When selecting your office furniture, you will face the option of melamine or veneer surfaces. There are often misconceptions between the two products so here is a short guide to help you choose.
While both materials are used in office furniture, they present similarities and differences.
Melamine and veneer are both made of a thin layer that is applied to a core panel such as MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard), particle board or LDF (Low Density Fibreboard).
The difference between both products actually lies in that thin layer that is applied to the core panel.
Melamine is a man-made product made of an organic compound combined with formaldehyde. It is a thermostatic plastic material that is applied on to the core panel mentioned above. Every melamine board has a consistent colouring and grain pattern. It is durable to years of commercial use, easy to clean and won’t discolour from heat or age.
- Melamine comes in a variety of imitation prints and colour
- It is fire resistant
- It is heat tolerant
- It is versatile
- It is a highly stable and hard surface
- It is easy to take care of
How to identify melamine?
It is printed, therefore patterns are consistent and can be perfectly matched. It wraps around the underside of the work tops.
Wood veneers are made from cutting a fine leaf or layer of timber which is then applied to a core panel. Just as each tree is unique, so are the colours and grain structures of each piece of veneer. As a general rule, over time, lighter veneers will darken and darker veneers will lighten.
- It has a real wood feel
- It can be made from hundreds of different types of wood
- It is a more sustainable and cheaper option of introducing natural material into furniture
- It is not as limited in design possibilities as solid timber
How to identify veneer?
Patterns in veneer are natural as opposed to printed in melamine therefore they may be inconsistent and present some natural imperfections such as knots which cannot be easily matched.
How to choose between melamine or veneer?
Deciding on whether to choose melamine or veneer for your office furniture depends on the overall look you are trying to achieve, your budget, and the use of the product itself. Veneer will give the office a genuine wood feel but is a more costly and fragile product whereas melamine is highly resistant and durable as well as being a more cost effective option.