Were often amazed at the numbers of people who ask about the benefits of solid wood as opposed to man made boards in domestic furniture. And so it makes sense to make some of these details available online to curious consumers – so here goes!

In honesty there is a widespread misconception that “solid wood” is always better. And in honesty some of the retailers perpetuate this myth by advertising “100% solid wood products” as if this is a guarantee of quality or durability. Unfortunately the truth is a little more complicated.

Here’s how I often some it up: it’s like a good steak and a bad steak. (What??) Sometimes solid wood is good, sometimes it can be bad, and the exact same applies to man made boards, veneers, MDF, chipboard. (And the same can be applied to steak…) In other words, there is place for all good quality materials in good furniture. Cheap furniture (regardless of what it is made of) will always be subject to flaws and problems. Let me give a few examples.

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Solid wood by its nature absorbs moisture and therefore can expand and contract. In a very hot home it can dry and in a very cool or even damp location it can absorb moisture. Just think of your staircase which creaks as you climb, or your front door or windows which get tighter to open and close in the winter months.

Because of this expansion and movement, solid wood can crack and split in locations. Now, good manufacturing will minimise the risk of these things happening – things like “floating panels” whereby solid wood tops and doors are created using a frame which allows slight movement without any cracks or splits appearing. That’s good manufacturing.

Bad manufacturing using solid wood could be using wide planks of solid wood butted together to form a table top without any expansion gaps or room for natural movement. The result can often be a dramatic cupping or splitting of the table top and a none too happy customer.

Man made boards were created for a variety of reasons – the first of which was for stability! Veneers placed on a man made board beneath will not move or split in the same fashion as the solid boards can be prone to. Which is reassuring in large parts such as wardrobe gables, table tops and wide shelves. The two pictures I have attached are from my own study – which is full of quality oak furniture made from veneered board materials.

Consumers can call in to the Drumbriston Furniture outlet on the Dublin Rd, Monaghan Town for a full selection of these and more products. For more information click on For trade contract enquiries please get in touch with us on this site.