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The humble Laminate Table Top is one of the hardest-working items in our range of contract quality commercial furniture.
Yet, it wasn’t always the case. When Laminate Table Tops were first introduced – more than 80 years ago – they were not as reliable and good value as traditional wooden table tops. Commercial venues weren’t impressed with table tops that looked shabby or cracked after a little use.
Fortunately, both laminates materials and manufacturing technology have evolved since then. Warner Contract Furniture offer a huge choice laminate table tops with different sizes, shapes, design, and thicknesses. On top of that, we also offer a wide range of bespoke options such as colours & finishes for edge profiles.
Our laminate table tops are hard-wearing, easy to keep clean, heat and scratch-resistant. It’s hardly surprising, then, that laminate table tops are the number one choice for many cafes, restaurants, pubs and canteens.
We thought it was high time to explore what makes laminates such a good material for table tops.
Laminate – A brief history
Let’s start at the beginning; laminate is defined as “any material that is made by sticking several layers of the same material together.”
The history of laminates starts more than 100 years ago with the invention of Formica in 1912. Formica was originally developed as a substitute for the mineral mica in electrical insulation products – hence the name: for mica.
At that time, Formica comprised layers a woven fabric coated with a Bakelite resin. Later, phenolic and melamine thermosetting resins were used to make a new type of plastic laminate using heat and pressure.
Such laminates were not just extremely durable but also could be made with a myriad of decorative colours and finishes. Today, our main laminate suppliers for table tops include Egger, Formica and Polyrey. These top suppliers create high pressure laminate (HPL) in a great range of colours, finishes and decorative effects.
You can also choose from textures such as wood grain, concrete, granite, ceramic and textile. Another important laminate supplier – Woodlam – produces high quality real wood laminates.
How HPL Laminate is Made
HPL is produced by soaking many layers of absorbent kraft paper with thermosetting resin. A layer of printed décor paper is then placed on top of the stack of kraft paper and a cellulose overlay is placed on top.
This ‘sandwich’ of layers is then fused together under heat and pressure (more than 1,000 PSI). Heat transforms the resin into plastic which results in the paper sheets being converted into one rigid laminated sheet. The overlay turns into a durable, transparent finish through which the colour or decorative layer is seen.
After this, the HPL is glued to a composite panel, usually particleboard or medium density fibreboard (MDF). The final product is incredibly hard wearing. In particular, HPL has a high resistance to chemicals, abrasion, moisture and fire. This makes HPL the perfect choice for use in commercial venues as table and counter tops.
The Warner Range of Laminate Table Tops
Apart from being incredibly hard-wearing, attractive and easy to keep clean, laminate table tops come in a vast array of colours and finishes. Which is great as you have such a variety to choose from and table tops can definitely contribute to your overall interior design.
However, too much choice can be off-putting. This is where Warner Contract Furniture comes in. Whether you’re about to open a new cafe, restaurant or bistro, or planning to refurbish an existing venue, we can help you navigate your way through our huge range of contract quality table tops.
Warner has a good range of readily-available laminate table tops in stock in standard colours and sizes. Any of these can be used together with our range of table bases. More detailed information on our range can be found in our previous blog post Commercial Table Tops Explained.
We are are happy to combine our knowledge of our stock with our understanding of what commercial venues need. So we can produce bespoke sizes and finishes when required.
For instance, the industry standard thickness for a laminate top is 25mm or 1 inch. But we can manufacture bespoke orders with 40mm and 50mm thicknesses.
Getting the Warner’s Edge
The core of a laminate table top is a layer of MDF which has a decorative laminate bonded on its upper surface. To ensure the top stays flat, a balancing laminate in white, grey or black is typically bonded to the underside. The MDF core is then essentially cut to size and then edged using a process called edgebanding to produce a durable and decorative finish.
Some manufacturers self-edge their table tops, using the same material for the top and sides. However, this is not an ideal option as self-edges can peel and chip quite easily.
At Warner Contract Furniture, we edge our laminate table tops differently, using only matching ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) edges, even beneath metal finishes. This is an incredibly tough, shock-absorbing plastic material. Importantly, it withstands the knocks and bumps of a busy commercial eatery without chipping and peeling.
Choice of Edging Materials
Different commercial venues require different table top edging materials and we aim to accommodate these variations. Our specialist edgings include:
Metal – We offer a range of different metal-effect edgings for table tops including gold, copper, silver and rose gold. A hotel in Ireland recently asked for 26 bespoke laminate table tops with a Calacatta marble decorative finish. We then organised for the table tops to receive gold effect edging.
Rubber – Rubber table top edging is popular in student accommodation as well as restaurants which use table cloths. For instance, We have supplied rubber-edged table tops to the London department store Harvey Nichols for use in their restaurants.
Ply – Our ply edging is actually made from hard-wearing ABS.
So, we hope this blog has given you a deeper appreciation of laminate table tops. We think they are the unsung heroes of the contract furniture world. They’re hard working, easy to clean and, despite their good looks, are extremely tough. Which makes them the first choice for a busy commercial venue.
How We Can Help
Our sales team has the know-how to help you find the best contract furnishing solution for your bar, cafe, restaurant, hotel or activity centre.
We are continually adding new products to our range but if you can’t find what you’re looking for let us know. Our commercial furniture contacts and in-house team relish a challenge and we are happy to provide bespoke solutions.
Standard delivery time is just 3-5 working days as we source the majority of our stock within the UK. We also offer an express service which delivers in just 24 hours.
Call us on 0161 408 2390 or email our sales department firstname.lastname@example.org to get a quote.
View our bespoke laminate finish options.