It can be difficult choosing wooden furniture, sometimes, because you don’t have to just consider the different colours, finishes and styles. You also have to think about the various names used for what are seemingly very similar pieces of furniture. What exactly is meant by terms such as veneered wood, plywood, composite wood and engineered wood and what’s the difference between those and solid wood?
In the following post that’s what we’re going to look at, the difference and why solid wood is a better choice for furniture.
What Exactly is Engineered Wood?
First things first, engineered wood is not the same thing as solid wood. Composite wood, as its often called, is a material that has been made to resemble natural wood. It’s a man-made creation made in a factory consisting of materials like glues, sawdust, chemicals and wood fibres. Take the most simplistic version of engineered wood and also the most popular, MDF. MDF means Medium Density Fibreboard and is nothing more than fibres and sawdust bonded together using high temperatures, extreme pressure and a lot of glue.
What is Veneered Wood & Plywood?
Veneered wood and plywood are a bit different from strips of wood combined together. While veneered wood has a layer of wood attached with glue to the top of another type of material, such as MDF, plywood and timber. Plywood lots of different layers of wood together using glue.
Identifying Engineered Wood
One of the easiest ways to identify engineered wood is by reading the labels carefully. However, you can also tell by the weight of furniture you are interested in. Furniture made from engineered wood will normally be a lot lighter than items made from solid wood. Look closely at the wood grain. You will notice that the furniture interior and exterior won’t match. Another good way to check is by lifting up the furniture and looking at the bottom of the legs. Whereas MDF will consist of a dense mix of layers similar to cotton wool, plywood has a more uniform set of layers.
Disadvantages of Engineered Wood
One of the major disadvantages of engineered wood and furniture made from it is that they are a lot easier to break and damage. Water stains and scratches can’t be repaired and there is a very particular risk of engineered wood warping and cracking in homes with central heating as this type of wood does not contract and expand like solid wood. It can’t even be used outside as garden furniture or patio furniture, because it would soak all the water up and could disintegrate. Finally, because it doesn’t last as long as natural wood furniture, it would have to be replaced more often.
Advantages of Solid Wood
When you choose solid wood furniture though, you avoid the problems above. Solid wood keeps its appearance and if anything, improves over time, developing an aesthetically pleasing patina. Most damages that occur to it can be repaired and the furniture can be restored to the way it looked when you first got it.
Hopefully you can now see why it’s better to invest in furniture made from solid wood, rather than pieces made from engineered wood. Although it may seem cheaper and more cost-effective, the money you save is false economy. As engineered wood furniture is cheaper, it is also inferior, does not last as long as solid wood pieces and can’t really be fixed properly when damages occur. When you invest in solid wood furniture however, like that available from Nest at Number 20, you are spending money on something that will last a long time. Therefore, you get a much higher return on your investment.