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What are Laminates: History, Types of Laminates, Maintenance, and Finish

Whether you wish to give a new look to your old furniture, or want to protect it from casual scratches, laminating it could be a good solution.

But then arise confusions and misconceptions about laminates.

Whether it’ll pass the tests of time, or will it look good, or do laminates make furniture look fake?

Well, a whole bunch of concerns may crop up. Through this blog, we intend to clear such confusions and discuss laminates in brief. So, buckle up and let’s get started.

Who invented laminates

As innovation took over the furniture industry, the need for laminates started cropping up. 

Speaking of the initial days, the former laminate material was “phenolic.” The chemical used to protect furniture and give it a caramel brown finish.

However, as improvements followed, in 1938 a new kind of laminates using new resin, melamin and coloured paper gained popularity.

For various reasons such as the ongoing world war and its led shortage of resources, laminates could not become commercially available until late 1940s. But, moving further, laminates became more common and could now be seen in commercial settings, dinner setups, bars and restaurants.

Moving further, companies such as Skylark sold laminates as a modern marvel.

It was bright and cheerful, impervious to stains, easy to clean, and never required polishing, and hence saw little to no competition.

Comparing the present day laminates to their former counterparts, we can spot some differences.

In the 1950s, laminates had a higher percentage of polymer resin. As time passed, this percentage dropped, depending on the grade of laminate.

Similarly, mid-century laminates also had a different feel than today’s laminates. They used to be more oily and slippery. One of the factors contributing to this nature was the finishing technique used for them.


Different types of laminates and different finishes of laminates

Laminates are not of one kind. The following list shares some of the most popular types of laminates that you can use for your furniture.

1. Matte-finish laminates

Matte-finish laminates give off a unique finish to the surface.

Mostly, these laminates are scratch and dust resistant and among the most preferred laminate variants for kitchen and carpentry.

Choosing this type of laminate for your kitchen platforms and counters can help prevent unnecessary scratches and other signs of damage. This will also give a classy look.


2. Glossy laminates

This is one of the most commonly used laminate finish types

Using glossy laminates gives furniture items a mirror-like reflective finish. Yes, this is in complete contrast with the finish offered by matte-finish laminates.

In most of the cases, glossy laminates can be used for kitchen cabinets, providing a highly polished touch.

Depending on your preference and taste, you can choose from a wide range of colour options. As glossy laminates have a smooth surface, they are easier to clean.


3. Textured laminates

Textured laminates offer a range of natural surface designs.

For example, leather, wood, stone, and several other surface designs can be found. If you are looking for an attractive laminate option for your kitchen, this could be a safe option.

Opting for a wooden-textured laminate will provide your kitchen with a timeless texture and create an excellent contrast with the fittings and materials used in the kitchen. Textured laminates can add more elegance and luxury to your kitchen and are also highly durable.

However, it’s also important to maintain these carefully as they may start absorbing oil and dust if not cleaned regularly.


4. Metallic laminates

Metallic laminates can help give your kitchen a modern, sleek look.

They work well in both modern and contemporary homes. With a wide array of options ranging from brushed steel, to stainless steel, gold, silver, and copper tones, metallic laminates will spoil you with choices.

Although metallic laminates may come off as costly, they can also add a touch of luxury and sophistication to your kitchen.

It’s advisable to handle the edges of these laminates with care, as they can be sharp, especially during installation.


However, metallic laminates are fire-resistant. Hence, they are an ideal choice for kitchen use.

5. Decorative laminates

Decorative laminates are usually composed of high-quality paper and resin materials.

As a result, they have high resistance to scuffs and stains, and are available in numerous attractive patterns, textures and finishes.

Commonly, these laminates are used in kitchen cabinets, countertops, doors and similar other surfaces.

Due to the material used, decorative laminates are usually durable and reasonably priced. This makes them a practical and reliable choice.


Maintenance of laminates

To keep the shine and finish of your laminates intact, it’s crucial to maintain them correctly. Here are a few tips that can help you keep your laminates new for a longer period of time.

  1. Use a clean microfiber cloth to clean


Most of the laminates are easy to clean, just with the right trick.

For example, using a rough cloth may damage the laminate and inflict scratches onto it. On the other hand, gentle rubs with a microfiber cloth will help clean it.

You can also use a mild dishwashing liquid to ease the process of cleaning.

  1. Say no to intensive cleaning agents such as scrubbing chemicals


One may think that a scrubbing liquid and sponge may make it easy to clean the laminate surface. The reality hits contrast though.

A scrub may be too harsh for usage on a laminated surface. 

To keep your laminates safe from damage, and clean, avoid using harsh cloths and chemicals.

Instead, if a microfiber cloth isn’t available, consider using a damp cloth and get it wet under a running tap before using it to clean. Mild rubs will work.


Finding the right type of laminate finish can be challenging for various reasons. There’s a number of factors to consider. From design to budget, and the ease of maintenance, everything matters.

In this blog, we discussed laminates in detail, also answering questions such as “what is laminate made of,” “what are the different types of laminates,” and how can you maintain the finish of laminates in your home or office.

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