Types of Carpentry finishing

In this post, we will be covering the more commonly seen carpentry finishing in Singapore.


The most cost efficient finishing, in our opinion, would be laminates. So what is laminate? Laminates are a composition of materials, consisting of maybe layers of kraft paper, decor paper (this is what gives laminates their patterns) and a protective layer of overlay. After which, they are fused together under heat and high-pressure in a controlled environment. This results in the laminate that we so often use today.

Credits: Formica

Laminates are known to be extra durable when compared to their counterparts. Which is why we generously use them for high usage carpentry, such as wardrobe & kitchen cabinets. They are also known to be extremely water resistant. So rest assure to use them in wet areas such as bathrooms. However, please do not attempt to submerge laminated carpentry in water. Where laminates are water resistant, they are not 100% water proof.

Another advantage of laminate: they have a ton of different design to select from. Ranging from solid colours to marble pattern. And that makes it extremely versatile.

Huge range of selections. Laminates by: Panaplast

One of the more distant disadvantage of laminates is their visible joint lines. This can be rectified by mixing paint colours and paint their visible joint lines over.

Visible joint lines on our working table.

Major laminate brands includes, EDL, Formica, Lamitak, Admira.


Veneer is arguably the best looking finishing. It’s simply because veneer are produced from real, solid wood. Veneers are produced by either slicing the log, or rotary cutting the log into thin sheets. Different process achieve different patterns on the veneer. The more commonly known patterns are quarter sawn & crown cut respectively. Quarter sawn veneer gives us a more straight line pattern, whereas the crown cut gives us a beautiful…. crown cut pattern.

A beautiful crown cut veneer! Credits: Toseva Group
Quarter sawn veneer! Credits: Toseva Group

Unlike laminates, which gets their pattern from decor paper, the pattern on veneer are derived from the wood they are produced from. Each wood has their own different characteristics, and they produce different type of grains.

A mappa burl veneer vs a crown cut oak veneer, with walnut veneer as the background. Veneer by: Toseva Group

Because it’s a thin sheet of ‘wood skin’, it can be easily damaged. A coating of varnish will be applied to the veneer to make it more water resistant. The varnish are available in both matte & gloss.

Is it possible to get a different colour other than the natural wood colour? Yes. Skilled carpenters are able to stain the colour of the veneer (not paint!). However, this also relates back to the characteristics of the veneer. If the wood itself is less porous, we might not be able to stain it to other colours (say black).

A distinct difference between laminates & veneers: a seamless joint line is expected when using veneer!

Spray paint

Another commonly seen finishing is the spray paint. Do note that it’s spray painting with industrial grade tools. A similarity between spray paint & veneer is that they both can be easily damaged. However, it is possible to repair a damaged spray painted cabinet.

First, we must sand down the damaged portion of the cabinet. This is to even out the surface. After which we must spray paint the entire door. This is to ensure that the paint colour are spread out evenly.

However, if it is a glossy spray painted cabinet, all we need to do is the polish the cabinet.

Personally, we absolutely love the finish of spray paint. It gives you a very nice, smooth & even out texture. Maybe laminates are trying to mimic the effect. But nothing compares to the real deal. Much like veneer vs laminates. Needless to say, you can expect almost no visible joint lines from a spray painted cabinets.

Major furniture brands use spray paint finishing for their products. A very good example is Ikea.


There are many different materials we can still apply on carpentry as a finishing touch. Here @ Salt Studio, we have even tried using wallpaper, tiles, stucco effect as finishing for our carpentry.

The type of materials that you should be choosing, should ultimately depends on your life style. For us, we absolutely love veneer finishing. However, because store heavy & sharp items, we tend to damage the veneer more often than not. Hence we opted for laminate for our own office!

So which finishing suits you the best? Do share with your friends who are going to renovate their homes so they can select the finishing best suited to their lifestyle!

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