What Is The Best Material For Floating Shelves?

What Is The Best Material For Floating Shelves?


Floating Shelves are an on-trend way to elevate any space! With no bulky hardware or floor space required, floating shelves create space from nothing. Find the perfect shelf material and finish to go with your furniture or wall color, and you’re ready to rock and roll. Righteous!

When it comes to choosing shelf materials, there are lots of options: Solid hardwood... solid steel... plus lots of... ahem... lesser materials... What is the right material for you? Here are the pros and cons of all the popular materials. Even MDF... (gross!).

Plywood/MDF

Pros:

  • It won't warp, twist, shrink, crack or rot with age.
  • Plywood faced with a good quality veneer can be stained to look like almost any wood and is easy to paint.
  • Wood veneers provide a hardwood aesthetic with less cost.

Cons:

  • Wood veneers are only thin slices of wood and are easily damaged.
  • Like hardwoods, with prolonged exposure to the elements wood veneers can get damaged.
  • Unlike hardwood, dings and other damage can't be sanded out of plywood.
  • Wood veneers need more maintenance and must be polished to maintain durability.

Vinyl Laminate

Pros:

  • Laminate boards have excellent fire and moisture resistance.
  • Laminates are one of the most common, budget-friendly options.
  • Vinyl laminate comes in a variety of colors and textures. Or, choose a faux wood grain finish to give your shelves a solid-wood feel.

Cons:

  • Edging material has a longitudinal wood grain and looks unnatural.
  • Vinyl laminate can dent or puncture.
  • May fade or discolor with prolonged exposure to light.

Solid Hardwood

Pros:

  • Scratches and dents are repairable. Natural wear and tear often add to the character of the wood.
  • Easy to maintain with some simple dusting and polishing.
  • Ageless & Timeless Quality. Hardwood is the real deal; it's gorgeous and, depending on the type of wood, can seriously level up your home's aesthetics.
  • One of the biggest benefits of solid wood shelves is their durability. With proper care, solid wood shelving can last a lifetime.

Cons:

  • Vulnerable to moisture and humidity.
  • More Expensive.

Steel

Pros:

  • Massive weight capacity when installed correctly.
  • Easy to maintain with simple dusting and polishing.
  • Powder coats are durable, come in lots of colors, and will last a long time.
  • Razor-thin shelves. Like ¼” or less thin.

Cons:

  • Heavy. Like... crazy heavy.
  • Powder coating is easily scratched by sharp or coarse objects.

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