Melamine vs. High Pressure Laminate

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Old 05-05-06, 04:59 PM
rkc
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Melamine vs. High Pressure Laminate

Can anyone clarify the advantages of having cabinet interiors done in melamine or high pressure plastic laminate. Thanks.
 
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Old 05-05-06, 07:29 PM
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They clean up in a snap and don't absorb liquids. You didn't want any disadvantage, did you? Save a post, here goes. They look sterile, aren't warm looking, but it is entirely what you desire for a finished product.
 
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Old 05-06-06, 09:08 AM
rkc
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Melamine vs. Plastic Laminate

You're right they are rather bland looking. However, I was just wondering which of the two is the better material and why?
 
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Old 05-06-06, 12:23 PM
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I think by melamine you are referring to the coated masonite product. High pressure laminate will give a better service life as long as it is not nicked or chipped to where it will absorb moisture.
 
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Old 05-06-06, 03:09 PM
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Sealing with clear sealer will provide protection for wood. You can stain interiors before sealing if desired. This is preferred if you have cabinets with glass doors so finished interiors will show.
 
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Old 05-13-06, 06:17 PM
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There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

Melamine at wholesalers, is available in 30 colours and patterns (more or less depending where you are etc), comes pre-finished in various thicknesses and is not to labour intensive (from raw board to finished casework - cabinets). Retail outlets usually offer several choices - mainly white, grey, black, tan and a few patterns like maple/oak or ?

Plastic Laminate is much better, but about 3 times the labour, and at least four times the cost (you have to laminate both sides of a sheet to prevent warpage - more important for doors and table tops). You can buy cheaper backer laminate for faces you don't see, but overall, you will see both sides in most locations - except where cabinets are butted to each other.

With Plastice laminate, the colours and patterns are endless - between the various makers, you have 1000's of choices.

The bottom line - Melamine will stand up fine for most applications and provides a durable, easy to clean surface. It is not good where moisture may be a problem, but does take a while before water will penetrate the surface and cause serious damage.

Plastic Laminate on a plywood or MDF core is common in high end millwork (mainly in commercial work), but seldom done in homes due to the added costs. If you want multiple colour options, super high quality, and cabinets that may last longer than you - go laminate - be forewarned - if you plan to hire a contractor to do this work, the price will probably be 3 times your typical kitchen price in 5/8" melamine.

If you decide to go plastic laminate and are going to hire someone, make sure they specialize in working with plastic laminate - and lots of it. It takes a fair bit of skill (or very expensive machines) to produce nicely finished laminated products. I have seen many pros, who can make beautiful hardwood furniture, make a mess of laminate work.

Get references and check the work - pay close attention to edges for even filing, look over surfaces for smooth finish - no bubbles etc. Edges should feel smooth - like a solid top.

Hope this helps.
 
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Old 05-15-06, 11:17 AM
rkc
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Great Information

Thanks for the great information!
 
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Old 05-16-06, 05:59 PM
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Your use of the sheet goods (ie, what you are making) and your budget will determine which you'll want.

For cabinet parts, melamine is great other than the fact that it's a particleboard or MDF core item. I'm a cabinet maker and we use melamine on about half of our jobs (the budget jobs). Melamine (speaking ONLY of the surface coating) is super durable. Even acetone doesn't mess up the brand we use (though I'm sure it varies with other brands, we use Duramine brand). But then again the core is particleboard, aka, tree bologna. I despise particleboard. But I love melamine's surface. Catch 22.

For countertops, I'd stick to laminate although melamine can make a decent countertop.

BTW leftover laminate sheets/pieces make great garage dust pans and great photography backgrounds for small arts and such. I have dozens of colors at home to choose from to photograph my woodturnings. Love free stuff!
 
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Old 05-17-06, 03:03 PM
rkc
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Core Material

What I wanted to have built were some cabinets that matched some cabinets in my laundry room (they were there when I bought the place).

The existing cabinets are pretty simple and look to be pretty well made. They are constructed of 3/4" plywood (including the back panels) with high-pressure laminate on all surfaces. Doors are also plain and use Hafele Aximat hinges. Handles are your typical wire pulls. (Actually, these cabinets sort of remind me of what you see at your doctor's exam room.)

I was thinking of having the new cabinets made with the same core material (plywood) and high-pressure laminate. I"m not stuck on this but the plywood cabinets I have seem rock solid. Any advantages to particleboard or MDF core materials?
 
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