We hear people using the terms ‘plastic laminate’ and ‘melamine’ interchangeably all the time. They are not completely wrong – they are both types of laminates, but it’s a bit like using lemons and limes interchangeably! They are both citrus fruits, but your margarita might not taste quite right if you use lemons instead of limes!

High pressure laminate (HPL) is composed of 6-8 Layers of kraft paper, which are glued together and bonded under high pressure and heat; resulting in a very durable product. Plastic laminate is then adhered to various wood substrates. Melamine is also known as low pressure laminate (LPL), Thermally Fused Melamine, (TFM) or Thermally Fused Laminate (TFL). Melamine is created when 1-2 layers of decorative kraft paper are pressed onto particle board under pressure and heat, and sealed with resin. This material comes in 4×8 panels in a variety of thicknesses, such as 1/2″, 5/8″, 3/4″ and 1″.

– HPL is more durable and impact resistant than melamine

– HPL can be used on curved surfaces

– Melamine panels have a greater depth of texture and more realistic looking wood grains than HPL

– Melamine is less expensive than HPL

– Melamine is typically used for cabinets, drawer boxes, and vertical applications

Some companies have created colour collections that have matching plastic laminate, melamine and edge tape. This makes it possible to reduce the cost of the project by using melamine in low contact areas and high pressure laminate in remaining areas and finish with the matching edge tape to create a completely matching and cohesive end result.

The Panolam Indulgance Collection, Richelieu Nature+ Collection and Wilsonart Coordinated Surfaces Collection are some of our favorite collections of matching plastic laminate, melamine and edge tape. And if you’ve got any questions about the differences between the two types of laminate, or their best suited locations, give us a call at 306-483-5118.