Natural vs. Engineered Veneer... What's the Difference?

Natural Veneer

Let's start with natural veneer, a unique and beautiful material sliced from the log (flitch) of a tree. Each piece of veneer features an authentic pattern which is reflective of the species of tree it came from and environment, soil and climate where it has grown.

Logs are sliced in sequence and packaged into bundles containing 24 or 32 leaves or sheets. These bundles allow for consistency in the end product once spliced, pressed and lacquered. However the manufacturing process is designed so as not to alter or enhance the features of the wood and as such there will be some natural variation between different sheets of veneer.

Engineered Veneer

Engineered veneer (EV) - also known as reconstitued veneer (recon) or recomposed veneer (RV) - is a re-manufactured product.

Like natural veneer, engineered veneer is real-wood and born from a natural core. The difference is that the veneer is engineered though templates and pre-developed dye moulds. This means that typically engineered veneers will be more consistent in terms of appearance and colour - and will generally be free of surface knots and other natural characteristics found in each species, while still maintaining the natural wood grain from the core species used.

Veneer selection and processing

The logs chosen for natural veneer production are carefully selected to ensure they are the highest quality. A veneer-grade log is the highest grade of any forest, representing only few percent of each woodland - the quality is important because the features of the wood will be visible in the finished product. Careful selection by our log buyers and strict adherence to FSC principles make our processing methods ecological and sustainable.

Once selected, logs delivered to the factory are cooked to make them supple for slicing. They are then cut into thin slices of veneer, which are dried, sorted and carefully inspected for defects. You can see more in our video guide to the production process.

On the other hand, an engineered-grade log is harvested from fast-growing, renewable species of trees. The UV Group has always been dedicated to preserving our planet and the use of renewable species ensures our methods are sustainable.

Logs used for engineered veneer production are thinly sliced, dyed in vats and glued into blocks. The use of fast-growing trees means engineered veneer is often - but not always - lower cost than natural veneer.

Veneer finish

It's the nature of wood that colour will change over time. Some species get lighter; others will darken. Engineered veneer is particularly susceptible to colour alteration and is only suitable for indoor use.

The finish applied to the veneer is important in reducing the degree that the colour will change over time. In particular, the finish should be UV absorbent so as to increase the resistance of the wood to light. Please see our terms and conditions or contact us for further information.

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