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What and Why: Everything You Need to Know About HPLs

high pressure laminate sheet


Are you looking to redo your office space? Di you have countertops that need refinishing? If you’re looking for a high performance, low cost material, then you should consider high pressure laminate sheets.

High pressure laminate sheets are one of the most durable surfaces on the market. It’s a visually attractive material, yet it can also withstand fire and wear. Of course, outside of the architectural supplies world, not many people are familiar with this product, so keep reading to learn more about high pressure decorative laminate, or HPLs.

High pressure laminate sheets are made by saturating layers of kraft paper with a phenolic resin. Then, a layer of decorative paper is placed over the kraft paper before it’s pressed. In the end, the two papers are fused together under pressure and heat. A curing process will then transform the resin into plastic because melamine and phenolic resins are thermoset plastics. This curing process is done by cross-linking the paper sheets into one rigid laminate sheet. The thermostat creates a strong and irreversible bond, making it extremely durable.

High pressure laminate sheets (or HPLs) are typically used for countertops, tabletops, flooring, case goods, cabinetry, and even furniture. The material does really well on horizontal surfaces like countertops and furniture. There are also HPLs made for more specific purposes. For example, special purpose HPLs can offer chemical resistant properties, while others offer protection from high-wear and electrostatic dissipation. These special purpose HPLs are perfect for a classroom or even a science lab due to their strength and durability.

If you’re looking for an HPL that isn’t going to be used for aesthetic purposes, you can purchase sheets that come without a decorative face. These can be purchased in their most common form, which is thinner than a decorative HPL, or as a regrind, which is reclaimed HPL that has had the decorative sheet sanded off.

Any HPL used for decorative purposes can also be customized. They can be made to match any theme or decor of an office space or restaurant, for example. If you’re looking for a specific laminate, talk with your laminate producer about your options. They will likely allow you to pick out the layer of decorative paper that is used in combination with the kraft paper during the curing process.