Compact laminate, also known as solid phenolic, is a paper fiber-based solid surface material that is warmer to the touch than typical acrylic or polyester materials.
Definition: Compact laminate is essentially very thick HPL, up to and exceeding half-an-inch. Extra layers of phenolic resin-saturated kraft paper in the core gives it its thickness and strength, as well as its characteristic black or brown color. Some manufacturers offer a wider variety of core colors.
It can carry a decorative and wear layer like HPL, although some designers prefer the “organic look” of the natural kraft paper surface. Compact laminate edges can be machined to a smoothness exceeding that of solid surface material.
Applications: Compact laminate is self-supporting and very strong, and has long been used as lab tabletops, bathroom stall dividers and for bullet-proof panels. Some office systems companies have created unique desk, conference and task table designs with these strong, thin panels. It has also been widely specified as exterior cladding for commercial buildings across Europe, and is often used as toilet partitions.
Photo: Kenn Busch; International Furniture Fair, Cologne