Quality Control with Gloss Laminates

It's hard to get laminate flat enough that imperfections won't show, when the surface is glossy. February 27, 2015

Does anyone have any tips for laminating with gloss laminates? I always get a rippled affect when using contact glue even though the surface feels flat. When you look at it in different light it doesn't look flat. Any tips are appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor G:
The glue these days is harder to use than before and telegraphs inconsistencies in the glue line more than before. With contact you have your gun tuned to spray perfect or better, aAnd not too heavy. My solution is to sub it out to a laminator. Even then you will have trouble. You have to find one that is willing to run their hand over the panel to "see" with their hands and find and bumps and lift the laminate sheet up and remove the debris. If you are doing good two sided panels it is not possible. In that case you have to inspect every sheet as you receive it.

From contributor F:
Sub it to a laminator, have them use hard glue.

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From contributor Y:
When it comes to gloss anything - laminate, lacquer, paint and solid surface I make sure the owner or contractor understands that gloss shows everything. I can usually convince them on a satin finish.

From Contributor W:
We will not do gloss finishes, and if the client is adamant then no warranty and payment upfront. They will change their mind after that.

From contributor F:
Horizontal grade laminate (the thick stuff) is thicker and does not telegraph as much or at all. Using contact glue and gloss laminate using vertical grade (the thin stuff) is an invitation to disaster.

From contributor F:
Also use an MDF core and AWS High Pressure Decorative Laminates (HPDL)

1. Virtually any high pressure decorative laminate color and texture can be used in the manufacture of architectural panels and doors with the following cautions.

2. High gloss HPDL will highlight minor core and surface imperfections, often unacceptably. So reduce expectations at time of bid.

From contributor L:
Reducing expectations is a good idea but the decorator never hears it! We usually sub it out to a shop that uses an automated laminating line. A panel cleaner, roll coater and press. Still not perfect. If you are doing it in house, there are glues that are much worse than others. The pressurized container systems put out a serious bumpy web. The water borne glues are thinner and spray more like lacquer so if carefully applied will look better, still not perfect. We just completed a commercial job where the decorator insisted on gloss counter tops! All the warnings we could give, in writing, did no good. She just loved the look. Currently doing an office in white gloss, different decorator, same set of warnings. It is the allure of the first day "look," not what it will look like in a month.

From contributor Z:
We only show acrylic if client wants high gloss. The sheets are much thicker and glue down great. Small scratches can be polished out.

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