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Conference Room Table Style
How a conference room table looks is just as important as proper sizing. The look of a conference room table conveys a message to all attendees. If the table work surface is thick and made with cherry or walnut hard woods in a classic board room design, the table sets a more serious and formal tone conveying strength, maturity and wisdom. Conversely, a thin laminate gray work surface with metal legs projects a less formal environment. In part, the style of a conference room table affects the quality of work from its users.
Large conference room tables are available in a variety of work surface materials and designs.
- Laminate surface (High and Low Pressure)
- Hard wood veneer
- Solid wood
Of these work surfaces, high pressure laminate (HPL) construction is the most economical. Solid wood tables tops are the most expensive and are often 3-5 times more than hard wood veneer materials. Most metal tables are smaller and no longer compete in the large conference room table market. However, metals are still used for table legs and pedestal bases.
Laminate surfaces are available in 2 types: High pressure laminate (HPL) and Low Pressure Laminate (LPL) also called Thermally Fused Laminate (TFL).
LPL construction is the most economical and relatively thin (about .007"). Melamine is considered part of the LPL family. LPL laminates are heated and fused to engineered wood materials such as medium density fiberboard (MDF). The surface features include, heat, moisture, stain, abrasion and peel resistant properties.
HPL is a decoratively laminated plastic sheet, about .050" thick and typically used on tables, counter tops and flooring. The laminate material is molded and cured at pressures of, commonly, 1200-2000 pounds per square inch (8-14 × 106 pascals). Industrial strength contact cement is used to adhere laminate to MDF or similar engineered wood products.
MDF is different than typical particle board. MDF is made of wood fibers, which are smaller than particleboard chip and has a higher density. The primary benefit over particleboard is that MDF is better suited for painting or powder coating and is more durable.
Laminate surfaces over MDF are available in a wide variety of colors and texture. Many are designed to mimic wood finishes in both color and texture, while offering a durable finish resistant to scratching and staining.
Wood veneer finishes are the most popular surface for up-scale conference room table. They provide the look of a solid wood table at more affordable prices. Wood veneer is a thin portion of the actual wood (typically 1/4 inch for conference room tables) glued to the table structural material (either less expensive but strong wood or high density particle board).
The most common wood veneers for conference room tables are cherry and mahogany varieties, although light and dark maple and walnut are also used. For a distinguished look, complementing veneers are inlaid to produce a tasteful design.
Unlike laminate surfaces, a wood surface may be prone to marks from heavy ball-point pen use. For this reason, wooden conference room table surfaces are made from hard woods and finished with at least two coats of eco-friendly lacquer. The combination of hard wood and a multi-coat lacquer finish provides a beautiful surface that can take the abuse of heavy-handed writing.
Large solid wood conference room tables tops are specialty items for three reasons: cost, thickness and transportation/installation challenges. Solid wood tables must be very thick to keep the wood surface from warping or cracking. As a consequence their physical size can cause issues. Specialty hardwoods are rare and drives cost and availability to levels that are many times more than veneer alternatives.
Glass may be used as a protective surface over wood table tops or as the table top itself. But due to the weight of glass, conference tables in glass are typical smaller than those offered in wood. For more seating, glass tables are offered in modular designs - each modular for about 2-3 chairs. These smaller modular tables can be arranged to suit the special needs of unusual conference room shapes.