What is Laminate Furniture?
Lamination is the process of covering the surface of a material, typically low-grade inexpensive wood, with a durable layer of man made material, a form of printed plastic. Typically the laminated surface can be a solid colour, wood grain-look, or stone-look. This process allows manufacturers to reproduce the colours and patterns found in natural materials without the imperfections (wood knots, marble veins and pits) and with increased durability.
Care and maintenance for this type of products is quite simple, it is a smooth plastic surface that can easily be wiped clean and can endure more acidic cleaners for tough stains. It does not absorb water and is scratch resistant, however the use of non-abrasive pads is still recommended to avoid unnecessary damage to the surface.
The quality of this type of furniture varies greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer. When properly done, the average person can have difficulty discerning this replica from the natural material. Although this is a durable surface, refinishing of this type of product is not possible. Once damaged, you cannot replicate the printed surface anymore. It is possible to sand and re-paint, but the options are somewhat limited compared to the use of natural materials like wood or stone, where they can be sanded, stained, polished, re-sealed and re-finished. This attribute along with the uniqueness found in natural materials is what give those pieces an edge in the design world, over the man made laminate.
Laminated furniture is typically less expensive than solid wood, veneer, or stone options. With new technologies the reproduction of realistic materials is becoming much more attainable, allowing for better looking products. Overall, if you are interested in a budget friendly low-maintenance stylish piece of furniture, laminate is a great option for you!