High vs. Low-Pressure Decorative Laminate Doors

Many architects and builders favor laminate commercial doors for their versatility and ease of care. Laminate doors are covered in a composite material affixed to the core, providing a layer of protection that painted or stained doors lack. Wood doors can be made with either high- pressure decorative laminate (HDPL) or low pressure laminate (LPDL), which share many characteristics in common but also exhibit some key differences. Learning about HPDL vs. LPDL can help you choose the right type of laminate door for your next project.

What HPDL and LPDL Doors Have in Common

Laminate-covered wood doors resist scratching, but they fare best when they’re factory finished. Laminating commercial doors in the field can produce inconsistent results, more prone to chipping and peeling. The laminate itself is highly customizable, since it can be made in a wide range of colors and can even be printed with unique designs and logos. This versatility allows you to bring a designer touch to any opening, matching client brand standards or surrounding décor and furniture.

Both types of laminate are fire retardant and antibacterial. They work well in projects where cleanliness is paramount, such as education and healthcare projects.

So, what is the difference between high and low pressure laminates? It comes down to the manufacturing process.

Characteristics of High-Pressure Laminate Doors

montana walnut high pressure laminate door

To make high pressure laminate doors, multiple layers of kraft paper are saturated with resin. A layer of printed décor paper is placed on top of the kraft paper, with a layer of resin on top of that. This layer is where any color or design can be printed. The core of the HPDL door might be made of particle board, composite, or mineral. It may also be fire rated or STC rated.

Then, to attach the laminate to the substrate, a machine exerts 70 to 100 bars of pressure, at a temperature of 280 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, sometimes referred to as hot press. Alternatively, laminating can be done at room temperature, referred to as cold press. With either technique, the result is a strong bond and one of the most durable decorative surface materials.In addition to commercial doors, such as the Aspiro Choice Laminate, high pressure laminates are often used for vanities, countertops, and tables, as they hold up well for both vertical and horizontal surfaces. If you are seeking to match interior doors to other features in a hotel room, for example, you should be able to do so.

Characteristics of Low-Pressure Laminate Doors

Manufacturing low pressure laminate doors uses lower pressure and higher temperatures. The laminate is pressed to the cores using heat presses, with or without an adhesive, to ensure a consistent bond. While still highly customizable, the LPL technique results in less durability than HPL. The process is less intensive, however, making for faster turn-around and lower cost.

Low pressure laminate wood doors are ideal for lower traffic areas and more budget conscious projects. They can be made to match HPL doors so that the two types complement each other when used in the same project.

Masonite Architectural Low-Pressure Decorative Laminate (LPDL)

oak low pressure laminate door

Masonite Architectural has introduced a new line of low pressure decorative laminate (LPDL) doors. This LPDL product line enables an architect to maintain the design intent of a building space while maximizing the project budget.

Masonite Architectural LPDL doors are available in the Cendura™ series with various finish options, including ten different wood-look options, to fulfill your specific project needs.

LPDL doors are constructed with a quality face material thermally fused to the core material, creating a strong monolithic unit that will not separate. Due to their style, composition and short lead-time, LPDL doors are ideal for short-tenant offices, satellite medical clinics and midscale hotels. Consider them for low-traffic areas with minimum performance requirements such as closets, private bathrooms, low-usage offices, and adjoining room openings.

Since low and high pressure laminate doors often appear within the same space, you can easily coordinate the two types to match. LPDL doors also seamlessly coordinate with other decorative laminate surfaces like desks, paneling and furniture.