Fire Doors: Can I Have A Veneer Laminate?

Chris Robinson , Nov 13, 2020 11:48:29 AM

The frustrations of a Doorset Manufacturer’s Production Director

The simple answer to the above question is no. They are both different things.

However, it’s a common query we frequently get asked by design teams – architects and clients alike – and a misconception that we thought we should highlight to help make your product research process easier.

Read on to find out more…

Timber Veneers and Laminate: What Are They?

Both are applied to the finish of the fire doorset, but few are aware of the differences between the two.

What is a Timber Veneer?

Timber veneer is real timber, sliced very finely. It is not made from manmade fibre, therefore is a renewable and sustainable resource.

Veneer allows us to enhance an economic core material to provide a highly desirable and decorative finish.

We can change the appearance of timber veneers by the selection of the logs, the way we cut and stitch the veneers together and in the final stained and polished finish.

The final appearance of veneers is often only limited by the designer’s ambition. And that’s a bold statement we are prepared to stand by.

Veneers are highly favourable for those wanting to create individuality. No two veneers are the same but, by even the simplest way we slice the logs, we can highlight the consistencies or irregularities of the timber making a truly intriguing aesthetic.


Pros of Timber Veneers:

  • Unique, and individual
  • Natural
  • Can provide warmth and ambience or contemporary simplicity
  • Prestige and versatility
  • Maximises nature’s resources
  • Veneer is none toxic, environmentally sourced, and ecologically sensible

Cons of Timber Veneers

  • Potentially more maintenance if specified into the wrong environment.
  • Aesthetically Inconsistent, which might not be suitable if looking for a uniformed finish.

What is Laminate?

Believe it or not, laminate is actually made of paper. A piece of high-quality decorate paper forms the top layer, and the rest of the layers are brown paper soaked in resin.

It’s hard not to associate laminate with countless sheets of identical material in identical primary colours, and whilst this is still the case, our UK and European laminate manufacturers have recently progressed their product significantly.

Laminate will provide you with consistency. Not only with colour but texture also, and the unwillingness to offer a primary selection of colours has been superseded by thousands of bold and pastel shades of colour.

In addition, by not wanting to lose out to the timber veneer market, they have perfected grain textured finished and changed the solid colours to photographic timber veneer images.

For the right situation, laminate faced doorsets continually prove to surpass our client’s expectations.

Pros of Laminate:

  • Consistent
  • Highly durable, scratch and water resistant
  • Hygienic, easily cleanable
  • Expansive selection of bold and pastel colours, woodgrain effect and graphically stunning designs.

Cons of Laminate:

  • In the wrong environment, laminate can detract from the uniqueness of the building
  • Laminate can be hard or expensive to repair
  • Laminate ranges are fashionable. Availability can be limited and colour ranges are rarely advertised as short or seasonable batch.
  • Popular colours are available. Season colours are made to order and have long lead times.
  • Laminate sheet sizes are limited and costs can be prohibitive.

Hopefully, by the descriptions above, you’ll notice that both are very different. The question is,

Which is best-suited to your design requirements?

Veneer or Laminate-Finished Fire Doors: Which is Best for You?

If you are specifying a finish, this question is crucial.

You know your client and have determined his final use for the building. Your design brief may have identified the secondary agenda for the fire doorsets, bespoke statements, coloured wayfinding, low, medium of high abuse, corporate image, this list may be endless.

Let’s say, for example, you need fire doorsets in a school.

You may agree that after the fire and acoustic performances the doorsets, they need to be durable and easily cleaned (including removing graffiti). Additionally, they may need to be coloured differently to highlight different educational departments or bright statements of intent.

Clean, single colour laminates work perfectly in this situation, and single colour laminate is generally available in smaller leaf sized sheets (950 x 2100) making it economic for most doorsets and in larger sheets (2500 or 3600 x 1250) for sport hall doors and the like.

Extend the laminate finish into the lecturers’ private areas and offices by changing to a wood grain effect finish, giving the area a quieter more muted tone.

Use this initiative in a leading solicitor’s law firm and you might be asking his competition for help.

We are a great advocate of timber veneers. Used in the right place with consideration of the veneer cut, direction, stitching, and finishing and you truly have something that is both unique and beautiful. If you really want to make a statement, there is no other material as beautiful and special as veneer.

Conclusion: Veneer or Laminate Fire Doorsets; The Choice is Yours

There is no one material to suit all.

Review the application and end use of your building and the choice will be made for you.

Laminate colours and finishes are readily available in the digital world and we would be pleased to help with samples including our “tombstone” door leaves.

Veneers can be a little bit trickier but please speak to us. Tell us what you like and we can suggest the specification you are trying to achieve. Again, we can assist with samples including our “tombstone” door leaves.

Can you have a veneer laminate? Ask our Production Director when you have an hour to kill.

Whatever your requirements, RW Joinery can help. We specialise in high-quality, bespoke fire doorsets, designed to your exacting requirements. Why not call an expert today on 0161 480 8722 or fill out the form below to talk about your next project?


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