Melamine or wood for office furniture? It’s important to know the differences!
Shopping for office furniture should be a thrilling experience. While the picture will guide you into a style and colour, it’s important to be aware of the differences between Melamine, Formica and Wood.
What is the difference between melamine, Formica and wood? Although the finish looks the same, it is important to know what you are paying for.
Melamine is craft paper soaked in a hard resin which forms a strong waterproof finish which is printed with a wood grain and embossed with a pattern in some cases. Melamine is typically used for office furniture as it is :
Inexpensive – it covers inexpensive wood like chipboard or plywood
Durable – if made and installed properly, it is scratch and shatter resistant and waterproof
Choice – it is available in a variety of colours and wood grain finishes which looks the same as wood and subsequent pieces will match existing furniture
The only difference between melamine and Formica is the fusing process which is done at a low pressure for melamine and a high pressure for Formica. Formica is more expensive than melamine and usually used kitchen tops which take more abuse than office furniture.
Real wood is the term used for natural wood products, but it is technically a thin layer of hardwood, usually thinner than 3mm. The wood veneer is bonded, or glued with adhesive, to a cheaper surface like MDF. Veneer can be lightly sanded along the grain, painted and stained because it is real wood, but just much thinner.
Wood veneer has all the characteristics of a natural wood and greater care must be taken to keep it looking good. Wood veneer will darken with age and different pieces of office furniture will not have a uniform design as the wood grain will differ from tree to tree.