Melamine or laminate:
What's the difference?

Kitchen composed of column units and a central kitchen island

Do you want to redo your kitchen but are unsure about the choice of finishes? Whether melamine or laminate, there are endless possibilities for giving your interior a unique character.

In reality, both options have similar advantages and differ in two main respects: the manufacturing process and the durability of the materials.

Santos kitchens are available in a wide range of finishes and looks, whether laminate or melamine. Each material has of course been tested and verified by our kitchen project experts in order to guarantee your kitchen’s resistance to the hazards of everyday life.

Melamine: affordable kitchen finishes for all tastes

Samples of melamine fronts for kitchen units

A melamine panel consists of chipboard covered with a sheet of kraft décor paper. It is an ideal material for finishing the fronts, sides and decorative panels of the kitchen because it is very easy to clean and, above all, resistant to knocks and scratches.

We have a wide range of melamine panels, with wood effect finishes or plain colours. The latter option is also available in gloss, satin and matt versions. For all these reasons, and especially because melamine is so versatile, it is the preferred finishing solution for our customers.

Laminate: attention to detail and durability

Samples of laminate kitchen unit fronts

As mentioned earlier, the main difference between melamine and laminate is the manufacturing process.

A technical aside for the more curious: laminate is obtained by covering a composite panel with several layers of Kraft paper impregnated with phenol-formaldehyde resin.
The top layer, known as the "surface" layer, is covered with an overlay (a transparent paper layer impregnated with melamine-formaldehyde resin), and all these components are hot-pressed to obtain a laminated unit. This makes it more complex and expensive to manufacture than melamine.

The end result is a material that offers greater resistance to the passage of time, knocks, scratches and moisture, making it a great choice, particularly for kitchen worktops. The assurance of a kitchen that will withstand everyday family life.

Laminate has evolved enormously over the last few decades. In the early 90's, finishes were mainly smooth and plain with a very limited choice of colours, but today things have changed. We offer a wide selection of laminate panels in a variety of finishes, including wood, stone, solid colour, matt and anti-stain.

Laminate: the case of HPL laminate

HPL laminate kitchen drawer
HPL laminate kitchen drawer

HPL laminates are the result of the application of nanotechnology and hard acrylic resins to laminates. The process is carried out at high pressure and high temperature, whereas conventional CPL laminate is laminated at low pressure.

This HPL laminate technique offers a thin surface covering with matt, anti-stain finishes, which are particularly pleasant to the touch and even more durable.

HPL laminate is suitable for both horizontal surfaces (such as kitchen worktops) and vertical surfaces (doors, wall panels, etc.), making it possible to create exceptional monochromatic ensembles.

Laminate with stone or wood-effect finishes

Laminate kitchen units with stone finish
Kitchen wall panel in Ceppo di Gré laminate

Among the many variations of wood laminate available in the Santos collections, our customers particularly appreciate the “coffee oak” and “rustic oak” finishes. These two finishes reproduce every detail of natural wood, including its irregularities and imperfections, making the difference between the laminate and its natural counterpart imperceptible to the eye and to the touch.

The same applies to marble finishes, such as Ceppo di Gré, or grey marble, which reproduce the characteristics of the original materials.

Cleaning and maintenance tips for laminate surfaces

Kitchen worktop with washing area and sink

The maintenance of Santos laminated or laminate surfaces is similar to that of any other kitchen finish. Although these materials are highly resistant to wear and tear, heat and humidity, it is recommended to avoid the use of metal sponges or abrasive detergents, as well as prolonged contact with liquids, steam or hot products, in order not to damage them.

For optimum cleaning, simply use a cloth moistened with water, or soapy water if the impurities persist. Once the surfaces have been cleaned, simply dry them with a cotton or cellulose cloth. The same recommendations apply to laminate. In this case, it is also recommended not to cut your food directly on the kitchen worktop and not to place hot containers in direct contact with the work surfaces. It is also strongly recommended that you avoid direct contact with water on the edges of the worktop. Any liquid present should be sponged off and dried to prevent damage to the laminated work surface.

Of course, our team is available to help you choose the materials best suited to your needs, so that together we can create the kitchen project of your dreams.