All About Laminates: Types, Finishes, Maintenance and More
Laminate sheets are a great surfacing material that is widely used in residential and commercial spaces as they add a touch of elegance to living spaces. Not only that, but they also offer exceptional durability, versatility, and are easy to maintain. Plus, they’re a great alternative to natural materials such as stone, marble, and wood.
That said, laminate sheets are available in a range of options in terms of types, finishes, and colours. And if you’re in the market to search for the best laminate for your wall, cabinets, etc., read on as we discuss the different types of laminates, their finishes, maintenance, cost, and colour.
What are the laminate types?
There are several laminate types – all manufactured under varying conditions (temperature, pressure, and thickness) using a combination of different materials such as kraft paper, decorative paper, polyester, and PVC (polyvinyl chloride).
High-pressure laminates (HPL)
HPL sheets are manufactured through a multi-step process whereby multiple layers of kraft paper are bonded together by melamine and phenolic resins. These layers are then fired under high temperature and high pressure, resulting in laminate sheets that offer exceptional durability and are resistant to impact and scratches.
Low-pressure laminates (LPL or melamine)
Unlike HPL, LPL sheets are manufactured under low pressure and high temperature. They typically comprise a single melamine paper bonded to a substrate (usually craft wood or particleboard) to create low-pressure laminates. Due to its properties, LPL sheets are best suited for the vertical, low-impact application.
Different from the laminate types above, compact laminates need not be glued to any other material as they come in varying thicknesses. Plus, they offer strong, water-resistant properties that can be used for a range of residential and commercial applications such as interior wall paneling and outdoor furniture.
Unlike most laminate types, post-formed laminates are a thinner type of laminates and more flexible than conventional laminates like HPL, LPL, and compact laminates. They are commonly used for wrapping the edges of countertops, tables, and columns.
What are the finishes available for laminates?
Thanks to the industry’s manufacturing technology, laminates can have a range of finishes, but the most common ones used for interior design projects are smooth, medium to a high gloss and matte finishes.
Glossy finish laminates
Laminates with a glossy finish often give off a shiny, glossy effect on the surface, making the furniture or room look appealing and inviting. Plus, these laminates are easy to clean and maintain.
Matte finish laminates
Unlike the previous finish, laminates with a matte finish are not shiny, often giving off a muted effect on the surface. However, they tend to make marks and scratches less noticeable, making them the perfect surfacing material in the kitchen.
Super Matte finish laminates
Like the previous finish, laminates with super matt finish are not shiny, giving off a muted effect on the surface. However, it is less grainy compared to laminates with a matte finish, making them ideal for application in the kitchen.
Textured finish laminates
Laminates with a textured finish tend to replicate the look and feel of different natural materials such as stone, marble, and wood. They can be used to bring in an element of depth into any space.
How to maintain laminate surfaces?
Since laminates are manufactured using kraft paper and phenolic resins, excessive exposure to water or moisture should be avoided even though moisture will not be able to seep through and damage the laminates.
That said, most laminate types are generally easy to clean and maintain. Simply use soap water and a wet cloth for daily cleaning. Then use a dry cloth to wipe over to prevent water marks. Alternatively, you can combine with magic clean for occasional cleaning. Make sure to avoid abrasive cleaners and steel wool scrubbers as these can damage the laminate surfaces.
How much do laminates cost?
Manufactured as an alternate surfacing material for natural materials like stone, marble, and wood, laminates are generally inexpensive. Hence, you can expect the cost of laminates to be much lower than most natural materials.
However, this also depends on the type of laminate you choose along with the texture and finish. For a better estimate of your laminate selection, it’s best to contact your preferred laminate supplier in Singapore.
If you’re looking to install laminates for your residential or commercial project, you can reach out to us at Jennings Laminates! We offer a wide variety of laminates to give you the real deal at a more affordable price. View our full catalogue for more options and inspirations for your interior!