What is HPL made of ?
It consists of about 60-70% paper and about 30-40% thermosetting resins. The latter are of two different types; the inner layers of paper are impregnated with phenolic resin and the outer layers with melamine.
What temperatures can HPL withstand without deterioration or discoloration ?
HPL can withstand up to 180° C without deterioration or discoloration. However, this relates to an accidental rather than a regular occurrence in that prolonged and localised heat can cause loss of brightness in the decor colour as well as yellowing and surface blistering. In the kitchen, care should be taken to avoid direct contact with saucepans just taken off the cooker; the bottom of a pan containing hot oil can reach 250° C
What precautions are recommended for applications intended for dry or wet environment ?
The success of applications intended for particularly dry or wet environments depends essentially on the choice of substrate and proper pre-conditioning of the materials. Where there are variations in humidity it is essential that the panel is symmetrical on both sides and that the humidity conditions are as similar as possible for both faces. Bear in mind that, as regards dimensional changes due to wet conditions, the laminate is similar to wood, so products need to be designed using appropriate adhesives, leaving adequate moisture escape routes and making screw holes a little larger.
What makes a low-quality HPL different from an excellent one ?
Poor resistance to scratching, impact, wear, steam, heat, stains and light are indicative of poor quality raw materials and/or manufacturing processes.
What is the difference between reaction to fire and the resistance ?
Reaction to fire refers to the tests carried out on an individual material, in our case HPL. Fire resistance, however, is measured by tests on the finished article, i.e. the composite panel formed of HPL, the substrate on which the laminate itself is applied, the bonding or fixing system and any supporting structure. Typical examples of this latter type are the doors or ventilated cladding for building façades.
What is the average life of a sheet of HPL ?
The life expectancy of HPL laminates is much longer than that of a human being! A piece of furniture finished in HPL is not easily damaged. Of course, the actual lifespan depends on how it is used, especially as regards the decorative surface. In any case, its durability is another of its considerable qualities and helps to make it especially attractive from an environmental point of view as well. Long life means less waste and a saving in resources.
What are the properties of HPL, in general ?
- Impact resistance - Scratch resistance - Lightfastness - Ease of cleaning - Heat resistance (occasional, up to 180°C) - Hygiene - Suitability for contact with food
What are the most suitable substrates for HPL ?
Plywood, particle board and MDF are all particularly suitable because, like the laminates, they are cellulose based and therefore have similar dimensional movement
What alternatives are there for finishing the edges of a worktop ?
There are several options: - using postforming HPL and bending it, as the design requires - bonding a strip to the edge, of the same HPL as used for the surface - with PVC, bonding a strip to the edge - with wood, gluing a strip to the edge of the composite panel - with Colorcore HPL, borders are not necessary, as this product has a core of the same colour - as the surfaces (full colour).
Is it true that HPL is especially hygienic ?
Yes, absolutely. An HPL surface is unfavourable terrain for the growth of germs and is therefore a material ideally suited to all situations that require maximum hygiene, from kitchens to operating theatres.
Is it possible to use any cleaning product or are there products to be avoided ?
Almost all normal household cleaning products or disinfectants are tolerated perfectly well, as long as they are not abrasive or strongly acidic or alkaline. Bleaches or heavily chlorinated products should also be avoided. After cleaning with detergent, rinsing and thorough drying is advisable, to prevent stains. It is not necessary to use furniture polish or wax based cleaners to maintain the surface sheen and indeed, these eventually form deposits on the surface that absorb dust and dirt.
Is HPL a chemical product ?
No. It is not a chemical substance but a thermosetting plastic material whose physical and chemical characteristics are completely different from those of the raw materials it is made from. During the high-pressure process, the resins that the sheets are originally impregnated with undergo an irreversible reaction, producing a stable and non-reactive material.
How is HPL cleaned ?
A simple cloth dampened with hot water is almost always sufficient, because the surfaces of HPL are compact, not very porous and are resistant to the stains and chemicals commonly used in a domestic environment. Of course the less textured finishes can be cleaned more easily.
How is a sheet of high-pressure laminate made ?
HPL laminates consist of superimposed layers of paper, impregnated with thermosetting resins and permanently bonded together by simultaneously applying heat (greater than 120° C) and pressure (greater than 5 MPa) for periods of 40 / 50 minutes.
How can HPL be disposed of ?
HPL is not a dangerous product and requires no special treatment. Thanks to its high cellulose content, the laminate can be used for energy recovery at the end of its life cycle, in incinerators authorised for municipal waste. In the factory, waste materials are used as fuel to generate the energy needed for manufacturing.
Can the laminate be applied directly to the walls that are to be clad ?
Absolutely not if they are functioning, plastered or painted walls, for many reasons: because of the natural surface irregularities that do not allow good adhesion, because of the moisture released from the bare wall, because adhesives do not perform well when hand-applied to plaster and because the dimensional movement of HPL, which differs from that of the wall, would create stresses and possible cracking. To prevent the laminate warping, it is good practice and an indispensable rule "to let it breathe", isolating it from possible sources of moisture. In conclusion, the laminate must be applied to a framework or support that is then fixed to the wall.
Can different finishes affect the properties of the finished product ?
Yes. For example, a glossy finish will be less scratch resistant than a more textured one.
As regards surface stains. to which substances is HPL resistant and which are the ones to avoid ?
HPL has a good resistance to most substances that can cause stains, including syrups, fruit juices, jams, liqueurs, milk, tea, coffee, wine, soap, ink, citric acid and acetone. It is as well, however, to remove products such as cranberry or beetroot juice, concentrated tomato or fruit juices, caramel and some very strong sanitary bleaches as soon as possible.
Are special temperature and humidity conditions required in warehouses ?
Decorative laminates should be kept in closed rooms and under normal environmental conditions, approximately at a temperature of between 10 and 36° C and humidity of 60 / 65%.