High Pressure Laminates

HPL is the direct descendent of the original plastic laminate. It is considered to be one of the most durable decorative surface materials and is available with special performance properties including chemical, fire and wear resistance. Special grades of HPL can be postformed around curved edges by application of heat and restraint.

HPL is produced by saturating multiple layers of kraft paper with phenolic resin. A layer of printed décor paper is placed on top of the kraft paper before pressing. The resulting sandwich is fused together under heat and pressure (more than 1,000 PSI).  Because phenolic and melamine resins are thermoset plastics, the curing process transforms the resin into plastic by a cross linking process that converts the paper sheets into a single, rigid laminated sheet. Thermosetting creates strong, irreversible bonds that contribute to its durability.

HPL is laminated to a panel utilizing a variety of adhesives. Particleboard or MDF are the preferred substrate because they provide a stable, durable, consistent and economical foundation. Due to its durability, HPL is a common choice for horizontal surfaces including flooring, countertops and desktops. 

Detailed product information and manufacturers can be found in the Product Locator.

Special custom laminates can be produced to match the theme or décor of any environment such as this wall mural in a contemporary home.


Common Uses

  • Countertops
  • Tabletops
  • Flooring
  • Cabinetry
  • Case Goods
  • Furniture



High Pressure Laminate is considered one of the most durable decorative surface materials and performs very well for horizontal applications such as countertops and furniture.  



HPL countertops aren't just for kitchens; they can stand up to the rigorous demands of science labs and classrooms.It also performs well in horizontal and vertical applications for high traffic settings such as hospitality, office furniture, healthcare, retail casework, commercial interiors and educational facilities.

There are many types or grades of high pressure laminates engineered for specific performance requirements:

General Purpose

  • Most widely used HPL and suitable for horizontal and vertical surface applications. Typical thickness range from 0.028” to 0.048” (0.71 to 1.22 mm).


  • Can be formed around curved edges by application of heat and restraint. Maximum thickness is approximately 0.038” (0.97 mm) and can normally be formed to radii as small as 3/8” (9.5 mm).


  • HPL produced without a decorative face. Available as standard (most common; slightly thinner than decorative HPL) or regrind (reclaimed HPL with decorative sheet sanded off).

Special Products

  • Special purpose high pressure laminates include cabinet liners, high-wear, fire-rated, electrostatic dissipative and chemical resistant laminates.


In addition to aesthetic attributes, the lamination of particleboard or MDF with HPL can improve the physical performance of the substrate. For example, a shelf of ¾” industrial (M-2) particleboard that is 24” long will carry 45 lbs per square foot (psf) of uniform loading with 0.133” deflection. The same shelf can carry 85 lbs psf before reaching the same deflection if overlaid with HPL.

Recommended Reading

Buyers Guide




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