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What Does Solid Wood Really Mean?

by Nick, Digital Specialist | July 11, 2020

When you see something advertised as "solid wood," it usually means that the piece is high-quality. But there are some negatives to solid wood furniture- click inside to read more!


These days, you probably see a lot of things advertised as “solid wood”- furniture, cabinetry, doors, and more. The term itself means that the piece is made from actual lumber, and not strands or fibers of wood (this is usually called “engineered” wood). But there are positives and negatives to solid wood. Does solid wood make the most sense for you and your family?

Positives
Strength and durability: Solid wood furniture is made out of one piece of wood, making it strong. Think of it like this: trees in the forest can stay there for hundreds of years! Solid wood furniture will tolerate everyday wear and tear very well, making it well worth the investment.

Unique beauty: Again, since every piece is made from a piece of lumber, each piece is likely to have its own unique features. No two pieces of solid-wood furniture will look exactly alike! The grain of the wood might travel in different directions or have different shapes, and knots may be in different places on each board. Even the color might be different- wood that’s closer to the center of the tree will be darker.

Maintenance: Solid wood furniture is easy to maintain. Dust it whenever you do your regular cleaning, and wipe it down with a wood cleaner like Murphy’s Oil Soap to maintain the shine of the piece. Just make sure you use a coaster if you put a drink down- water rings are difficult to get out!

Repair: It’s a little easier to repair a small dent or ding in a piece of solid wood furniture by sanding it out and re-finishing it. Furniture that has a veneer is more difficult to repair, especially small superficial damage like a ding. Just be aware that some softer solid woods such as pine are more susceptible to dings and dents in the first place.

Re-Finishing: If you’re the handy type, it’s possible to re-finish a piece of solid wood furniture- this is much harder if the piece isn’t solid wood.

Negatives
Unique beauty: Yes, we listed it as a positive before, but if you’re the kind of person who is going to be concerned that it won’t look “perfect” or that multiple pieces won’t match exactly, you may want to consider other products.

Cost: Because of the craftsmanship involved, solid wood furniture will always be more expensive. Be prepared to make more of an investment- but the idea is that you get what you pay for. While you pay more up-front for it, they will last a lot longer- meaning you’ll go longer in between buying new pieces.

Weight: Solid wood furniture is heavy. Ever tried to lift a tree? (We don’t recommend it.) This is something to consider if you like to move your furniture around a lot, or if you’re going to be moving sometime in the near future. Then again, this is exactly what the delivery team is for!

Solid wood furniture can be a great look in any home, with almost any design style. It can also be a piece that you have for a really long time- maybe even a piece that you pass down. However, like most things, there can be drawbacks- so know what you’re getting yourself into!