June 2024 / Commercial

A Guide to HPL: High-pressure Laminate

Decorative surface materials have evolved in response to the ever-changing, and demanding design and construction industries. While many products have come and gone, High-Pressure Laminate, also known as HPL, has stood the test of time.


Originally developed and introduced in 1913 as an insulating material for electrical applications, HPL quickly gained traction as a surface solution for a wider variety of applications due to it’s durability, versatility and cost-effectiveness. Within a few years, the surface material was being used in both commercial and residential projects, for kitchen benchtops, tabletops, wall panels, furniture and more.


Fast forward 100 years, and HPL remains one of the most innovative and celebrated decorative surface materials on the market. The core product has remained the same, with very little need to adapt or change the composition of the product itself for it’s general use. However over the last century, the number of colours and finishes available has expanded to align with design trends.

White Lotus House by DC Architecture & Interior Design, featuring Wilsonart Black Traceless HPL.


After gaining further traction and popularity, technical advancements have been made to allow this surface to be used in unique, harsh and demanding commercial environments such as end-of-trip facilities, offices, and various applications in the healthcare industry.


This article explores the complexities of High-Pressure Laminate (HPL), highlighting its benefits, applications, and the reasons it excels in the competitive decorative surfaces market.


Aurora Women’s Health Clinic by KoDesigned featuring Wilsonart AEON HPL in Calcutta Marble. 


What is HPL?

High Pressure Laminate (HPL) is a versatile material widely used in construction and furniture industries due to its durability, resistance to impact, and aesthetic appeal. 

HVG Decorative Building is proud to be the exclusive distributor of Wilsonart HPL in Australia. Wilsonart is a global market leader in the manufacturing and distribution of high-pressure laminates, known for the quality and durability of their laminates, as well as the expansive range of decors and finishes on offer.


The production of HPL involves the following key steps:

  1. Preparation of Raw Materials: To create its durability and strength, multiple layers of paper are stacked together, then impregnated with melamine resin that provides durability and resistance to moisture and heat. Multiple layers of kraft papers create the core material, chosen for its strength and durability. Decorative Paper is the printed paper that gives the laminate its finished appearance and can be coloured and patterned. Lastly, a translucent, protective layer sits on top of the decorative paper to enhance wear and scratch resistance.
  2. Impregnation: Kraft papers are impregnated with phenolic resin, while decorative and overlay papers are impregnated with melamine resin. Both are dried in ovens once passed through their respective resin baths.
  3. Assembly of Layers: Once dried, the layers are carefully stacked in a specific order. Typically, multiple layers of kraft paper are stacked at the bottom, followed by a single layer of decorative paper, topped with an overlay paper.
  4. Pressing: The assembled layers are placed in a multi-layer press and then cured together into a single, solid sheet using high pressure typically 1,000 to 1,400 psi) and heat (around 120-150°C or 250-300°F).
  5. Cooling & Trimming: The laminate sheets are allowed to cool, to solidify resins and stabilise the laminates. The cooled sheets are then trimmed to the desired dimensions.
  6. Quality Control: The finished sheets undergo quality control checks to ensure consistency in colour, pattern, and finish. Mechanical properties like impact resistance, abrasion resistance, and chemical resistance are tested to meet industry standards.
 Ormiston College by Blueprint Architects featuring Wilsonart Frosty White Chemsurf Protector Compact Laminate.


HPL is a versatile and cost-effective material with benefits including:

  • Durability: HPL is highly resistant to scratches, impacts and abrasions.
  • Heat resistant: can withstand high temperatures without warping or melting making it suitable for benchtops and surfaces exposed to heat.
  • Aesthetic versatility: HPL is available in an extensive range of colours, textures and patterns.
  • Realistic finishes and decors: it can mimic the look and feel of natural materials such as wood, stones and metals, providing the aesthetic look of natural materials at a lower cost.
  • Stain resistance: The non-porous surface of HPL makes it resistant to stains and easy to clean.
  • Affordability and long lifespan: compared to natural materials, HPL is more affordable while still providing a similar aesthetic. It’s durability and resistance to wear translates to a longer lifespan.
  • Waterproof surface: The surface layer of HPL is impervious to water, making it an excellent choice for areas prone to moisture, such as kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Post formability: HPL can be post-formed to create curves and very tight radiuses giving a modern square edge for kitchen, bathroom and laundry benchtops and vanities.
Hawthorn House by Nat Design Interiors featuring Wilsonart Anthracite HPL Traceless.


Wilsonart HPL Benchtop and Paneling


HVG Decorative Building is the proud exclusive distributor of Wilsonart HPL in Australia. With a diverse selection of contemporary décors and finishes, these panels are designed to meet current design trends. Matching edging and alignment to the Wilsonart LPM (Low-Pressure Melamine) range ensures seamless coordination, allowing you to tell a cohesive story with your design projects.


Wilsonart HPL’s durability and resistance is backed by a ‘best-in-market’ 15 Year Warranty.



The Wilsonart range


Our selection of Wilsonart High-pressure Laminate has been carefully curated to offer timeless designs, with extensive range of decors that complement a variety of palettes.

The range is categorised into three categories: Woodgrains, Concretes & Stone, Neutrals and Colour.


Specialty Surfaces

Our specialty laminates offer surface options uniquely suited to the challenges of performance interiors from healthcare projects to schools, retail and hospitality, these surfaces have you covered.

The Traceless Collection features a unique fingerprint-free technology that allows surfaces to be touched without leaving any fingerprints, with a beautiful light-absorbing matt finish and smooth, silky texture.

The AEON range is a step up in design and performance, outperforming traditional laminates in both wear and scuff resistance.

Chemsurf HPL and Protector Laminate is designed for environments where chemicals and harsh cleaners are used, without scarifying style.


Be inspired

Beyond the features and benefits of this material, Wilsonart HPL’s beauty needs to be seen to be believed. The range has been designed to align with the Wilsonart LPM range, for a seamless finish. Explore beautiful projects that feature a range of Wilsonart HPL decors and be inspired.


Working on an upcoming project? Order free samples delivered straight to your door.

85 Stuart St, designed by Interspec Custom Joinery featuring Wilsonart Black Traceless HPL
Design: Interspec Custom Joinery
Build: Big Builder Constructions
Photography: Daniel Cook
Hawhtorn house by Nat Design Interiors, featuring Wilsonart Anthracite Traceless HPL
Design: Nat Design Interiors
Build: Hills and City Construction 
Styling: Presenting Beautiful Homes
Photography: Duoco Media
Prospect House by Carrera Kitchens, featuring Wilsonart Black Traceless HPL 
Architecture: Think Architects
Joinery: Carrera Kitchens Adelaide
Build: Owner Builder
West Beach SA by Fresh Kitchen Solutions, featuring Wilsonart Arctic White Traceless HPL 
Design: Fresh Kitchen Solutions
Build: Azcon Homes
White Lotus House by DC Architecture & Interior Design, featuring Wilsonart Black Traceless HPL 
Architecture & Interior Design: DC Architecture & Interior Design.
Joinery: Platinum Joinery
Photography: The Fotobase Group
Rhodes House by Broadfeather Design, featuring Wilsonart Black Traceless HPL 
Interior Design: Broadfeather Design
Ormiston College by Blueprint Architects, featuring Wilsonart Frosty White Chemsurf Protector Compact Laminate
Builder: Rohrig Group
Architect: Blueprint Architects
Joiner: Corona Cabinets
Photography: Scott Burrows Photography
Aurora Womens Health Clinic by KoDesigned, featuring Wilsonart Black Calcutta Marble AEON HPL 
Interior Design: KoDesigned
Joinery: Ulex Construction
Interested in HPL for your next project? Contact us to check availability, pricing and to learn more

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