Are you wondering how faux wood chairs compare to real wood chairs and tables? Prices are fairly comparable, so the choice for one over the other isn’t usually about price. Obviously, Holsag solid wooden chairs are made using wood versus aluminum, but the differences go beyond aesthetics.

Let’s dive in deeper to find out when and where hardwood chairs are your best option, and when faux wood chairs are your best choice.

Comparing Real Wood vs. Faux Wood

There are a lot of similarities and some crucial differences between real wood furniture versus faux wood chairs and tables. It’s likely you already know some information about wooden furniture, which is built or carved out of solid (un-engineered) wood planks. Solid wood furniture has been around since Ancient Egyptian times.

So, what about faux wood? Is faux wood durable enough for commercial use? And what is faux wood, anyway? Faux wood is a waterproof synthetic material that has been textured and stained to look like natural wood. Furniture that is made from faux wood can be just as durable as real wood and it generally performs better in humid climates.

That doesn’t mean faux wood is better than real wood—both offer different advantages. Real wood feels warmer to the touch in cold weather, and cooler to the touch in hot weather. It has a rich appearance and feel, although it can be easily damaged by water, humidity, and heat.

Faux wood and engineered wood have been used in furniture making for over 150 years.

Faux wood chairs and tables could be made of any of the following:

  • A steel or aluminum frame with a faux wood finish  
  • Faux wood slats of commercial-grade polypropylene 
  • A frame made of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) with a faux wood finish 
  • A particleboard or plywood frame with a thin veneer of laminate or fine wood

Of all these faux wood materials, the only one faux wood chair we recommend for commercial use is a steel or metal frame with a faux wood finish. Faux wood chairs made this way are lightweight and exceptionally durable. On the other hand, furniture items made with MDF or particleboard (a material used in many big box stores) tend to break easily when subjected to the rigors of heavy commercial use. Faux wood tables are another story and have a wider range of options and quality levels.

Holsag faux wood chairs have an aluminum frame that is powder coated with an even coat of scratch resistant lacquer. Then, a grain transfer is applied to the lacquer coating to produce the look and feel of a chair with a polished, natural wood grain finish.

Wood Chairs vs. Faux Wood Chairs

wood chair faux wood chair
Wood Chairs Faux Wood Chairs
Manufactured in North America Manufactured overseas
Sturdy construction with strong hardwood frame Sturdy construction with strong aluminum frame
Incredible ROI/long product life Incredible ROI/long product life
Endless finish options Limited finish options
Easy to customize No customization options for the frame (only the fabric)
Fine, woodgrain surface Imitation wood grain surface
Hand applied wood stain Powder-coated aluminum frame
More likely to dent, chip, and show scratches (without strong finish) Unlikely to dent
Easy to touch up if scratched (can be refinished) Difficult to touch up if scratches down to the metal
Can be heavier (depending Con design) Usually lightweight (depending on design)
Some chairs nest up to 4 chairs high Stacks 4-6 chairs high
Can absorb stains and spills (without strong finish) Will not absorb stains or germs
Sustainable sourcing and biodegradable Recyclable and sustainable
Might be affected by humid and dry climates Not affected by humidity or dry climates
10-year frame warranty 10-year frame warranty
Standard 6- to 8-week lead time Standard 6- to 8-week lead time
Warm to the touch Cold to the touch

There are benefits to both hardwood chairs and faux wood chairs built with an aluminum frame.

Real wood chairs invite warmth and a classic style into a room. Natural wood absorbs a variety of wood stains, so the finish customization options of real wood are limitless.

Faux wood chairs are durable and lightweight. The powder-coated finish creates a strong surface that is resistant to dents, scratches, and moisture damage. Faux wood is highly resistant to damage from temperature and humidity changes. 

Checklist: How to Select Chairs for Commercial Areas

Hardwood or faux wood? Metal or fabric? You can get the best chairs for your property when you consider the following variables.

  • Your climate (real wood and fabric don’t perform as well as faux wood in humid climates or in places with extreme temperature changes, although real wood feels warmer to the touch than faux wood in cold climates)
  • Your property layout and storage capacity
  • The frequency of redecoration (select timeless styles if you wish for minimal renovations or fashion-forward designs to make a bold statement)
  • Your guests’ preferences for comfort level in seating (for example, stylish millennials at a bar expect something different than seniors gathering around a dining table)
  • Cost
  • Style and aesthetics
  • Intended usage location (indoors, outdoors, lobby, restaurant, etc.)
  • Sustainability factors (recyclability, Greenguard® certification, LEEDS credits, etc.) 
  • Availability and shipping time of product (international shipping delays can snag remodel plans) 
  • Customization options (if desired)

Facts about Wooden Chair Frames

holsag wood chair

Holsag wooden chairs are made using strong European Beechwood, which is sustainably harvested. These hardwood chairs have a beautiful lacquer finish, which is a hard, durable coating and protectant that lasts for years and ensures a long product life.

Natural wood can accept endless color and finish options, which makes them easy to customize. Additionally, wood can be intricately carved to create stunning designs and the look of natural wood grain is timelessly stylish.

Wood is also warmer to the touch than faux wood, which can be important in some climates. As far as sustainability and environmental toxin emissions, natural wood furniture is an eco-conscious choice, provided that the wood is sustainably harvested (which means, in part, that more wood is planted than harvested).

Things to consider before purchasing wooden chairs

Because hardwood chairs are somewhat heavy, wooden chairs are not ideal for quick room turnover and storage. Hardwood chairs also require more storage space. They often don’t stack at all, and if they do stack, they don’t stack as high as faux wood chairs. There are some exceptions to this: some Holsag side chairs can stack up to four high. In general, though, if you’re looking for a lightweight, high-density stacking chair with a small storage footprint, you want faux wood (aluminum) chairs versus wooden chairs.

Before purchasing wooden chairs, it’s important to research the manufacturing plant to understand how the chairs are built. Ask questions about the construction methods because a commercial environment requires wooden chairs with robust joints, such as tenon and mortise, that are made using a high-quality production process that includes gluing the joints into the frame. This will keep the chairs from becoming unstable.

You should know that wood is softer than steel, so make sure you ask about the type of lacquer that is used on the frame. Catalyzed lacquer will hold the color better and reduce the appearance of scratches and dents.

Also, ask about the staining process. Low-quality wooden chairs can have color variants between chairs because of the grain. Chairs made using a hand-rubbed staining process will ensure the color is spread evenly throughout the frame including in the joints, corners, and legs.

Some manufacturers of wooden furniture have a harmful impact on the environment. Make sure you choose a manufacturer that only uses wood from sustainable forests—meaning that there is more new growth and planting than harvesting and depletion. When furniture is built with sustainably harvested wood, it can offer several advantages over faux wood furniture from an environmental standpoint. Real wood is biodegradable, it does not have harmful emissions, and it is sustainable (providing it is sourced properly).

About Holsag Wooden Chairs

Holsag solid wood chairs are manufactured in North America and made exclusively from 100% European Beech hardwood sourced from sustainable forests in Europe. The mortise and tenon joints are glued, pinned, and screwed into place for a sturdy structure.

All chairs are hand-sanded, and the stains are hand-wiped, for even color distribution. The stain is then covered with a durable, catalyzed lacquer that resists cracking and chipping.

Limitless customization options are available.

Facts About Faux Wood Chair Frames

faux wood chair

Faux wood chairs are incredibly durable and difficult to dent. The frames are easy to clean and maintain and not affected by humidity or dry climates. The strong powder-coated finish is scratch resistant. They can be lightweight and easy to stack, depending on the design.

Faux wood frames are made from aluminum and are cold to the touch, which means that one disadvantage of faux wood furniture is that they’re uncomfortable during the winter season in extremely cold climates. That’s why we recommend that ski resorts and other properties in cold areas should select real hardwood furnishings or a faux wood chair with upholstery and cushions rather than an un-cushioned aluminum frame.

Holsag faux wood frames are made of 100% aluminum and are fully recyclable.

Things to consider before purchasing faux wood chairs

Faux wood frames are imported from overseas, which can result in a longer lead time. Also, there is a limit to finish options with artificial wood surfaces. If you are trying to match a specific color and grain of wood, you’ll have better luck with natural wood furniture.

Faux wood chairs often have more limited warranties than hardwood chairs, and it can be more difficult to address any damages. The frames are also more difficult to touch up if scratched down to the metal, and they cannot be refinished. That’s why it’s important to choose a high-quality faux wood chair. Holsag is an excellent choice in faux wood furnishings because we give each chair an ultra-durable finish that’s powder coated and baked onto the frame, which extends the life of the product.

About Holsag Faux Wood Chairs

Holsag faux wood frames are crafted from strong, lightweight aluminum, which makes them perfect for heavy use in hospitality, restaurants, hotels, country clubs, and senior living environments. The strong welded construction keeps joints from loosening without requiring maintenance. Holsag faux wood chairs stack up to six chairs high, making them easier to move, store, and stack than real wood chairs.

As you can see, there are many benefits to both wooden chairs and faux wood chairs. Faux wood chairs and hardwood chairs can be equally durable and stylish; cost-wise, faux wood chairs are about the same price as real wood chairs.

Deciding which type of chair is best for you depends on the look and style of your property, your available storage space, your budget, your required lead times, your customers’ comfort preferences, and the unique features and benefits of each chair. Happy shopping!

Need help finding the best faux wood or wooden chairs built by Holsag? Get a quote today.

FAQs About Faux Wood vs. Real Wood Furniture

Which is better—faux wood or real wood chairs?

Both frame materials can be sturdy and durable, although hardwood has an age-old charm and grace that’s all its own. Hardwood chairs are heavy, though, and require regular polishing and upkeep. Faux wood chairs are lightweight and extremely durable. In a commercial environment, this is a keen advantage, making them easy to move around and rearrange. Faux wood chairs can also stack six or more chairs high and they take up minimal storage space, making them a great choice for banquet areas, restaurants, hotels, event venues, and senior living properties.

Should I get real wood chairs or faux wood chairs for a lobby?

The lobby is usually the first thing seen when walking into any commercial environment, so you want this area to feel warm and inviting for your guests. Real wood chairs are warm to the touch and comfortable. They provide a classic style and limitless customization options to match the aesthetic of any space, making them a perfect option for a lobby. Hardwood chairs are heavier than faux wood, but in a lobby, this won’t matter much since lobby furniture doesn’t get moved around much.

Is faux wood or real wood better for the environment?

Both faux wood and real wood furniture can be used responsibly in home or commercial environments. If you purchase real wood chairs, make sure that the wood is sourced from certified sustainable forests. Real wood requires additional care—it needs to be protected from moisture and humidity, which can damage the wood. Extreme temperatures can also cause cracking. But provided real wood is sustainably sourced and well cared for, it can be an excellent low impact furnishing material. Faux wood requires less care than real wood in certain climates and may not need to be replaced as often in commercial environments. High quality faux wood is 100% recyclable.

Is faux wood recyclable?

Yes, all Holsag faux wood furniture is 100% recyclable. Some of our faux wood furniture is made of aluminum with a painted coating that mimics the look and feel of wood. Other faux wood furniture can be made of a special plastic with a wood-look finish, which is also 100% recyclable.

Which is more durable—real wood dining chairs vs faux wood chairs?

Our faux wood chair frames are water resistant, extremely durable, and scratch resistant. Made of aluminum, they are lightweight, water resistant, and don’t require upkeep like real wood chairs (which require occasional polishing). Our faux wood dining chairs stack up to six chairs high and thanks to stacking bumpers on the side they don’t scratch each other even while being carted around or during storage. Although hardwood chairs can also be durable if cared for properly, faux wood chairs are highly practical and an excellent choice for commercial areas such as multipurpose rooms, banquet halls, meeting rooms, and flexible spaces.

Are hardwood chairs better than faux wood chairs?

No, hardwood chairs aren’t better than faux wood chairs—faux wood just offers different advantages than natural wood. Faux wood is not lower quality than wood and it offers equal (or even lowered) environmental impact since our faux wood is 100% recyclable. Faux wood chairs can be highly practical and decorative in a commercial environment. Both hardwood and faux wood chairs can both be durable, exquisitely made, and cost about the same.

Hardwood dining chairs are beautiful and can last for years if cared for properly, but they may require more upkeep in a commercial environment than faux wood chairs. Real wood chairs aren’t as resistant to spills as faux wood and they also need refinishing every so often. Real wood furniture is also heavier than faux wood and won’t stack as densely as faux wood, so real wood chairs can be great in dining areas that don’t get moved around much but can be cumbersome if used in banquet rooms or multipurpose rooms.

What is more comfortable—faux wood or real wood chairs?

If you live in an environment that faces extremely cold temperatures, real wood chairs are a more comfortable choice. Faux wood chairs are cold to the touch, which can be uncomfortable for guests during winter months. On the flip side, if you live in a hot climate, the cool touch of faux wood furnishings can be soothing and add to your guests’ comfort.

Should I get real wood dining chairs or faux wood chairs for use in a senior living facility?

In a senior living facility, guests spend a lot of time in dining chairs, so it is important that they are comfortable. Depending on the climate, either faux wood or hardwood could both be good options. Opt for warm natural wood if you live in an area with extremely cold winters, since seniors can be sensitive to cold. Get faux wood if temperature isn’t really an issue, or if you have hot summers.

Whichever type of chair frame you select, make sure you select chairs with a high amount of comfort (contoured backs, flex-seats, and cushions if desired). And remember, sometimes practicality trumps other considerations. Although slightly cool to the touch, faux wood chairs can be more durable than real wood chairs in a commercial environment because they’re so lightweight and they hold up well against spills that may happen in the dining room.

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