Laminates Know No Limits.
ASK A HANDFUL of decorative laminate representatives what's hot and you get back an even bigger handful of opinions.
Some see materials such as thermally fused melamine and vinyl continuing to eat away at areas traditionally ruled by high pressure laminates, including the kitchen. On the other hand, some companies, including Nevamar and Panolam, have developed programs through which laminate specifiers can perfectly match thermally fused melamine panels with high-pressure laminate.
Following are some of the responses to Wood & Wood Products survey of decorative laminate trends:
"The store fixture industry's interest in thermofused melarnine panels is leading to many developments in both colors and structures," says Yves Normand of Tafisa. "The second aspect we are currently following is a concept which proposes to alter the perception of laminates in general. The goal is to increase the visual depth appearance of laminates through the development of a saturating grade paper. This would bring an element to printed papers that would emulate more closely the visual characteristics of natural materials."
"Furniture, like other fashion industries, is seeing the use of textures, which vinyls do very well, to enhance color," says Jim Barnett, business manager for Decorative Laminates of Omnova Solutions Inc. "Brushed metallics, leather grains and deeply textured abstracts are being combined with warm wood tones."
"High-pressure laminate is being rediscovered as an integral part of high-end kitchen designs," says Suzanne McGarity, residential market manager for Nevamar. "Because of the almost limitless design possibilities of laminate, it can be integrated easily with tile, metal surfaces, appliances, cabinetry and flooring to complete a space that's contemporary, traditional or eclectic."
"Blue tones are predominant for the year 2000," says Geraldine Mereb of Uniboard. "In addition to blue, other primary colors that are popular include red, yellow and orange. We're also seeing soft structures with regard to woodgrains and dark-colored woodgrains."
New Product Review
In the spirit that a picture is worth 1,000 words, here are 15 new decorative overlays and laminated boards available in the market. For more information, circle the appropriate numbers on this month's Reader Service Card. For a more immediate response, use E-Info, W&WP's free electronic reader service on www.iswonline.com.
Shelton is the first collection of coordinated designs by Pionite high-pressure laminates and Panolam thermally fused melamine panels. The Shelton Collection offers 25 contemporary designs and colors that allow a perfect match between HPL and TFM for smooth, seamless transitions.
Nevamar's Year 2000 Collection features 33 offerings of high-pressure laminate, including a number of completely new patterns never before seen in laminate, Nevamar says. Included is the new Painted Woodolands HPL. It complements the tile, high-end appliances, wood cabinetry and flooring used in traditional kitchen design.
Outwater Plastics Ind. Inc. introduces Flexlam and NuMetal, a thermoplastic and real metal laminate hybrid that can be used in any vertical and light-duty horizontal application. Flexlam comprises a high-impact thermoplastic fused to a decorative single dimension or 3-D surface to create highly flexible laminates similar in thickness, size and workability to standard HPL, Outwater says. It is available in hundreds of decorative patterns and finishes. NuMetal HPL consists of various embossed, silk-screened, acid-etched and hand-painted single dimension or 3-D metals fused to a phenolic paper backing. Both products come in 4-ft x 8-ft sheets.
Sappi Fine Paper North America created a new Ceramic finish in release paper. It is a deep texture inspired by the laminate floor trend toward tile-like finishes. Several depths and several gloss levels are used to create this ceramic like texture. The finish is geared toward decorative architects, and manufacturers of kitchen and bath cabinets, and displays.
Liri America has introduced Mohave, a new stock program of high-pressure laminates in five colors -- sand, amber, clay (shown), amethyst and jade. The company now offers 165 colors of HPL for the American market.
American Renolit has added vacuren velvet finish to its line of vacuren thermoforming films. The finish has a scratch- and stain-resistant finished surface and is styled in environmentally inspired colors and fashionable designs, the company says.
CFC International Inc. manufactures decorative and functional heat transfer foils and EB foils for a variety of engineered wood substrates. The company's multi-layered, complex patterned coatings come in the appearance of wood-grains, marbles, granite and geometric designs. CFC has introduced Flexrite and Flexwrap coating technologies. They allow for 3-D decorating of engineered wood substrates using membrane presses and profile wrappers.
Forbo-CP Ltd. now offers 22 designs in its Cova Press line of 3-D forming products. New to the collection is Richmond D, a vintage colored cathedral cherry with a plum overtone. Also new is Strichlack A, which combines brushed lacquer print and linear emboss that results in a dragged paint effect in a dashing lemon color.
Waves is a new decorative paper design offered by Suddekor LLC. It is a versatile design suitable for countertops, store fixtures, commercial furniture, and as a applique in residential furniture as well as flooring applications. Waves is suited for horizontal and vertical applications.
Folia Industries Inc. offers custom digital printing on high-pressure laminates. The company can produce custom HPL prints from photos, drawings or computer-generated graphics. Over 2,000 colors are available. Uses include laminate flooring, tables, countertops, P.O.P. displays, murals, graphic slatwall and store fixtures.
Abet Laminati has expanded its Printwood line of wood veneers with seven new, reconstituted, dyed veneers and a new homogeneous look in woodgrain and color. Also included in this line are five new dyed natural veneers. All 12 wood veneers are phenolic backed with a melamine, matte finish.
Uniboard Canada Inc. has added 27 colors to its Panval line of thermofused melamine panels, bringing the total number to 107. The launch includes six solid colors, 18 woodgrains, and three stone abstract patterns. The additions are available in Uniboard's six finishes: dolomite, furniture, suede, ashwood, crystal and high gloss.
Tafisa's latest collection of melamine panels, Magie, boasts both contemporary woodgrain colorations such as yellow, orange and a chartreuse take-off, as well as new structures of classic hues including L442 which offers the same tonalities as the classic laminate mahogany.
ColorLain Melamine panels from Timber Products Co. provide an alternative to high-pressure laminates for use in kitchen cabinets, store displays and fixtures, drafting tables, computer work stations, furniture, shelving and closet organizers. These thermal-fused melamine panels are available in a wide range of colors, woodgrains and decorative patterns permanently bonded to the customer's choice of substrates. Value-added finishing, machining and edgebanding services are available.
Alpolic ISD from Mitsubishi Chemical America Inc. is an aluminum composite material that is produced by bonding two thin sheets of aluminum continuously on both sides of an extruded thermoplastic core. It can be cut, machined and edge finished with standard woodworking equipment. Alpolic ISD is available in surface finishes ranging from wood to marble and can be rolled and formed into complex curved shapes while retaining its rigidity and structural integrity.