The design of your bathroom vanity can either elevate this space to its full potential or disrupt its dynamics.
Its configuration must be carefully considered to ensure sufficient storage, while the materials and finish should visually support the surrounding design and withstand daily use.
While solid timber has been a time-honoured material for furniture construction, it’s not always a viable option in high-moisture spaces and for homeowners seeking a more affordable fit-out.
One of the best timber vanity alternatives is moisture-resistant particle board, which allows you to achieve the timber look and feel without breaking the budget.
We explore the key differences between solid timber and particle board so you can determine which vanity material will be most appropriate for your bathroom.
MATERIALS AND DESIGN
Timber bathroom vanities are normally constructed from a type of solid hardwood like maple, oak, or walnut, which are more durable than softwoods such as pine.
Solid timber vanities can be custom-built to fit your unique bathroom, with flexibility in drawer and shelf configuration. They also allow the homeowner to select a finish that seamlessly integrates with the surrounding design, whether they prefer lighter or darker grains.
In contrast, particle board is an engineered material that combines wood particles with glue to be heated and compressed into sheets. The sheets are available in a variety of sizes and thicknesses, with the strength being determined by the density and particle size.
A particle board vanity is usually treated with another material to enhance its durability, such as laminate or veneer. ABI’s dense moisture-proof particle board vanities are finished with either a heavy pressed timber laminate grain or a 2PAC acrylic enamel. This provides more control over how the material responds to different elements.
Ready-made particle board vanities are designed to suit almost any bathroom space, with white ash oak, pure oak, walnut, and black oak being popular timber grain finishes. A simple white finish complements a minimalistic design, with common options including white 2PAC, white VJ, and white shaker.
Pre-made particle board vanities are also available in a variety of sizes and configurations to integrate perfectly into any home. They can include a small 1-drawer vanity with a shelf for an ensuite, a 2-door freestanding vanity for a standard bathroom, or a wall-mounted 4-drawer vanity that accommodates two basins in a luxurious shared space.
Solid timber is well-known for its strength, however as it’s a natural material, there is less control over how it responds. When exposed to moisture, a solid timber vanity can undergo expansion and contraction which can warp the material and crack the paint applied to its surface.
Due to solid wood being porous, it can also be susceptible to mould and mildew forming. In extreme cases, the moisture can also rot the timber, which would require the need for repair or replacement of the vanity.
If the timber is well-sealed and moisture is kept under control, the risk of these issues can be reduced. However, it’s something to keep in mind when considering a timber bathroom vanity.
On the other hand, high-moisture resistant particle board is designed to withstand a humid bathroom environment. The steam from your shower and splashes when washing your hands are less likely to cause this particle board to swell and crack.
Particle board’s moisture-proof surface also helps to prevent mould and bacteria from growing as it would on a wooden bathroom vanity.
In general, solid timber is championed by its strength in many applications, including flooring, decks, fencing, and furniture. But, as mentioned in the unique instance of a steamy bathroom environment, it does need to be treated and cared for correctly to ensure it maintains this strength.
As it’s a man-made material, particle board is more forgiving than a raw, natural material in terms of wear and tear. It can last for many years, reducing the likelihood of needing repair or replacement in the near future.
For those on a budget, a timber vanity is often not the first choice due to the higher cost of this material. This is especially the case when it comes to a custom-built timber bathroom vanity, as this process is more labour-intensive.
In contrast, a particle board timber vanity alternative is a more affordable option that still offers durability and aesthetic design. Standardised materials for pre-made vanities significantly reduce costs in comparison with custom designs.
The process for creating a custom-built timber vanity is longer, as the design will need to be specified based on the individual space and the client’s desires. The materials will need to be sourced and constructed based on this brief, involving a higher investment in labour.
Ready-made particle board vanities afford the benefit of pre-set configurations, meaning construction is much faster. ABI estimates 10 working days for construction and up to 5 days for shipping, making the whole process extremely efficient.
CHOOSING YOUR BATHROOM VANITY MATERIAL
Determining the most suitable material for your bathroom vanity will depend on the above factors. If you’re seeking a completely customisable option, have a generous budget, and can minimise the vanity’s exposure to moisture, solid timber may be your preferred choice.
Alternatively, if you’re seeking a low-cost, versatile option that is highly resistant to the surrounding elements, a moisture-proof particle board vanity can offer the perfect solution for your bathroom renovation or new build.