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Know Your Materials When Buying Wooden Furniture: Part 1

Buying wooden furniture can be a rather tricky business, especially with the large range of wood materials available in the market. That’s why it’s important to know what you’re paying for. The piece of wooden furniture may look pretty good on display, but the type of material it’s built from can make all the difference in durability and appearance after a few years. Here are a few popular wood material terms that you should know before buying wooden furniture. We’ll look at engineered and solid wood in this article first.



Engineered Wood


This category includes materials such as plywood and particle board. Plywood is made from 3 to 5 pieces of thin wood glued together under high pressure while particle board is a composite material that is pressed and extruded from wood chips, sawmill shavings or sawdust, and a synthetic resin. Medium fibreboard (MDF) is created when wood chips are broken down into fibres, which are then fused with glue under heat and pressure.


  • It’s cheaper to produce, making it a great option for mass-produced furniture.
  • A piece of veneer is usually fixed on the exterior to give it a more attractive appearance.
  • Light-weight, so it’s easy to transport furniture made from engineered wood.
  • Since engineered wood is man-made and versatile, it’s easier to sculpt it according to application-specific performance requirements.
  • It makes efficient use of wood materials that might have gone to waste.


  • Not as durable as solid wood furniture, but its lifespan can be extended if it’s used with a high quality veneer.
  • Some engineered wood like particle board cannot support heavy weights.
  • Others may not as eco-friendly because they use synthetic (plastic) resin unlike solid wood furniture that uses natural materials


Solid Wood


Cut into boards from tree trunks. “Solid wood furniture” also refers to pieces that are made from the same material throughout and do not have hallow spaces.


  • It’s strong, durable, and does not bend easily.
  • If well-maintained, a piece of solid wood furniture can last for many years.
  • Solid wood furniture can be refinished and imperfections can be easily sanded out.


  • Prone to damage from moisture and humidity, thus resulting in warping if humidity is not managed well.
  • More expensive than furniture made from engineered wood
  • Requires more upkeep to maintain its beautiful appearance

Isn’t it interesting how wooden furniture can have so many varieties? In the next part of our article on wooden furniture, we will look at other popular terms of wood materials so do stay tuned!

Read the next part – Know Your Materials When Buying Wooden Furniture: Part 2

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