What is Laminate Finish?

Advantages and Disadvantages Laminate Finish?


If you are planning to get your home interiors done, you have surely heard of laminates. Some people refer to them as sunmica or mica as well. Its all the same. So what is laminate finish?

Laminates are artificially made thin sheets which are glued on a stronger surface like plywood. They are highly brittle unless stuck to a stronger surface.

How is Laminate made?

Laminate is typically made of three layers glued to each other.

  1. The base layer which is made using craft paper. This is the strong layer which gives the sheet its strength. The quality of this sheet also matters a lot in terms of the quality of the final laminate sheet.
  2. Decorative layer is the layer which gives the color, pattern or texture to the sheet. This is manufactured to give the final aesthetic look to the laminate. Think of it like a pattern on a cloth. Just that in this case, the pattern can also be felt with a texture.
  3. Overlay is the layer to protect the decorative layer from scratches etc. This is a transparent, wear resistant layer made from melamine.

These laminates can vary in thickness from around 0.5 mm to 2 mm depending on the number of craft paper layers that have been used. The thicker the laminate, the harder it is.

How is laminate sheet applied?

Laminate sheets are brittle and can easily break. A sheet needs to be first applied to a plywood board. This is done by simply applying glue on both the surfaces and pressing it together. In a factory, the pressed sheet and plywood is kept inside a pressing machine which evenly presses the laminate. On site, the pressed sheets are kept under heavy weights for a day or two depending on the weather. This also works well.

In case of on site work, laminate sheets can also be cut using a diamond blade and stuck to cut pieces of plywood to match the grains as well. That is something not possible in factory work.

What are the Advantages of Laminate finish?

Laminate sheets have several benefits that make them so frequently used.

  1. Cost: They are possibly the cheapest among good finishes possible for a home.
  2. Maintenance: Laminates can easily be wiped, washed and cleaned. This makes them easy to maintain.
  3. Range: The only difference between two separate laminates is the decorative layer. This makes it easy to have a wide range of available laminates.
  4. Waterproof: Laminates by themselves are waterproof. That does not mean you can dip a plywood stuck with laminate in water. Wood is still wood.
What are the Disadvantages of Laminate finish?
  1. The biggest disadvantage of laminate is its inability to handle excess heat. If subject to prolonged sunlight, the laminates can crack.
  2. Laminates can also be scratched with sharp objects like knives and blades.
  3. An aesthetic concern with laminates is the finish on the edges. Shutters have edges which need to be finished as well. With laminates, carpenters usually just stick strips of the same laminate thus making the edges sharp. On the other hand, PVC edge banding can be used as well. This issue also exists with acrylic finishes.

Laminates are the most commonly used finishes in both factory finished as well as on-site work. This is because of the cost and many local and well known brands in laminates. Many local brands also make very similar looking laminates which can be easily replaced by carpenters to make more money. It makes it very important to trust the source of the laminates.

  • Interior Design
  • Interior Contractors

Contact With Us