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Direct Pressure Laminate vs. High Pressure Laminate

By Crystal Hosking, Hosking Hardwood Flooring © 2013, Copyright protected. All Rights Reserved

If you've been browsing through laminate flooring selections, trying to find the perfect product for your project, you may have bumped into the terms "Direct Pressure Laminate (DPL)" and/or "High Pressure Laminate (HPL)." There are major difference between these two types of laminate flooring and your specific situational use could possibly dictate which kind would be most beneficial to you.

Direct Pressure Laminate (DPL)

Direct Pressure Laminate flooring is most prevalent in the consumer laminate flooring market. DPL is created by using anywhere from 300 to 500 pounds per square inch (PSI). There are typically four separate layers which are all pressed together at the same time during production: the wear layer, the decorative sheet, the high density fiberboard and then the balancing layer on the bottom. (For more on the specific construction of laminate floors: All About Laminate Flooring). DPL laminate floors are typically priced lower on the spectrum and are available in more colors and styles. In general, laminate floors constructed with DPL mostly land within an AC1 to AC4 Rating.

High Pressure Laminate (HPL)

High Pressure Laminate is constructed a bit differently than DPL, creating a tougher laminate floor and offering maximum durability. HPL is created with the same materials as DPL but with the use of additional kraft paper sheets treated with a phenolic resin, which makes the kraft paper more stiff during the manufacturing process. Additionally, 1300+ PSI is used to fuse the layers together, which is significantly more pressure than used in the DPL manufacturing process. HPL is fused together using a combination of heat and pressure and the layers of HPL are put together in multiple stages rather than all at once like the DPL. You can see the difference the treated kraft paper sheets make in the stiffness and durability of HPL in the pictures below:

The increased durability of a HPL offers more impact resistance, dent resistance, moisture resistance, heat resistance, wear resistance and edge chipping resistance during installation. The harder sheets of kraft paper also offer a more balanced laminate construction overall. In general, HPL laminate constructions lead to a thicker overall floor, which offers better sound reduction properties than with a thinner DPL laminate floor. In most cases, laminate flooring created with HPL will receive an AC5 Rating and are suitable for applications in heavy commercial settings.

You can find HPL laminate flooring from Alloc Laminate in the Commercial Collection and the Original Collection.

Appearance Benefits

While HPL boasts multiple durability benefits, there are a multitude of benefits gained with the use of a DPL laminate floor. The more flexible construction of a DPL laminate floor offers more design options including more realistic textures and visuals. Additionally, HPL laminate flooring typically has a rougher surface than DPL, creating a more abrasive floor, which can be helpful in a heavy commercial setting for deterring wear but can be detrimental in household settings.

Most laminate flooring options in the marketplace right now are created with DPL. This is because DPL laminates are cost effective and offer the realistic look that consumers are interested in. Ultimately, DPL laminate flooring options rating an AC3 or an AC4 are perfectly suitable for busy households and shouldn't be overshadowed by their HPL counterparts for residential use, while HPL laminate floors are highly recommended for heavily trafficked commercial settings.

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Overall Rating: 4.7 stars - 30 reviews

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Date: October 18, 2017
Page Rating: (5.0/5)
Comments:
very informative
By:
Date: October 6, 2017
Page Rating: (4.5/5)
Comments:
Helpful
By:
Date: January 10, 2017
Page Rating: (5.0/5)
Comments:
very informative and easy to understand
By:
Date: January 4, 2017
Page Rating: (5.0/5)
Comments:
Looking for laminate flooring and this article was very helpful. By reading this I have determined that the AC4 flooring I have been looking at should work fine for our home.
By:
Date: December 21, 2016
Page Rating: (5.0/5)
Comments:
Excellent article
By:
Date: October 11, 2016
Page Rating: (5.0/5)
Comments:
Very helpful in making the best decision for my new home.
By:
Date: July 27, 2016
Page Rating: (3.0/5)
Comments:
I wrote 3 because which is high and which is low bucked flooring because of high humidity one article said use HPL for high humidity and this one said HPL detrimental in household settings? A third grader can add numbers below
By:
Date: July 24, 2016
Page Rating: (5.0/5)
Comments:
You dont say which is highest 1 or 5. I gave it a 5 as highest.
By:
Date: July 20, 2016
Page Rating: (5.0/5)
Comments:
This is an extremely helpful article.
By:
Date: June 18, 2016
Page Rating: (5.0/5)
Comments:
E cellent Info but missing which one is more Probe to absorbing moisture and then warping

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