March 04, 2022 7 min read

Top 5 Best Quality Reclining Sofa Brands At Furniture Fair

Today, shopping for wooden furniture might seem more complicated than in the past. There are now many different types of composite wood and artificial wood finishes. How can you tell them apart? More importantly, how can you distinguish between wooden construction and a wood veneer?

While both materials have pros and cons, you should know whether you are buying natural wood or a wood veneer for your home. At Furniture Fair, we carry many brands that feature solid wood and brands that feature wood veneers, and we want to help you learn to tell them apart.

This article will help you determine which material your furniture is made from and what to look for to help determine which material your piece uses. Read on to learn more about the differences between wood and wood veneers.

What Is Solid Wood?

Solid wood is harvested from timber rather than manufactured or constructed from various wood composites or woodlike substances. Solid wood is the real thing, and there are no corners cut to save costs. If it's solid wood, it's about as close to a whole tree as your furniture can get.

Solid wood benefits are durability, easier finish repair, and a wow factor that few other furniture construction materials provide. Solid wood furniture is some of the best quality furniture on the market.

When you buy solid wood, whether for a wooden bed and dressers or wooden chairs and a dining table, you are investing in the longevity of your furniture. Your cost will be higher than cheap furniture, but the longevity will make your piece more economical over time. A solid wood piece of furniture is an excellent option if you hate replacing your couch or dining set every three years.

Some solid wood tables even have a catalyzed finish, making the already durable wood stronger and easier to maintain. In addition to added strength, a catalyzed finish also provides stain resistance, so any accidental spills are no longer quite as damaging.

One of the few drawbacks of solid wood furniture is that it may be heavier because it is natural wood. If you live on the third floor or need to move around for work, solid wood furniture may not be the best option.

Another potential drawback to solid wood furniture is that each piece of furniture will look slightly different due to the varying nature of wood. Because trees are organic plants, they do not grow uniformly, and each piece of lumber will have specific characteristics that are not the same.

Solid wood furniture is also not as affordable as wood veneer since trees are a valuable resource and take a long time to grow to harvestable sizes. Affordability is why many manufacturers use engineered woods to create their furniture.  

Keep that in mind when deciding between natural wood and wood veneers. Higher quality is a great plus, but don't let your desire for a quality put you out of an affordable price range. Solid wood is the best option for someone looking to invest in long-lasting quality furniture.

What Are Wood Veneers?

One of the first things to get out of the way when talking about wood veneers is, yes, a wood veneer is still wood. A wood veneer comprises thin slices of wood engineered to be as strong as solid wood.

Wood veneers are usually a 16th inch to about an 8th of an inch thick and provide a wood surface to furniture without being as costly as solid wood furniture. The thin slicing technique allows for more material to be used in the design process.

The wood veneer process allows companies to use wood that would typically go to waste, which creates a more eco-friendly manufacturing process. The method also saves more material for use in furniture for lower prices than solid wood.

Another pro for wood veneers is that a veneer's flexibility allows the material to be bent into shapes that cannot be achieved with solid wood. This means you can design a much more creative style than solid wood designs.

One of the drawbacks of wood veneers is that they are more susceptible to water damage than solid wood. If left untreated, moisture underneath the wood veneer can cause it to bubble up and eventually separate.

Another downside to wood veneers is that a veneer finish cannot be repaired or refinished as quickly as solid woods can. A wood veneer can only be refinished once because of its thin material.

Which Wood Option Is Best For Me?

So now that you know the difference between solid wood and a wood veneer, the next thing to determine is which one is right for you. Here are a few things to consider when deciding for yourself.

If you are looking for a statement piece of furniture or furniture with heirloom quality, solid wood is a great option to consider. If you want to buy furniture that your grandchildren will be proud to own when you are gone, brands like Stickley, Daniel’s Amish, and MAVIN are ideal choices.

If you are someone who moves a lot or likes to redecorate with changing style trends, solid wood may not be the option for you. The cost of solid wood means investing for years, and using such an expensive piece for a limited time is not a good use of your investment.

Here's one final thing to consider when it comes to solid wood. If you are on a tighter budget, solid wood may not be the best investment. If you are looking to stretch your dollar further, or perhaps you are just looking to furnish a college dorm for four years, solid wood furniture may not be the best choice for your budget. 

When considering wood veneers, here are a few things to consider. Wood veneer furniture is excellent for those who want a quality inlay. Inlaid wood furniture comes in many ornate designs and can be made to match many design styles.

If you like the more complex designs and shapes achievable through veneer finishes, then wood veneers are a perfect choice. In addition, the curved elements that veneers can provide will also give you incredible style choices.

If you are on a budget, veneer furniture is a great option. Not only does wood veneer construction make for lighter furniture, but also more cost-effective furniture meaning additional savings for you and more bang for your buck.

If you have a large family or your furniture gets a lot of use from friends, kids, roommates, or other people in your home, wood veneers may not be best for long-term use. Veneers are thin, and scratches can quickly form from too much unintentional roughness.

However, many wood veneer manufacturers have developed newer methods to help prevent scratches and stains and keep the veneers from coming up over time. Modern veneers, combined with a great protection plan can now negate many drawbacks that would have affected furniture in the past.

How To Identify Solid Wood Vs. Wood Veneer Finishes

So you may have decided on which type of wood material you want for your next furniture purchase, but now the task of identifying whether or not the piece you are looking at is made of solid wood, wood veneers, or maybe even a mixture of both?

If you don't have a career's worth of woodworking experience, there are some key ways to identify the differences between the two wood materials. When looking at the table's surface, for instance, check and see if the individual boards that make up the tabletop are visible.

Visible lines are a good indicator that the table has solid wood; however, there are also patterned veneers that could be confused for solid wood. If you aren't sure which wood type is, follow the natural seam lines.

Solid wood boards will have seems where they fit against other boards. The seams run across the top and on the sides, while veneers often use strips of veneer on thinner sides of the furniture. If the tabletop has lines on the top but not on the side, it is likely a veneer.

Another great indicator of wood veneer is when a seemingly solid piece of wood has wood grains going in different directions. Natural wood grains follow the same pattern and do not cross, which means if your furniture has a piece with crossed wood grains, it is most likely a veneer of some type.

By contrast, many solid wood pieces will have unique appearances and marks due to being natural. Small knicks, insect marks from when the tree was growing, knots, and other blemishes will be part of the natural beauty visible in solid wood pieces.

Natural wood can also feature slight discoloration due to natural elements from the environment near where the tree was harvested. These natural discolorations add an extra level of unique beauty to pieces while not affecting the piece's structural integrity.

Depth of finish is another indicator that your piece is solid wood. Veneer finishes are fragile, which means the finish is right on the surface. Solid wood finishes penetrate deeper into the wood and allow for a much more vibrant finish that lets the wood shine.

Ready To Find The Perfect Wood Finish For Your New Furniture?

Now that you know the differences between solid wood and wood veneers and how to tell the difference, you will be better prepared to shop for your next dining room set, bedroom suite, or sectional with confidence.

Remember that both solid wood and wood veneers have pros and cons, and it is up to you to decide which of them is right for you. Remember that solid wood furniture is heirloom quality and will last for decades but will not have the uniform consistency of wood veneers.

Finally, keep in mind that solid wood is higher cost but will be more cost-effective in the long run, while wood veneers tend to be a bit more affordable but may not last as long as solid wood. Keep both facts in mind when deciding between the two options.

If you live in Cincinnati, Dayton, Northern Kentucky, or Louisville and want a better idea of the selections available for either wood type, consider visiting Furniture Fair. The showrooms at Furniture Fair have a wide selection of wood veneers and examples of our top five solid wood brands. Visit today and see them for yourself.

Top 5 Best Quality Reclining Sofa Brands At Furniture Fair

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