Head to Head: Paperback vs. Polyback Veneers

wood veneersWood veneers are basically thin wood layers that are affixed to various surfaces, such as tabletops and other furniture, doors, built-in cabinetry, musical instruments and much more. Essentially, veneers are popularly used to enhance the appearance of any number of different objects and spaces.

Backed veneers are ready to use, time saving and yield like standard sheet stock.

In addition to choosing between the various colors and patterns of a tremendous array of beautiful kinds of wood, there is another decision to make. Between the two most commonly used veneer backings, which should you be going with for your particular project: paperback or polyback? Learn more about these two types of backed veneers to help you determine what’s best for your needs.

Paperback: Have a “Good Read” about Wood Veneers

As the name suggests, paperback wood veneers are basically veneers that are permanently backed on paper. The benefit of using them is that they are mostly available in 4×8 or 4×10  sheets, because the individual narrower veneer leaves are already made into a finished face before the backing is attached. Paperback is very useful for those who don’t want to put together smaller pieces of raw veneer. In addition, this type is suitable for covering columns and other curved surfaces, because the veneer is unlikely to crack. The paper backing allows the wood to better bend and flex without breaking. They also work great if you are using PVA or contact cement in a vacuum press.

Wood Veneers Come in Polyback, Too

veneersPolyback wood veneers are attached to a polymer resin backer. This Polyback is a little stiffer but also provides flexibility and at the same time offers extra durability and stability. Polyback veneers are a great natural alternative to standard printed laminate veneers that are stiffer and can be prone to cracking. They are easy to handle, as well, because the poly material prevents the glue from bleeding through. Professional carpenters and furniture makers often find this easier to use than paperback veneers.

The Wood Veneer Backing Verdict

When it comes to deciding what to use for your project, paperback or polyback wood veneer, the best decision depends on what your project entails. If you need to cover a large area or surfaces that are curved, then you may want to consider using paperback veneers to prevent damage or cracking. In addition, since these are available in big pieces, covering larger surfaces will be much more convenient.

However, if you want something that is easy to handle and offers more stability and durability, then it’s best to go with polyback veneers. The flexibility of polyback veneer can make it ideal for those who are relatively inexperienced or using veneers for the first time.

Larger jobs with a requirement of sequenced sheets or special matching can be custom ordered.

Read about paperback and polyback veneer use in cabinet design here.


Sabrina Parisette-HerzogSabrina Parisette-Herzog is a 5th generation wood veneer specialist. Owner and President of Herzog Veneers, Inc., and a graduate of Middlebury College in Vermont, she and her husband Sam started the company in High Point, NC in 1982.
As a major supplier to….read more.

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