StoneX India

TIPS & GUIDES

What is veneer ?

Veneer is the finest expression of wood. Veneer is a thin layer of wood which is cut from a log. The main difference with solid wood is that solid wood is sawn from a log. This produces more waste than when cutting veneer. In other words, processing a log into veneer lets us maximize the added value that we can obtain from a log. No other natural product is able to offer this unique added value.

Veneer applications

Surface concepts wood veneer are available in more than 165 different standard wood species. Specific wood species can be sourced in the market upon request. The thickness of the veneer is between 0.5 and 2 mm depending on the wood species used and/or the application.

Wood veneer is mainly used for interior decoration applications in many different segments. It's ideal for residential projects, hotel projects, offices and many more. In addition, veneer is also processed to create a variety of products such as veneer parquet, flexible veneer sheets, wood veneer boards, wood veneer wallpaper, etc. In other words, veneer can give any interior a unique look and feel.

Each veneer is unique

Every tree is different so every veneer product has a unique appearance. The same tree can never be found twice in nature. This also means that the colour and pattern can vary within the same wood species. After all, veneer is real wood and not an imitation like laminate or melamine. The latter are both imitations of wood on paper.

Wood is mankind's oldest, yet most modern material. Even in this age of synthetic and metallurgical miracles, fine decorative hardwood has a special place which no other material can take. Wood has lasting beauty and warmth that only nature can create.

Like finger prints, the grain patterns of no two trees are exactly alike. This ever-interesting individualism is one of the most appealing factors of genuine wood when compared with the monotonous patterns of synthetic substitutes, imitations and other materials.

The colour of wood veneer is also influenced by light in the room and this can give the wood an even warmer feel. The numerous imitations of different wood types have made it difficult for the consumer to distinguish the real natural product from the imitations.

The wood structure which is unique for every piece of wood veneer, the colour which continues to enhance the appearance, the ability to repair and renovate are just some of the advantages that distinguish the real thing from the would-be products.

What makes veneers ?

In different parts of the world, the colour, grains and nature of wood varies accordingly to soil, weather conditions and geographical factors. Sourcing is the first point that makes the difference in wood veneer.

It is fascinating to note that different parts of a tree yield different grains or patterns of veneers.

Typically,Four parts of a tree can be used in making veneers :

  • Stump : This is the base of the tree. The grain here is twisted as a result, small pieces of veneers are made from this part.
  • Trunk : This is the part above the stump till the area that starts to branch out. This is the part from where the longer stripes are produced.
  • Crotch : This is the part where the branching off starts.
  • Burl : Some trees have a bump like growth on their trunk. This is called burl.

Slicing is used to produce decorative veneers. The manner in which a log is cut with relation to the annual growth rings determines the appearance of the veneer.

When sliced, the individual pieces of veneers, referred to as leaves are kept in the order in which they are sliced, thus permitting a natural grain progression when assembled as veneer faces. This group of leaves from one slicing is called a flitch and is usually identified by a flitch number and the number of gross square feet of veneer it contains.

Why long height Veneers?

Designers in India are quite comfortable in using the 8 feet length, however, since a couple of years there is a rise in demand for longer lengths. Longer international lengths have more options in veneers but the practice in any country also depend upon the basic nature of uses and India is such a market with particular preference of size. “Practically, large spaces and public areas prefer using 10-12 feet size and if it is not a design demand, using 8 feet decorative plywood makes more sense.

Factor to consider before selecting decorative veneer

  • Concept of the room or interior
  • Colour of interior space
  • Budget
  • grain pattern
  • Size
  • Time available for finishing

A little peep into the nature of occupants and how they are going to use the interior or furniture is also important.

While buying Natural Veneer, grade, aesthetics, and exclusivity should be primary concerns. The finest quality of logs and veneers being rare and exotic has a huge price difference as compared with low grades.

How to differentiate ‘exotic’ from general veneers?

Wood species like Teak,oak,Ash, Wenge have become very popular. On the other hand, species like bubinga, sapeli, ebony still get classified as exotic since they do not appeal to everyone. A truly exotic veneer would be from a species that is limited to small quantities every year and is reasonably difficult to acquire. Some examples of exotic veneers are Guanacaste (Costa Rica), Pochote (Costa Rica), Tostado (Costa Rica), Afromosia (Republic of the congo), East Indian Rosewood (South America), Cocobolo (Central America), Birdseys Maple (New England).

Engineered Vs. Natural Veneer?

Natural Veneer will have a lot of variation, which is to be expected and appreciated. A reasonable batch of natural veneers will rarely exceed 35/40 sheets, after wich a significant differences in shade and pattern will emerge. Engineered Veneers often repeat the same pattern, which may seem attractive from a furniture standardization point of view, but applied over a large area, can seem unattractive.

Tips to get the right colour, grain & shade in veneer?

Conceptualize the theme of your design. Try to consider Natural & Artificial lighting on site. Considering flooring colour, wall colours and latest trends will help you in selecting the right veneer shade.

How can a Common Consumer Differentiate between Engineered & Natural Veneer?

It’s very simple to differentiate Engineered and Natural Veneer. When compared, Engineered veneer have fixed patterns and shades throughout all sheet whereas Natural veneers have some variations from start to end with limited sheets.

Measures For Prevention

For "Bubbles" or "Air Pockets" check the following :

  • Ensure proper conditioning of component materials for a minimum of 48 hours before pasting.
  • Ensure sufficient amount of adhesive on both the surfaces to be bonded.
  • Ensure sufficient pressure to be applied over the entire area. Recommended pressure of 2.8 Kgs per centimeter square to be applied on bonded assembly.
  • Ensure adequate care while bonding such that adhesive surface are not "Over-dry" or "Under dry". Follow Adhesive manufacturer's recommendations.
  • The ideal ambient temperature for bonding should be above 21 degrees C (70 degrees F).
  • Take adequate care of the gluing surface, which should be clean, dry and free of oils or any other contaminants.
  • Ensure adhesive is agitated or stirred properly before using.
  • Limit vertical is agitated or stirred properly before using.
  • Limit vertical application of maximum sheet size of 610x2440 mm (2x8 feet).
  • Ensure expansion space in-between two laminate joints.

For "Cracking of Laminate" check the following :

  • Ensure proper conditioning of Laminate/ Plywood.
  • Ensure proper bonding.
  • Ensure expansion of space.
  • Poor Planning: due to rough/chipped edges, sharp corners, forced fittings, inside corners not bee radisued, usage of nails instead of drilling, foreign objects in the glue line, etc.
Guidelines for Application of Acrylic Laminates

ACRYLIC LAMINATES are unique laminates which are not to be treated as MICA based laminates. These are laminates having PVC backing.

The following are some guidelines which need to be kept in mind when applying the laminate on plywood.

Please note : The guidelines mentioned are for betterment of customer. A proper skilled carpenter who has good knowledge in usage of acrylic laminates is recommended. We do not take any responsibilities if the product is damaged anyhow, since the type of plywood substrate and adhesives used differs.

  • Clean the plywood on which laminate has to be pasted properly, so that no dust or foreign matter is present on its surface
  • Kindly use diamond cutting blades to cut the laminates, to avoid serrated edges
  • Acrylic Laminate can be easily pasted with help of Marine Adhesives/Araldite/SR Adhesives
  • The adhesive has to be evenly spread on back of laminate or on surface of plywood
  • Use of brush is advisable while spreading the adhesive for an even application
  • After applying adhesive, see to it that proper pressing of the laminate to surface is done so that no space is left for air to enter
  • For more durable application, it is suggested that you apply melamine coat on plywood and then apply adhesive mentioned above
  • Kindly avoid use of heat activated adhesive or pressing technique since it may damage the surface of laminate
  • The surface of the laminate should be cleaned with soft cloth to avoid scratches
Differences between Laminate sheets and wood veneers

The main difference between sunmica/laminates and veneer is the material. Wood veneers are thin sheets or slices of wood, while sunmica or other laminates are a blend of paper and plastic.

Another important difference is in the availability of designs. Since veneers are made from wood they will always have wood grain designs and a wood appearance, on the other hand since Sunmica is created using artificial means (and uses decorative printed paper) it can have a wide variety of colours, patterns and also textures.

Table tops or other furniture that have sunmica or other laminates on top, are not easily affected by water, as also the surface is quite resistant to scratches and other wear and tear. Furniture decorated with wood veneer on the other hand, has to be cared for as you would take care of any other wooden furniture item. Its a wooden surface.

A drawback of laminates is that it is a brittle material and is prone to chipping (especially if it is not adhered to the wood firmly). Another point is that many people prefer the more natural look and feel of veneers compared to the artificial looking laminates.

Veneers vs. Laminates

The question of whether to choose laminates or veneers often arises when we are re-decorating our furniture. Another often asked question is whether to go for Veneered MDF or Laminated Plywood for the kitchen cabinets or other such furniture. The major points of comparison between veneers and laminates are listed below.

Which looks better?

Both laminates and veneers are decorative overlay materials, meant to increase the beauty of the underlying wood. If you prefer a natural look and feel, veneers is a good choice, because its a wooden material, a slice of wood. There are many kinds of good looking wood veneers obtained from different trees. e.g. teak, cherry, oak, maple etc.

On the other hand, there are also laminates available in the market that resemble wood grain patterns and look exactly like wood, though they are not. Since decorative laminates are made from designs printed on paper, there is a wide variety available.

The basic point is veneers are natural, while laminates are artificial materials.

Which is costlier?

High quality veneers are generally costlier than laminates. The cost of laminates depends on the brand and quality.

Which ones are easier to maintain?

Laminates are easier to maintain. They are scratch-resistant, waterproof and usually retain their look for years. In comparison, veneers require more maintainence. They need to polished from time to time, so that they look as beautiful as ever.

Which one is better. Veneered MDF or laminated plywood?

This is matter of choice. Amongst substrate wood materials, good quality waterproof plywood made using phenolic resins is usually considered stronger and better than MDF (Medium density fibre boards), but the suitability of material depends on the kind of furniture being made.

For example in the case of kitchen cabinets, veneered MDF is often used for making the doors (shutters), while the box frame is made from plywood since it has a greater structural strength.

In terms of aesthetic value, veneered MDF (natural veneer glued over MDF wood) looks better than laminated plywood in many cases. But laminates on the other hand, offer a wider variety such as high-gloss, plain vanilla look, thousands of design patterns and colours, as also the popular ones that resemble natural wood grain patterns.

Durability

Durability ranges between laminates and veneers. Veneers, however, are only as strong as the wood they are made from. Hardwood veneer layers will resist scratches and dents better than softwood veneer layers. Laminates, however, are durable based on the quality of their construction and what types of plastic or particleboard are used. High-quality laminates can resist damage, but low-quality versions can scratch or puncture easily.

Paint

Laminates are not designed to be painted and may not bond well with paint. You cannot stain or varnish laminates the way you can stain or varnish real wood. Veneers, on the other hand, can be stained like real wood, although they often come pretreated. If you plan to paint furniture with a colored paint, laminates may be your best option, but get a laminate that can bond with paint, and vice versa.

Benefits of Wood Veneer Vs. Plastic Laminate

Wood Veneer is eco-friendly because it regrows.Actually, there are six times more hardwood trees in America than there were in 1950. This means that unlike plastic laminate, Wood Veneer is a renewable resource.

Wood Veneer looks richer and more distinctive than plastic laminate. You will never see an heirloom piece of furniture crafted with laminate.

Wood Veneer is timeless. It will never go out of style. Several plastic laminate designs, however, become dated, usually within a decade or less.

You can alter a given piece of Wood Veneer. This is not the case with any plastic laminate. For example, if your sheet of Walnut Veneer is lighter than you envisioned, you can simply stain it darker. You can choose a high gloss or a mat finish. Laminate = Plastic. Once you get it, you’re committed.

Wood Veneer is repairable. If it is scratched, it can be refinished. Laminates cannot be repaired. Your only choice, if the style is still available, is to replace the entire sheet.

Wood Veneer holds its value. Natural products are generally more valuable than synthetic or faux products such as plastic laminate sheets. Compare this to the difference between leather and vinyl furniture, or granite counter-tops versus granite-laminate brand counters. The natural product will hold its value and may even increase in value over time.

Wood Veneer feels better than plastic laminate. Have you ever seen a laminate lover run their hands over a piece of plastic laminate countertop or cabinet? Not likely. However, Wood Veneer has the natural wood grain that you can feel. If you haven’t done it yet, run your hand over a fine piece of Wood Veneered furniture. It is an enjoyable experience.

There are no visible seams in Wood Veneer furniture. This is not the case with items crafted from plastic laminate. Woodworkers can sand and finish the seams, making them virtually invisible. Magnificent! Wood Veneer is the best choice, but only if you’re planning to design or create a lasting piece of value!

Four Areas where we do not recommend the Use of Wood Veneers
  • We recommend NOT using paper backed wood veneer for exterior application. While you can apply and finish veneer in a painstaking manner, it might hold up—but it might not. Moisture and extreme weather change is not wood veneer’s best friend. Veneer holds up best in a controlled temperature environment, such as the great indoors. So while one of the many standard or exotic cuts might look spectacular when first installed, in general, we do not recommend exterior application.
  • We do NOT recommend using veneer on kitchen counters and especially not for use as a countertop cutting board. Once again, kitchen counters are in constant contact with moisture, steam and even water spills, not to mention acidic fruits and vegetables—all which will wear down the surface. While it might be a beautiful look when first installed, once again, NOT a good idea.
  • Veneer is NOT recommended for high-use commercial settings, such as high-traffic cash register counters or in bank teller lines. Natural granite, marble or even plastic laminates are a better choice in these settings.
  • It is NOT a good choice if you or your customer is expecting huge areas of uniformity of look. If you’re planning to cover large walls or other big continuous spaces and need uniformity of look, consider Italian or reconstituted veneers that will always look identical from sheet to sheet, because it is manufactured, rather than grown in nature.
Benefits of using wallpaper

Longevity

Wallpaper will last much longer than paint. Today’s wallpaper is designed to last a good 10 to 15 years, much longer that most painted walls will endure. Depending on your household, wallpaper can last five times longer than paint, making it the most economical choice in the long run.

Variety

There is virtually no limit to what you can do with wallpaper. The choices of styles, colors, and textures are more diverse than ever before. The interesting and unique effects that can be achieved with wallpaper – such as a leather look, custom designs, natural patterns and much more – just simply can never be painted. If you’re looking for originality and creativity, wallpaper is the solution.

Ease of removal

Wallpaper varieties available today are very easy to remove if you decide you want a change. New removal systems make it possible to remove the paper from the wall in long strips. Proper installation of wallpaper using a good primer will also make removal easier down the road.

There are several benefits to using wallpaper over simply painting a wall in your home. Perhaps, the most obvious benefit of using wallpaper is the huge variety of decorating options you have. With wallpaper, you can choose from hundreds of patterns, colors, and design. You can even vary the way the wallpaper is placed in the room. Some rooms look great with a wallpaper border in the room, while others look best with a full wallpapering. Some homeowners choose to put wallpaper on half of their walls with a border at the chair-rail length, thus giving them another way to decorate with wallpaper.

As the homeowner, wallpaper becomes an extension of your personality. Wallpaper is easy to clean. Most of today’s wallpapers are coated so that they wipe clean from common household marks. For rooms where the walls are prone to get dirty, wallpaper is a great option. Besides being easy to clean, the patterns on the paper will help hide dirt and smudges. Finally, wallpaper can hide blemishes in the wall’s plaster far better than a coat of paint.

Wallpaper Cons

Since wallpaper is applied with an adhesive, high moisture bathrooms and kitchens may cause wallpaper to peel away from the wall.For the wallpaper, the warped, bubbling is a common problem. Daily life, wallpaper bubbles within the general muster in the middle of a wallpaper, which is due to: uneven coating walls of local paste, due to lack of plastic and foam; wallpaper surface contraction force with the primary separation; water is too more, the emergence of wallpaper surface, and paper-based separation; or wall putty powder caused by the anti-alkali, etc. If the owners encounter blistering wallpaper, you can first use home sewing needle, in the garish wallpaper on the surface of the bubbles, releasing the gas, then extracted with a needle the right amount of adhesive, just punctured the eye of a needle injection, the last with a scraping Calibrating the compaction plate, dry.

Care and Maintenance for Wallpaper

It is easy to maintain the longevity of wallpaper if you keep these points in mind.

  • Always refer to the manufacturer's guidelines when cleaning wallpaper.
  • Remove stains as soon as possible to eliminate any reaction between the stain and the wallpaper, and to prevent permanent discoloration.
  • Ordinary dirt spots can be removed with a mild soap and warm water. You need to rinse thoroughly with clean water. Blot dry with a soft lint-free towel.
  • Use a stronger detergent for difficult stains that are surface deep. Do try an inconspicuous spot first, before attempting for an entire wall. Always rinse after applying a detergent. Avoid abrasive rubbing.
  • Do not use steel wool, powdered cleaners, or active solvent-type preparations, such as nail polish remover, tar and bug removers, etc. as they may damage the wallpaper.
  • Textile wallpaper are decorative and require care in cleaning. Occasional vacuuming will remove most of the dirt and lint, and maintain the product's fresh look and appearance.