvious right away, but that's only because you're not looking for it. If you stare long enough, you will likely find boards with the same wood grain. Hardwood flooring is made from solid wood, so every board will be different.
The easiest way to identify real wood furniture is by its weight. Real wood weighs significantly more than its artificial counterpart. The solid construction of a real wood piece is not only more durable but also much more sturdy.
You can often tell the piece is laminate due to the manufactured appearance of the wood grain. Higher-end laminate pieces have a slightly more realistic look, but it's not the same as a piece made from real wood.
Painting a beloved, but perhaps slightly dated, piece of laminate furniture empowers you to easily freshen up your space—without spending a lot of money. Can you paint laminate? Yes—and it's actually quite simple.
By definition, laminate is a printed surface made to look like real wood, but usually made of plastic and bonded to a composite base. Whereas, the veneer is a thin layer of real hardwood applied to a less expensive material such as plywood.
This process leaves a completely smooth surface that does not show any seams. The lack of seams around the door's joints can be a clear indication that your cabinet doors are a laminate material.
Common Types of Wood Used for Veneers
The most commonly used tree species for softwood veneer is the Douglas fir, although pines are also used. The supply of other softwoods is limited. As a general overview, common types of wood used for veneers include: Anigre.
If you feel the surface, hardwood typically has texture and grains, while laminate is hard, glassy, and has a plastic feel to it.
Veneer: High-quality veneers are much costlier than laminates. The value of veneer depends on the type of wood.
Veneer can be a very smooth surface, so chalk paint alone will probably scratch off. Make sure the veneer doesn't have cracks. If needed, remove any sections of peeling veneer. Clean the piece well, prime, and then apply a few coats of chalk paint to the veneer furniture.
You canNOT stain laminate. It's not wood! The stain has nothing to soak into, and will literally sit on top of the laminate and never fully dry. It will be a nasty sticky mess forevermore.
Latex paint is recommended for laminate surface painting projects because of its durability and smooth finish. Try ProClassic Interior Acrylic Latex Enamel for lighter colors, and All Surface Latex Enamel Base for deeper hues.
Laminate is a multi-layer synthetic flooring product. It is designed to imitate the appearance of real wood. The core layer of laminate flooring is manufactured primarily from melamine resin and fiber board material. The top layer has an imprinted textured image made to look like real wood.
Laminate has a thicker composition that includes wood content, which helps it to feel warmer and slightly soft. Vinyl, however, tends to be quite hard and cold to the touch, so it's generally not the best choice for main living areas and bedrooms. Many homeowners prefer the look of laminate to that of vinyl.
Vinyl stands up the best against excess moisture and spills, and it can be less expensive than laminate. However, laminate gives a more realistic wood look to enhance the design aesthetic in your home.
Can You Sand Veneer? As you might expect, veneered pieces are very delicate and require careful sanding to avoid irreversible damage. If you sand veneer too much, you may render it unusable.
How They're Made. Wood veneers are made by attaching a thin slice of natural wood onto a panel of fiberboard or particleboard. It's important to note that veneers use a piece of real wood, not manufactured material made to look like wood.
Edge banding is sometimes a thin strip of veneer, with adhesive on one side, that covers raw and exposed sides of particleboard and plywood. In other cases, edge banding is solid wood (usually from scraps) that is applied with glue or by making a groove in the piece of wood it needs to fit.