Replacing hotel bedroom case goods and joinery is a significant part of the cost of a room refurbishment. Once the design is completed, decisions need to be made on what these pieces of furniture are actually made from, especially their surfaces and finishes. Whilst intuitively “solid wood” would seem to be the ideal and premium option, in fact it is prone to warping and cracking, whilst also requiring comparatively high care and maintenance costs.
Typically in hotels, there are three alternative surface finishes to solid wood, which are favoured because of upfront cost and maintenance. Their individual durability can vary; as can their finished look and up-front cost. But all options (if done correctly) should be engineered to last longer than solid wood aesthetically and structurally.
Most commercial furniture nowadays is finished in veneer, melamine or laminate. So what are the differences? Does it matter to you as a hotel operator?
Whilst the initial finished product between the three finishes may be hard to initially discern, the differences are enough to make impacts on budget and longevity and therefore return on investment. So as an operator, making the wrong decision may lead to a shorter than budgeted life-cycle on the bedroom furniture, which either leads to guest dissatisfaction because of poor presentation, or a shorter replacement cycle for these assets. Either way it can affect both revenue and capital expenditure planning to the detriment of the whole hotel operation.
Cut straight to the to the summary here
Solid wood veneer is the finest expression of solid wood for commercial applications and is in itself a natural product with unique grain and texture characteristics. It is a very thin layer of real hard wood, which is then bonded to a different substrate below (technically for the nit-pickers this makes it a laminate too, but we will ignore such ‘helpful’ perspectives in the interest of everyone’s sanity). This substrate is often engineered wood, such as MDF or Plywood, and is less expensive than the solid wood it is being mounted to. Furthermore it is more structurally consistent than solid wood and therefore provides the thin layer of wood with a firm foundation, which is less prone to warping or cracking. It can also often be lighter.
Using just a very thin layer of hard wood means that otherwise prohibitively expensive wood species