If you’ve ever seen furniture in the making, you will know that wooden boards have a raw edge when cut. This raw edge, when left uncovered, can pose serious problems for your furniture. Apart from looking unsightly and being the reason for your nicks and scratches, these can allow moisture to seep in and cause the wood to warp and become lumpy. Enter, Edge Bands – the strips that go on the end of raw wood boards and cover and seal everything up. This blog is about these wonder kids of the modular furniture world.

What Is Edge Banding?

The process of covering the raw edges of wood panels with a thin strip of wood, PVC, or resinous material is called edge banding, and the narrow strips themselves are known as edge bands. Commercially, edge banding is done using industry-grade heat applicators and a hot-melt adhesive. For modular furniture, the material used is mostly PVC which is easy to fix and has a long life.

Do note: Membrane press finish furniture does not require an edge band because the membrane material itself is used to fold over the edge of the wood, thus concealing the cut edge and offering protection.

Why Should My Furniture Have An Edge Band?

Modular furniture is made using engineered wood. As such, the wood is treated and made resistant to moisture by treatments. However, it is a natural tendency of wood to absorb water and that cannot be changed completely – it can only be reduced. Edge banding protects the wooden panels in your furniture from moisture, thus reducing the effects of atmospheric humidity, liquid spills and such on the strength and durability of the wood. So, the next time you spill coffee on your table and it drips down the edge, thank the edge banding for protecting the wood.

edgebanding-3

Is PVC The Only Material For Edge Banding?

Conventional carpenters use teak wood bands to cover raw edges. PVC, acrylic, wood, or wood veneer – all of these can be used to create an edge band tape. Why then does most modular furniture have PVC edge bands? The answer is simple. PVC is impermeable so it reduces water absorption by a much greater degree. Also, modular furniture comes in a much wider variety of colours and shades than real wood. PVC strips can be produced to match the exact shade and finish of your modular panel, thus creating a seamless look. Also, as compared to real wood bands PVC (and other commercially used edge bands) are easier to use on curved surfaces.

  • PVC edge bands are impermeable
  • PVC edge bands come in varying shades and colours and can be custom made
  • It can be easily used on curved surfaces unlike real wood bands

How Is Edge Banding Applied?

Essentially, an edge band is a thin strip of impermeable PVC that is cut to fit the size of a wood panel. It is then applied to the raw edge using a strong adhesive. A heat roller is then used to melt the adhesive and glue the edge band over the wood. The ends are trimmed flush and bent so that they cover the wood and do not have any sharp ends.

The machine that is used for this process is called an edgebander. It does an amazing job of binding the strip to the wood, trimming the leading and trailing edges, trimming the top and bottom flush with the wooden substrate, scrape off any surplus glue and buff the finished edge to give a flawless finish.

Edgebander: the machine that glues, cuts and trims
Edgebander: the machine that glues, cuts and trims

If Edge Bands Are Glued To Wood, Won’t They Come Off Easily?

The most frequently used glue for edge banding is PVA (Poly Vinyl Acetate), or PA (Polyamide) hot-melt glues. These are pliable under high temperatures, and durable and tough under low temperatures. They dry clear, and most importantly are water-resistant. A good furniture provider will always make sure their pieces have the best glue for edge bands which will keep them from coming off and chipping easily. But if you have any doubts, always ask before you buy.

Are There Different Edge Bands For Different Wood Materials?

Yes. While you can use PVC bands for almost any type of wood, the thickness of the band will differ. It is important to use the right band for a particular material to ensure strength and durability. This table below should help:

Use the right thickness of edge banding for the right material
Use the right thickness of edge banding for the right material

Which Edge Bands Are The Best?

There are a variety of edge bands available in the market; from pre-glued ones to 3D acrylic tapes. There is no ‘best’ variety and depending on use you may pick up one or the other.

At HomeLane, we use commercially available edge bands from a trusted and tried brand called Rehau. They have over 500 different finishes and patterns in stock ranging from natural wood grain to solid finishes and they can be easily used in association with the range and colour of finishes that HomeLane offers.

Hope this helps! In case you have further doubts about edge banding, do put in a comment. We’d be glad to offer advice.

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3 Comments

  1. A good way to make the cabinets more durable is to put a laminate skin on the areas that will have the most wear. For counter top edges a rubber t-mold is much more durable than edge banding. Great article, as you mentioned , cutting without chip out takes some work.

  2. edward reed

    Very nice article. This is very helpful and informative. clear information you have to sharing. Thanks for the sharing. We are also in furniture industry.

  3. edward reed

    Very nice post. its very interesting and informative. thanks for your sharing.

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