Melamine Paper glossary terms :Part 1 DECORATIVE PAPER & DECORATIVE FOILS

Melamine Paper glossary terms :Part 1 DECORATIVE PAPER & DECORATIVE FOILS

Decorative Foils

Decorative foils are an intermediate-range paperbased overlay and are also called impregnated papers. They are generally pre-impregnated with a blend of melamine, acrylic and urea resins during the paper-manufacturing process or post-impregnated after the paper is fully cured. Decorative foils weigh between 40 and 200 grams/ m2 untreated. During the impregnation process, the cellulose papers typically gain between 20 and 50 percent of their base weight. Those between 100 and 200 grams are dubbed specialty papers and are more likely than lighter-weight varieties to be used for exposed decorative surfaces.

The impregnated decorative foils are bonded with an adhesive system to a substrate (ex: MDF or particleboard). Quantity, method and type of impregnation and the type of adhesive system and substrate will have a direct effect on the finished product. These qualities will be demonstrated in cutting and machining performance. Although impregnated papers do not require a topcoat to be considered a foil, most foils receive a finished topcoat for increased durability and scratch-resistance. Due to substrate surface advancements, the use and performance of decorative foils has increased. Widespread use of decorative foils ranges from retail fixtures to closet systems, RTA furniture, profile wrappings and POP displays. Specifiers choose decorative foils for their sharp print fidelity; wear-, stain- and water-resistant qualities; ease of maintenance and durability as well as their costeffectiveness and reliable machining and manufacturing characteristics.

Heat Transfer Foils

Heat transfer foils involve the transfer of a complete coating system from a carrier film to a substrate by means of heat and pressure. When transferred at point of contact between heated roller and substrate, the coating system provides both a decorative effect and a protective layer to provide specified end-use properties.

The foils are gravure printed in reverse sequence on a co-polymer film. That is, the release coat is applied first followed by a protective coating, the decorative pattern, the base coat and finally, the heat-activated adhesive. These foils can be applied vertically or horizontally to flat surfaces, curves, edges and contoured profiles. They are thermoformable, making them ideal for applications with doors or decorative trim, and can be restamped after application to correct defects or damage.


  • Cabinets & Doors
  • Furniture & Cabinet Surfaces
  • Closet Systems
  • Store Fixtures
  • Ready to Assemble Furniture
  • Picture Frames

Decorative Papers

Light basis weight papers, also called decorative papers, range in weight from 23 to 50 grams/m2. The paper may contain acrylic, polyester or other resins added during the paper making process to improve the internal bond strength. The paper is then printed and topcoated with polyurethane, urea, polyester, acrylic or melamine or a combination thereof for increased durability and performance.

These papers can be printed with excellent quality and high-fidelity patterns. Optional chemical, optical, or gloss-matte embossing of these papers enhances the realism of woodgrain and natural patterns for a decorative look. Light basis weight papers have long been common in higher levels of value engineering and are widely used in cabinets, store fixtures, paneling, shelving, closet systems, RTA and home office furniture. Light basis weight papers are usually divided into two categories, standard and industrial. Standard grade papers contain a lower amount of resin in the base paper and offer an economical overlay for use on general surface applications.

Industrial grade papers with their higher resin content, should be specified for applications that demand higher production and processing performance (i.e., improved cutting and machining). The cost effectiveness of this overlay group is further enhanced by the possibility of single sided panels. It is not necessary to laminate both sides of the substrate to achieve a balanced panel. As an additional application, depending on their weight, light basis weight papers can be profile wrapped to produce trim that is an exact match of the flat surface.

Light basis weight papers, decorative papers, will accept a variety of adhesives applied during the laminating process. Additionally, they can be supplied precoated with hotmelt adhesive ready for hot roll laminating without any additional adhesive application to the paper or substrate. The performance and appearance of the finished panel will be affected by the adhesive system used and substrate quality.


  • Cabinetry
  • Shelving Systems
  • Closet Systems
  • Paneling
  • Store Fixtures
  • Home Office Furniture

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