HPL or high pressure laminate, is an actual plastic sheet with a backer that makes the product extremely durable. Each sheet is adhered with glue to the ¾” core product and then put in a press to bond the materials together. It’s the same material often used in kitchen and bathroom countertops for commercial and residential applications.
LPL or low pressure laminate, is a paper overlay finish bonded to MDF with a heat-activated glue. A laminating machine with heat rollers ensures a consistent and sound bond. LPL is a general category of product, but you may hear other descriptions like melamine, vinyl film, or foil laminate to describe this type of product.
Regardless of whether you choose LPL or HPL, the weight capability of what the slatwall board supports is not affected by what is on the face of the panel. LPL is stocked at our Spacewall plants in basic, neutral colors. Our Seattle plant has eleven color choices ranging from solid colors, woodgrains and brushed aluminum. Our Los Angeles plant has twenty lpl options which include several that are not typically stocked by other slatwall manufacturers. Basic colors from both plants are white, black, almond, light and dark gray, brushed aluminum, hard rock maple, cherry and oak. Los Angeles stocks the Touch Series, a grouping of 6 colors that have a slight texture to the panel.
Since HPL is laid up by the panel, we don’t stock any HPL colors-and there are literally thousands of colors to select with one sheet minimums. This is one of the advantages of HPL vs LPL-the wide range of color possibilities that are available. You also have greater flexibility in selecting a sheet size with high pressure laminates because depending on the color and pattern selected, it is generally more readily available as 4 x 10 or 5 x 8 sizes. Because it is a little bit of a thicker layer, the HPL is also more chip resistant at the groove and less susceptible to scratching.
Textured laminates have become increasingly more popular with the majority of the manufacturers offering a multitude of different finishes. For example, Formica’s PX Plex Finish feels like a canvas or burlap texture; Wilsonart’s K18 linearity finish is a subtle narrow, random linear texture that provides dimension and visual movement to solid colors; and Panolam’s LZ, Line Z finish is a bolder and larger linear texture.
If you change your displays out frequently, you may choose a HPL product for better durability; but if you merchandise your panels and seldom change out your fixtures, then the less expensive LPL may be a better choice for you. If you are uncertain of whether to use lpl or hpl, call us to discuss. We’re happy to send samples of both lpl and hpl in the color ranges you are looking for.
Sue Waller loves to share her extensive experience in the retail store fixture industry, primarily with slatwall paneling, with marketing managers and business owners.