Boardroom Tables: An Expert's Guide to Finishes

Chances are if you’ve been shopping for boardroom tables, meeting tables, and other office furniture, you’ve likely noticed there are different finishes to choose from. At first glance, all of these finishes may look the same but each material has its own characteristics and traits that set it apart.

When shopping for office furniture it’s important to keep your budget, brand, and your intended use of the furniture in mind. It can be a lot of information to manage between all of your other responsibilities at work so, to help you look good in front of the boss, we’ve come up with a list of pros and cons for each material. 

Office Furniture Finishes

Generally, there are three wood options to choose from: solid wood, veneer, and laminate.

office furniture finishesconference table canada


Laminate

Laminate is made by pressing together layers of heavy duty paper with a resin material. To make the resulting sheets look like wood (or any other material), an image of wood grain is applied on top. Before the laminate sheet can be made into furniture, it has to be applied to a solid substrate.

wood boardroom table


Pros

- Additives can be added to the resin to make laminate flame retardant and bacteria resistant
- Easiest material to clean and maintain
- Very durable! Resists scratches and stains
- Often the most affordable option out of the three
- Makes an excellent choice for solid colour tops (white, black, green, etc...)
- Large range of options for colours, textures, and looks

Cons

- Does not have the character or "feel" of real wood
- Size restrictions and can have an undesired repetitive pattern
- Visible laminate core on edges (dark lines)
- Damage to the surface cannot be repaired
- Does not have the tactile feel of wood

Where to use? Eating areas, corporate desks, high traffic areas, informal communal areas, meeting tables, lower budget areas

board room table


Veneer

Veneer is wood that’s been processed into very thin sheets. These sheets are produced in factories by peeling logs into sheets of usable material. Similar to laminate, the veneer is then applied to a substrate before being made into furniture.

 

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Pros

- A cost-effective option that provides the look and feel of solid wood
- Several options for wood species and stains.
- Can be lightly sanded and refinished if damaged (limited based the on the thickness of the veneer)

Cons

- Gives the look of solid wood, but just not as impressive
- Not as durable of a surface
- Can only be repaired to the thickness of the veneer (typically 3 mm)

Where to use? Semi-formal areas, office storage, desks, cabinets, low traffic areas, meeting tables

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Solid Wood

Solid wood is the term used to describe wood in its natural state. It is processed in a sawmill before being dresses, sanded, and prepared in your local woodwork shop. It’s one of the oldest and most trusted materials used in construction. Furniture made from solid wood can last for generations if it is made with quality construction techniques. 

boardroom table finishes


Pros

- The highest quality and the most desirable of the three options (nothing beats solid wood!)
- A timeless material with the most visual appeal and impact
- Looks the best on its own, no need for colour stains
- The most repairable
- Every piece of wood has its own unique characteristics
- Most environmentally friendly

Cons

- The most labour intensive in furniture fabrication
- Different wood species provide different levels of durability
- A natural material that reacts with conditions of the surrounding environment
- Every piece of wood has its own unique characteristics

Where to use? Executive desks, executive areas, boardroom tables, high-end lobbies, areas of visual importance, customer interaction areas

office furniture Vancouver


Though our hearts will always belong to solid wood - laminate and veneer do have their advantages. They are the right choice for your office if you are working with a tight budget or ordering large volumes.  But nothing compares to the look, feel, and satisfaction of a quality piece of furniture made from solid wood for your boardroom table and other statement pieces.

If you are in the market for quality made office furniture, have a look at the commercial furniture page of our website. You can also contact us at the shop if you have any questions! We can work with your budget and brand to build furniture perfectly suited for your office.

Written By: Todd Mitchell
Photography: Images sourced from Pinterest or Union Wood Co. unless specified below
Laminate - Left MDD, Middle Janine See Photography
Vaneer - Middle Christopher Scott Furniture
Solid Wood - Right David Chipperfield Architecture


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