Veneer is a thin covering applied to the surface of another object in order to conceal its true appearance. It is typically more attractive than the object itself, and it is used to enhance aesthetic appeal or improve value. This type of covering is most commonly used in woodworking, but may also be used in masonry, stonework, and even dentistry.
Wood veneer is a layer of wood less than 1/8 inch (3 mm) in thickness. It is glued onto flat panels of particleboard, fiberboard, or wood to create doors, cabinets, and different furniture parts. In woodworking, veneer is created by slicing or peeling a tree trunk to obtain a sheet of the wood in the correct thickness. This art can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians, who used the product to create furniture and other objects.
There are several distinct types used in woodworking, each with different properties. Raw veneer has no backing and can be glued on either side. Paper-backed products have a paper backing, and they are available in small, medium, and large sizes for veneering small areas and curves. Phenolic-backed veneer is man-made and although less common, is becoming more popular due to concerns for natural resources.
In masonry, veneer is a layer of bricks used to cover the surface of a wall, but which does not add any additional strength to the structure. It is used to make a building or wall more visually appealing without interfering with the structural integrity. Concrete blocks, stones, and adobe are sometimes used in the same manner.
In stonework, what is known as stone or brick veneer is used in many different construction applications, although most commonly to build homes. It is created by pouring a light concrete mixture into stone-shaped molds and allowing it to harden. The end result is a faux stone that can be applied to buildings and walls for decorative purposes. As in masonry, this covering does not bear the load of the wall or increase the strength of the structure to which it has been applied.
In dentistry, veneer refers to a thin layer of material that is placed over the surface of a tooth. This is done in order to improve the appearance of the tooth, or to protect its surface from damage. Tooth veneers are typically made of either porcelain or composite material, and they are bonded to the tooth using resin cement.