HomeBlog » Melamine Panels vs Plastic Laminate

Melamine Panels vs Plastic Laminate

Plastic Laminate

Melamine panels and plastic laminate, used to build cabinets, office furniture and display counters, and white boards are often referenced interchangeably, but the two materials are slightly different. Melamine is a laminate, but not all laminates are melamine.

Melamine Panel

Melamine is considered, and often referred to as, a direct or low pressure laminate (LPL) because it is manufactured with a pressure of 300-500 pounds-per-square-inch. Layers of paper are saturated with a melamine resin until they are converted into a solid, plastic surface via thermal fusion. The melamine sheets are molded together as one of the layers of plastic laminate, which is then bonded together with particleboard or to another backing material to create a durable plastic sheet, which is what is used to give products such as Formica an attractive surface.

Available in a wide selection of textures and natural wood grains, melamine panels are a cost-effective, multipurpose option for adding color and finishes to designs and projects. Generally sold already attached to the particleboard, melamine is durable, scratch and shatter resistant, and waterproof. Granted, while the material itself is waterproof, if water gets into the particle board underneath, it could cause the melamine to warp. Additionally, even though melamine is very sturdy, if it’s not installed properly, the particle board can bear damage and cause the melamine to chip. Because it has voids on the ends, melamine will require an edge-banding to cover the area. Projects constructed with melamine generally have up to a five-year lifespan.

 

Plastic Laminate

Plastic laminate, which also comes in a variety of colors and textures, is made from multiple layers of kraft paper soaked in plastic resin and placed into drying chambers. The material is a high pressure laminate (HPL), manufactured under 1,400 pounds of pressure per-square-inch, more than three times over melamine sheets. Plastic laminate comes in three grades: general purpose, vertical surfacing and post forming, and is generally not attached to wood.

General purpose laminate is most often used for countertops. Vertical grade laminate is generally used for cabinets or other surfaces that don’t sustain direct wear and tear, and post forming laminate is malleable, used for curved or rolled applications. While plastic laminate costs a bit more than melamine, it is more resistant to moisture, chemicals, heat and force. Working with plastic laminate takes a fair bit of skill and more specialized machinery than building with melamine.

Related Posts

  • Pionite Laminate for your KitchenPionite Laminate for your Kitchen Historically, consumers might have considered laminate “low-end,” not only in terms of price, but for look as well. But over the years, laminate has improved dramatically in finishes and […]
  • DIY Projects with Beadboard LaminateDIY Projects with Beadboard Laminate Beadboard: DIY Projects that are simple and can transform any room Beadboard is an MDF panel with grooves made to resemble a tongue and groove pattern commonly used to mimic wainscoting […]
  • How to waterproof MDFHow to waterproof MDF Medium density fiberboard, or MDF, is a highly versatile, inexpensive wood product that has many applications, including shelving, cabinetry, furniture and moulding. Made from heat-pressed […]
  • The Many Uses of MDFThe Many Uses of MDF Not all composites — in fact, not all medium density fiberboards — are created equal. Medium density fiberboard (MDF) is a composite product used in many home and professional projects, […]