High Pressure Laminates
HPL in short is one of the most popular alternatives to wood veneers because of it's durability and consistency. HPL is made primarily of paper and melamine (as a hardener) pressed together under heat and pressure to ensure the product is durable for daily use.
HPL is first made from large format scanning of wood veneers and printing onto rolls of decor paper. The decor paper is soaked in melamine and dried. The second component is craft paper (paper backing). The craft paper is also soaked in melamine and dried. Both the decor paper and craft paper are overlayed one on top of the other. A press plate that has a pre moulded texture is played onto of the decor paper. All three layers, craft paper, decor paper and press plate are compressed together under high heat and pressure. The heat will melt the melamine to bond the craft and decor paper together. The press plate will impress the texture onto the decor paper. Once done, the HPL is placed into a cold room to cool the material evenly.
HPL are generally a go to product when you want something Hassel free and user friendly, however, from a design perspective it doesn't give a genuine wood look and it does look plastic after a while. HPL is also very competitive in pricing ranging from poor quality ones that are brittle and has poor print quality to those that are as expensive as wood veneers.