[ecis2016.org] Laminate sheets are popularly used in residential and commercial spaces as a finishing material for furniture elements and flooring. Here is all you need to know about this wood-like material
Laminates are a popular surface-finishing material for home interiors, including furniture, floor and walls. A versatile material, laminate is preferred over other finishing materials owing to its classy appearance, quality and affordability. Laminate finds its application in corporates, residential and other commercial spaces. So, if you are considering laminate for your next interior design project, you have countless options, in terms of colours and patterns. Here is a detailed look at laminates and what makes them a sought-after material by home owners.
You are reading: Laminates: All you need to know about the types, finishes, uses and maintenance
Laminate is a synthetic finishing material comprising multiple layers of materials like melamine resin and fibre board, manufactured to appear like wood. Decorative laminates are produced artificially from paper and plastic resins. Laminate sheets are thin sheets glued to a base of substrate material, commonly plywood, to provide strength.
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Benefits of laminates
- Laminates are preferred due to their easy installation on any wood surface like plywood and MDF panel.
- They are relatively less expensive than solid wood or veneer sheets.
- The material is highly durable and can last for two or three decades.
- Due to its smooth surface, it is easy to clean and maintain.
Types of laminate
Laminates are classified into different types based on how they are manufactured, the surface finish, usage and properties.
High and low pressure laminates
In high-pressure laminates or HPL, the decorative sheets are glued together and bonded under high pressure. They are highly durable with the ability to withstand heavy loads. On the other hand, in low-pressure laminate or LPL, the layers of decorative kraft paper are directly glued to particleboard or fibreboard under pressure and heat, sealed with resin. The material cannot withstand heavy loads like HPL.
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Regular and compact laminate sheets
These two types of laminates differ in terms of thickness. Regular laminate, which is glued to the surface of wood or plywood, has approximately a thickness ranging between 1.5 mm to 8 mm. Compact laminates are self-supporting laminates that can be used directly without the support of wood or plywood.
Decorative and industrial laminates
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Laminates are also classified based on their usage. Decorative laminates are known for their appeal and availability in various patterns, textures, colours and finishes. The thickness of this material is about 1 mm. Due to their decorative and protective purposes, they are the top choice for furniture designs – cabinets, shelves, doors and office cubicles.
Industrial laminates are used for their industrial applications as they have high resistance to wear and tear and can withstand heavy loads. They are used in making circuit boards, storage boxes and other kinds of furniture for industrial use.
Further, fire-rated varieties are made from fire-resistant resin and used in kitchens, hospitals, institutions and airports. Among other types of laminate are those with anti-bacterial/anti-fungal properties used in hospitals, daycare centres and outdoor UV laminates used for billboards and siding.
Based on their application, laminates are available as sheets, panels and boards in different sizes. The commonly available sheet size is 8 ft x 4 ft. However, other sizes are also available based on the application.
Laminate colours, patterns and finishes
Lamination material can be manufactured to get different types of looks and textures for use in interiors, suiting any décor theme. It is available in numerous colours and decorative motifs or patterns. Sheets that come in one solid colour are usually used in kitchen platforms and bathroom vanity.
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Laminate coatings are mostly used for home furniture like cabinets. There is a wide range of finishes and popular ones include matt and gloss finishes. They are also available in numerous patterns or abstract textures. Those having leather-like surfaces are used for designing cabinets, beds and come in different colours like brown, grey and black. There are laminates with a metallic look and wooden texture used in flooring for home interiors.
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Laminate flooring gives a natural wood-like appearance. The material is environment-friendly when compared to solid wood. It does not dent or absorb moisture as easily as wood. However, regular maintenance is necessary to keep the laminate design looking bright and shining for years. Once damaged, laminate flooring requires replacement, unlike wooden flooring that can be repaired.
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Laminate flooring can be installed on top of an existing floor. The process of installing laminate flooring is easy and does not involve any grout, mortar or adhesives commonly seen in vitrified tile or marble flooring. The subfloor surface should be flat, smooth and clean, for easy installation.
Installing laminates for cabinets at home is an equally easy process. The sheets can be installed over the furniture surface using high-grade adhesives. It is important to scrub the entire surface before installing the sheets.
Regular maintenance is essential, so that the laminate design looks attractive for years. The material is easy to clean, unlike solid wood. It is important to note that the surface can warp due to exposure to water for a long duration. Also, the material, being brittle is prone to chipping. Dry mop cleaning is recommended for the material, even when going for deep cleaning. When water or other liquid falls on the surface, wipe it with a wet cloth immediately to avoid damage.
Laminates price in India
Compared to veneers, decorative laminate sheets are less expensive. The cost of laminate in India starts at Rs 500 per sheet for furniture applications. The price of laminate flooring starts at Rs 150 per sq ft and can go up to Rs 2,000 per sq ft.
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