In woodworking, veneer refers to thin slices of wood that are typically glued onto core panels (typically, wood, particle board or medium density fiber board) to produce flat panels such as doors, tops and panels for cabinets, parquet floors and parts of furniture. Plywood consists of three or more layers of veneer, each glued with its grains at right angles to adjacent layers for strength.
Solid surface materials were introduced so many years ago. The practicality, quality and usefulness of solid surfacing has been improved with the introduction of solid surfacing veneer. It acts like a workhorse material because renewability is one of its great advantages.
Solid Surfacing Veneer: A Natural Evolution
Truly it is a rapidly evolving product. Let us look back at the history of solid surfacing from the thicker and heavier material to the thinner and lightest weight. The first item was manufactured and promoted as 3/4 –inch-thick sheets and were marketed for horizontal applications such as work surfaces and countertops. This product was really expensive. It was hard to handle because of its heavy weight. Realizing that it was over-engineered, fabricators searched for a thinner alternative and they came out of a product with ½ thickness solid surfacing. It made for a good performance and low installation cost. But then, driven by the need to find a lighter weight option for vertical applications such as tub and shower surround and wall cladding in wet areas, the market looked for something even thinner.
¼-inch solid surfacing thickness met the needs of the consumers. However, it couldn’t entirely replace ½ inch solid surfacing. More than 90% of it goes into vertical applications. How about the horizontal applications? The market demand for a solid surfacing that can be used for both horizontal and vertical surfaces rose, and so the most recent evolution in solid surfacing evolved. The 1/8 inch thick material can be seamed to provide watertight joints. It is known as the solid surfacing veneer, the transformation of the solid surfacing from countertops to a multi-purpose decorative surface, giving the same quality as thicker solid surfacing materials with the same warranties.
Solid surface countertops and plastic laminate are alike; they are both durable but susceptible to damage from sharp objects. However, with its bigger price come more benefits such as no underlayment needed and the option of ordering it custom formed to hide seams. Solid surface veneers will give you the same durability and resistance to stains just like other standard solid surface countertops, but with a decrease in price. This is because of its limited variety of patterns and colors, as well as its need for an underlayment.
The evolution of solid surfacing veneer continues as well as the innovation of materials, which is a proof that nothing is impossible in the minds of humankind.