Laminates, particularly in South India, are commonly referred to in India as sun-mica. These are typically seen in kitchen furniture, dressing room, and center tables. It comes in the form of a paper. Laminate is made by pressing together a blend of paper and plastic. Brown paper and decorative paper soaked in phenolic and melamine resins are hard-pressed together to form a stiff laminate sheet.
Laminate paper is pressed on wooden boards such as particleboard or plyboard in its final shape to provide the furniture with the final clean finish.
Veneers are another common name in the same group as laminates. Veneers are very thin layers of natural wood such as teak or mahogany which are pressed in much the same manner as seen above on boards. Veneers look similar to a wooden finish and can be brushed, providing the consumer with a wooden touch and feel. To render a long veneer sheet, the veneer sheet is stitched together and the MDF board (machine) is pressed with a veneer sheet.
Strengths and Drawbacks of Laminate and Veneer
- Laminate is plastic and parchment, while the veneer is a natural wood sheet. With paint and proper care, veneers get a wooden look and contribute to the richness of the furniture.
- Laminates are resistant to water and scratch and come in several colors and shades, such as shiny, matte, and soft textures. Veneers, on the other hand, come in minimal colors and forms of shades since they are natural wood layers.
- For kitchen cabinets, wardrobes, etc., laminates are generally a better option, and for some furniture that is not always used, veneers are a better choice, but the artistic appeal of the furniture is important, such as the center table or coffee table.
- Since veneers come from real wood and are not made artificially inside the factory, veneers are much more costly than laminates.