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How to Determine a Qualitative Furniture?

When you're renovating your dream house, it is no doubt that budget usually plays a very big part in your consideration. So, this post will help you understand better what you're getting for your every dollar. A key thing to remember: DO NOT be deceived by the aesthetics. It is the wood between the laminates that differentiates between a long-lasting and durable furniture or a throwaway furniture that will probably fall apart after a few months.

So, we will share with you a few tips to make every single cent of your money worth it.


Tip number 1: Low price does not necessarily means High Quality

Have you ever wondered why some the furniture is so cheap and yet has better aesthetics as compared to the more expensive ones? (In tip number 2, we will discuss with you the reason why)

DO NOT be deceived by price tags.

It's pretty horrifying that nowadays that the price, quality and how it is manufactured pitched by the salesperson in the showroom can be so inconsistent with the actual product.

A typical bluff would be claiming the furniture is made of pinewood, but in actual fact, is made of a wood way cheaper. With that said, there is no way to validate it unless you remove the laminates.

Unfortunately, this is how the majority in industry works - maximizing profit margins by compromising on quality.

To protect yourself from fakes and to ensure quality AND durability, always FIND OUT what you are actually paying for. Be it the material or where is it manufactured (directly from factory or not). Always dig deeper, do some research and literally see it for yourself!


Tip number 2: Look at the type of wood!

Woods in general have anisotropic properties. In layman term, they're strong and durable in a single direction.

They are also hygroscopic. In layman term, they are susceptible to water and their strength will drop exponentially when they are damped.

These are not a problem because most woods these days are laminated and coated so they are equally strong in all directions and are water proof at the same time, and partly for aesthetic purposes.

A furniture that is made of Chip board; also known as Particle board is significantly cheaper than a furniture that is made of plywood even if they are laminated. Why is that so?

In this section, we will introduce to you 2 commonly used woods for furniture, Plywood and Particle Board (PB), and explain to you the difference between both.

1. Plywood

Plywood are extremely durable and are manufactured to resist uniform loads perpendicular to their surfaces as well as high loads parallel to their surfaces.

raw wood structure

The different orientation gives plywood the same strength in all direction; also known as isotropic, as compared to a raw wood which is only strong in a single direction; also known as anisotropic.



2. Chipboard

Chip board also known as Particle Board (PB) is an engineered wood product made of wood chips/unwanted wood that is then pressed and extruded.

Studies have shown that the Modulus of Elasticity (MOE) is the lowest in the perpendicular direction. In layman term, particle board has a higher tendency to deform when forces are applied perpendicular to it.

For more information, visit Ultrasonic test conducted on Particle board.

Particle Board is also very prone to expansion and discoloration due to moisture, particularly when the laminates covering the PB starts to give way making it very susceptible to moisture.

particle board

Particle Board

All in all, there are over thousands of materials used for furniture these days. Ultimately, it depends on the usage of it. If you're intending to place heavy items on it, using Particle board is definitely not a wise choice.

In my humble opinion, I think it is unscrupulous to make furniture that is not long lasting just for personal benefits—i.e. maximizing profit margins instead of providing quality materials to customers. As a rule of thumb, never judge a book by its cover. Furniture that is aesthetically pleasing does not mean that it is durable on the inside. Always see it for yourself—be it heading down to the factory or looking at what is beneath the laminates.


Tip number 3: Check the workmanship!

Examine the furniture carefully and watch out for signs of cut corners in materials and workmanship. The following are the few details that will help you differentiate a good quality furniture from a bad ones.

  1. Good quality pieces will have very few knots even on areas that are not exposed. Knots are susceptible to cracking. For this reason, woods such as pine are less desirable.

  2. Poor quality furniture is often constructed from thin plywood, fiberboard, particle board, and press board.

  3. On wood furniture, a good place to tell the quality of construction would be the joints.

  4. Good quality furniture has joints that are screwed, or doweled. The very best joints are dovetailed, mortise-and tenon. Re-enforcing block attached at an angle should be used on corners.

  5. Indications of poor quality would be joints that are nailed, stapled, or will have visible glue.

  6. Good quality furniture frames will sit even level with the floor. Bad quality furniture will wobble, twist, or creak.

  7. When it comes to wood furniture such as a chest of drawers or a desk, very good quality pieces will have thin sheets of wood (often known as dust panels) between drawers. These panels not only act to protect contents, but they also improve upon the structures strength.

  8. Good quality pieces will have drawers that open and close easily on metal glide rails and have stops to prevent them from being pulled out too far. The very best drawers will have bottoms that float in a groove and will not be affixed to the sides. This allows for expansion and contraction due to changes in humidity. It also provides extra strength.

  9. Wood on wood sliding drawers are usually an indication of poor quality

The final and the most important point,

10. It can be difficult to tell the quality of upholstered furniture, because its frame is often concealed by fabric.

But here is what you can do, when you visit a retail location the salesperson should be able to tell you all the information about the product right away. If they cannot easily provide this information, or they hesitate, do not buy from them, move on to another location. The sales person should have good product knowledge and should be able to provide some sort of a spec sheet.

Personally, if any client asks the quality of any of my furnishings I am able to tell them immediately about the construction.

So this sums up my 3 main tips to make every single cent of your money worth it when you have decided to renovate your house in the future!!

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