Designer Decorating: Faux or No?

They say there’s nothing like the real thing, but when it comes to today’s home decorating trends, the “fools” rule.

Homeowners who want beautiful, yet low-maintenance, products are turning to manmade look-alikes for everything from garden pots to garage doors. With many performance and price advantages, faux isn’t faux pas anymore.

From synthetics that mimic terra cotta to fiberglass doors that look and feel like solid wood, imposters are flooding the market and giving the originals a run for homeowners’ money. For all of their desirable attributes, like weather and termite resistance, faux products are earning their due respect from homeowners. But experts also say “buyer beware” because there are still some obvious, flimsy reproductions out there.

“Some faux products are so good you’d have to take them apart to be able to tell the difference from the original,” said Shane Meisel, product marketing manager for JELD-WEN doors. “However, if you can spot it’s a fake from a few feet away, don’t kid yourself – it probably won’t fool anyone else, either.”

Even the most discerning eye will have trouble telling the difference between some of today’s imitations and the real thing. Here are some of the great faux products on the market today.

Front Doors: Wood vs. Fiberglass

Homeowners have always loved wood doors, yet many aren’t so fond of the care and maintenance that goes with them. Real wood is vulnerable to the elements and can warp and crack if not properly maintained. High-tech fiberglass doors are made with energy efficient cores; they are impact-rated and require little maintenance.

Planters: Terra Cotta vs. Synthetic

Terra cotta pots are beloved for their simplicity, moderate price and European style. However, heavy terra cotta pots crack and break, especially in freezing weather. Polyethylene and other synthetic materials won’t chip, fade or crack. They also are lightweight and less expensive than the original.

Garage Doors: Solid Wood vs. Composite Wood

Wood provides an attractive, custom appearance for the garage, yet can be very costly, heavy and high-maintenance. By offering the only wood composite door available today, JELD-WEN achieves a realistic woodgrain appearance in a multitude of style options – all at an affordable price. Additional advantages are energy efficiency and an exterior door skin that resists moisture and cracking.

Brick: Real Brick vs. Manufactured Alternatives

Brick has a stately appearance and a very durable finish, which is why it is one of the most favored of all building materials. Yet brick also is a relatively expensive, heavy and unwieldy material. Manufactured brick is made from lightweight fiber cement and provides the look of brick, while offering some distinct advantages including a variety of color choices and finishes.

Tips for Selecting Faux Products

How can homeowners avoid the mistakes of yesteryear’s whitewashed wood paneling and choose faux products that will stay in style for years? Here are a few tips from window and door design experts:

* Identify the specific performance benefits you need from a faux product, such as weather resistance and energy efficiency.

* Do your research and ask for product information, comparing appearances, pricing and benefits.

* Judge products side-by-side with their originals, and talk with others who have used them.

* Weigh performance advantages versus appearance. If you like the look of a real wood front door, but don’t have time for the maintenance, an alternative material might be a better choice – and a more cost-effective decision in the long run.

“The truth is that even we have a tough time telling the difference between our real wood doors and our custom fiberglass doors,” Meisel said. “The technology advancements are simply amazing. Customers are blown away when they find out our fiberglass doors really aren’t wood, and they’re delighted to know they can get the same look in a highly durable, long-lasting and virtually maintenance-free product.”

For more resources on faux building materials with high-performance benefits, visit or call (800) 877-9482, PR-352.

Courtesy of ARA Content