High Pressure Laminate (HPL)

One of the most familiar and widely used decorative surfaces, high-pressure laminate, was originally made famous by the Formica Corporation.

Definition: HPL is typically constructed of several layers of kraft paper (similar to shopping bag paper), a layer of décor paper with a solid color or printed design, and topped with a protective wear layer that can also carry printed design accents or metallic or other inclusions.

The kraft layers are generally impregnated with thermosetting phenolic resins; the decorative and wear layers are saturated with thermosetting melamine resins. Because HPL sheets are pressed individually, many different designs and colors can be offered economically. Textured press plates may be used to control gloss levels, or impart textures that mimic stone, wood, tile or other surface designs.

Special grades of HPL can be postformed — wrapped around — radiused edges.

Applications: Normally specified for high-use applications like counters, desktops and laminate flooring, and is laminated over a variety of substrates but most usually particleboard.HPL is easily laminated "in the field" using contact cements.

Shown: HPL samples from Abet Laminati. Photo: Kenn Busch, NeoCon