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What is Faux Wood?

Collage photo of faux wood.
  • Faux wood can be made from several different materials, with its outside layer having the appearance of natural wood.
  • All faux wood types, including particle wood, hardboard, and laminated veneer lumber, are less expensive than real wood, which makes it both popular and modern in the world we live in today. Large warehouse stores sell faux wood furnishings, such as tables, chairs, cupboards, and even blinds and flooring.
  •  Faux wood is made in numerous colors and finishes and can mimic many different types of natural wood, which is a great help when trying to match the wood you already own.

So you’ve decided to either refurnish or start furnishing your home. It’s no surprise that you might be debating whether to choose faux wood to match the aesthetic you are looking for. Continue reading as we discuss exactly what faux wood is, how it’s made if it’s a modern option, including a brief history to help you make the most educated choice!

What is Faux Wood?

Faux wooden boards in various pattern and shades.

Faux wood, also referred to as engineered or manufactured wood, is a very precise combination of products, adhesives, and veneers meant to act as and resemble real wood. It is often far less expensive than the real thing, and many varieties of faux wood can contain harmful chemicals like formaldehyde.

As technology improves, faux wood products are becoming a better and more beneficial substitute for real wood, and the manufacturing process is starting to become more advanced and environmentally friendly.


Faux wood usually comes in huge slabs, approximately 1.2 x 1.4m. this, however, can change as manufacturers can custom make certain types of panels, depending on you as the buyer’s needs.

Is Faux Wood Popular Today?

Living area with a wooden dresser, and a matching chair over parquet flooring.

If you remember the original vinyl in the 1900’s people had in their offices, you can rest assured that the faux wood of today certainly isn’t those! Now, the new technology makes it possible to stamp the wood grain right onto furnishings and pieces, giving it the look and feel of real wood for only a fraction of the cost.

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The faux wood produced in today’s age is also so much easier to install than it ever was, with full kits that allow one person to assemble the desired piece in approximately 10 minutes. There are also several colors to choose from nowadays, and it’s up to the buyer to decide if they want their furniture to blend in or stand out with the rest of the décor.

Materials Used To Manufacture Faux Wood

Wood has been used for thousands of years as a construction material and is popular for its natural aesthetics along with its strength. But in the present, with all the forests being cut down all across the world to meet our ever-growing demands, it’s time to look towards an alternative solution, and faux wood may just be the answer!

There are two main materials used to produce faux wood, and these materials are called PVC/vinyl and composite wood. Both PVC and composite wood are economical, long-lasting, and durable compared to the natural wood alternatives.

Either material is an excellent choice for your home, like faux wood, in general, is scratch resistant and will not warp, fade or split in sunny or humid climates. The difference between PVC and composite faux woods is minimal and can only be found if you look inside the finished product. It also makes the product suitable for humid areas inside your home, such as places like the bathroom or kitchens.

There are Quite a Few Different Types of Faux Wood You Can Consider Using in Your Home:


A pile of particleboards with wooden veneers.

Particleboard is a type of engineered wood that is frequently used in furnishings inside the home. It is constructed out of wood particles, such as wood chips and sawdust, hence the suitable name.

The compacted wood chips and sawdust is then coated with veneers that resemble real wood, but even with all the waterproof coatings, this type of faux wood will not tolerate moisture.

It is not advised to use particleboard furnishings outdoor if you live in a damp or rainy climate, as the compacted particles inside the boards will swell and become moldy, making them impossible to use.

It is important to remember to wear a suitable mask if you are breaking particleboard apart, as some people have extreme sensitivity to the chemicals and dust that will rise from the product and may experience respiratory problems.


Another type of faux wood is hardboard, and it is commonly found in construction and flooring. Although hardboard is a bit similar to particleboard, hardboard is known to be more durable and can handle heavier weight impacts.

Wood-look laminates can easily be painted or glued onto hardboard, which also serves excellently as a base for your floor or tile and even vinyl floor coverings.

Laminated veneer lumber

Beams of glued laminated timber

Laminated veneer lumber is a type of faux wood known to be much straighter and stronger than common hardwood. Laminated veneer lumber is produced by tightly compressing several layers of thin wood strips.

The wood is then bound together with strong, resin-based adhesives and left to dry. After the product has dried, it is then coated in different colors to resemble natural wood.

Laminated veneer lumber is very beneficial in construction. It is less responsive to atmosphere and weather changes, meaning that it will not warp, swell, break, or bend as quickly as traditional lumber.

Alternatives to Faux Wood

The best faux wood floors are strong, beautiful, and could be timeless if correctly looked after. However, they can also be quite expensive. And occasionally, the most expensive and durable faux wood flooring isn’t quite as durable as you would like it to be.

This is why there are quite a few faux wood alternatives you can use in your home that will do the trick!


Close-up look of a bamboo flooring.

Bamboo is gorgeous, affordable, and crazy strong! You might be thinking that bamboo flooring or using them for your cupboards might be the same thing as using faux wood. Well, bamboo isn’t a type of faux wood at all. It is actually a type of grass, and a very strong one, too!

Bamboo is also an eco-friendly choice since bamboo only stalks mature in 5 years, where it is decades for most hardwood.


Cork is not only eco-friendly but comfy and durable as well! Cork is a great alternative if you don’t want to spend too much money on faux wood flooring and is surprisingly much more healthy for your feet.

Cork is so eco-friendly because it is made out of cork bark instead of the tree itself. This means that the same tree can be harvested again after approximately a decade.

Wood-like tiles

Closeup of wood-like floor tiles.

Depending on the floor, wall, or sink tiles you would want to purchase, you might think tiles are only for certain rooms in your house. But the thing is, tile is now suitable for any room, floor, wall, or anything you can think of!

With new technology, it is possible to purchase tiles that look exactly like wood! Now, you can have the best of both with a faux wood alternative that looks like wood but consists of the benefits of tile.

Speaking of benefits, using tiles in your home can reduce cooling costs and stand up to water and traffic. You also have endless types of floor tiles to choose from!


Concrete is a surprisingly great faux wood alternative! Concrete is no longer only suitable for garages and basements, and if you haven’t checked out some pictures of concrete flooring, you have no idea what you are missing out on!

Concrete flooring that looks like wood makes a big difference in homes, creating a more modern and warmer look. The best thing about concrete is that you can stamp, polish, and even texture them depending on your wants and needs. When you use concrete as your faux wood alternative, the only limit is your imagination!


Wooden staircase made from laminate wood.

Laminate is affordable and so much more than just “fake wood.” In the past, people used to think of laminate as just another type of fake wood, but laminate has a lot to offer. It is one of the most durable options for cupboards, countertops, and even flooring and wall covers.

These days, advances in printing have made high-quality laminate almost indistinguishable from any of the different types of flooring it’s made to represent. That being said, laminate can also be great for many creative and natural wood floor patterns.

Advantages of Faux Wood


Faux wood has both a classic and modern appeal. The rich and warm texture of the wood will provide you with a timeless appeal while at the same time beautifully complementing your home with modern architecture as it pairs well with any wooden furniture.

Natural insulation

Faux wood is much like real wood, an insulator, providing protection from external weather conditions. They block UV rays and reduce solar heat gain. This all makes faux wood a great choice for energy efficiencies as it will help reduce your energy consumption and keep your electricity bills low.

Perfect for bedrooms and living rooms

Faux wood is perfect for spaces like your living room or bedroom. Consider a painted faux wood to achieve the rustic or modern finishes for customizing them to your home style.

Deep cleaning options

On a regular basis, faux wood can be simply dry dusted with a clean and dry cloth. For a deeper clean, there are some steps you can take in order to ensure you are not damaging your faux wood surface.

For a deep clean, the use of water should always be avoided to prevent potential damage. Instead, you can clean the surface of your faux wood with a soft cloth that is lightly sprayed with furniture polish or lemon oil.

In the case of badly soiled blinds, you may use a mild detergent in tepid water on a clean cotton cloth. Always be sure to rinse with clean water and dry with a cotton cloth immediately, as moisture can damage the faux wood.

Faux wood prices depend on their slab size, length, and finish.

Since they don’t require any professional installation, they are an affordable, attractive way to lighten up and decorate your home.

The reasonable price of faux wood is what attracts most buyers. It costs a fraction of the price you would pay for natural wood, so you can decorate larger spaces at almost the same price and still expect the same level of attractiveness and beauty from your finished piece or project.

Disadvantages of faux wood

They do not handle humidity well

Faux wood is not suitable for regions with high humidity levels. While there is no doubt that faux wood looks great, it cannot withstand high humidity, so installing faux wood in areas like the bathroom, kitchen, and even the laundry room is not recommended. Long-term exposure to moist conditions will cause t to warp and fade.

You get what you pay for

There are hundreds of different faux wood available, and it can be difficult to decide on what price range to go for, especially when you’re looking for a bargain. Always be sure to purchase your faux wood from a quality assured source.

How Can You Use Faux Wood in Your Home?

Family room with facing leather sectionals and a stone fireplace under the wood beamed ceiling.

You can use faux wood for quite a few cosmetic reasons in your home. Exposed ceiling beams are an architectural feature that allows rooms to have higher ceilings while adding a decorative element that adds charm.

Aged-wood beams are one of the features that are making a huge comeback among homeowners in the modern world. However, old and salvaged wood beams are not only extremely heavy, but it is expensive and is often compromised or damaged by warping or insects.

If you are trying to get the modern look of exposed beams and your home doesn’t need them as support, a good and cost-effective option would be to install faux wood beams.

Faux wood blinds are also one of the window-covering world’s most popular products and installments. Faux wood blind delivers style at an affordable price range, and they will give any room an inviting and polished look that is also very easy to maintain!

Faux wood can also be used in flooring. The flooring in your home anchors each room. If your flooring gets worn, bland, dates, or severely damaged, it can bring down and compromise the whole feel and aesthetic of a room. Faux wood flooring can revitalize your space. It is relatively easy and cheap to install, and it comes in a huge variety of choices.

The History of Faux Wood

The painting of cheap kinds of wood to mimic the appearance of an interesting grain pattern originated in the late 1700s. The painted wood grain, formerly known as “faux bois,” became an art form by late Victorian times and reached its peak during the Arts and Crafts movement in the early 20th century.

The Industrial Revolution led to the mass production of mantels, fences, wooden doors, as well as other types of building materials. For the developing middle class in the United States, such items made from wood were not attractive, thus resulting in people having the desire to paint the surfaces.

Artists who painted wood grain could emulate tree-ring patterns, knots, and even insect damage so well that their products could easily have been mistaken for the expensive imported kind of wood. This was the goal, of course!

In Butte, painted wood grain can be found in different homes representing diverse class levels, but it was the middle class that had the idea to decorate their houses using the painting way. The first public school in the neighborhood, known as Lincoln Elementary, was built at Clark and Broadway in 1892, anchoring the growth of this addition.

The Price Range of Faux Wood

Hand choosing wooden veneers inside a store.

The average price range for faux wood is approximately $30 to $95 per slab, depending on the size of the slab, the quality, and the overall finishing. One of the main characteristics of faux wood is its impeccable durability when correctly looked after. Their appearance is very close to real wood without the high price tag, making it a suitable choice for small and quick projects.

Where to Buy Faux Wood

Faux wood is readily available and easy to purchase. It is never advised to buy faux wood from online manufacturers, as you have to inspect the quality beforehand. Faux wood products are available at your nearest home and décor shop, amongst any hardware or builders shop.


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