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Beyond the Surface: The Sustainability and Durability of TFL and HPL Materials

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

If you've been shopping for kitchen materials, you've probably come across laminate finishes. In the past, these were often considered lower-budget options and had a bad reputation for their low moisture resistance. This was a major concern for many consumers, as moisture can cause these materials to swell, warp, or even delaminate. However, with advances in technology, TFL and HPL have improved significantly. Manufacturers have developed new formulations and processes that make these materials more moisture-resistant and durable overall.

When it comes to choosing materials for interior design or furniture, sustainability is becoming an increasingly important factor for many consumers. TFL (Thermally Fused Laminate) and HPL (High-Pressure Laminate) are two types of surface materials that are often praised for their sustainability. But are these materials really as eco-friendly as they seem? Let's take a closer look.

Kitchen with TFL finish
"Manufacturers have developed new formulations and processes that make these materials are more resistant to moisture and more durable overall."

TFL and HPL are both composite materials made by fusing several layers of paper or fabric together with resin under heat and pressure. The resulting material is then applied to a substrate, such as particleboard or MDF, to create a decorative surface. TFL and HPL offer a wide range of colors, patterns, and textures, making them a popular choice for furniture, cabinetry, and interior design.

Both TFL and HPL are considered relatively sustainable materials compared to other surface materials like solid wood or stone. Let's explore why.

1. Resource efficiency and Low-VOC emissions

One of the main reasons why TFL and HPL are considered sustainable is their resource efficiency. These materials are often made from recycled paper or fabric scraps, which would otherwise go to waste. By using these scraps, manufacturers can reduce waste and conserve resources. Additionally, the adhesives used to bond the layers together are often low-VOC (volatile organic compound), which means they emit fewer harmful chemicals into the air.

2. Durability

Another factor contributing to TFL and HPL's sustainability is their durability. These materials are highly resistant to scratches, stains, and other types of wear and tear, which means they can last for many years without needing to be replaced. This not only reduces waste but also saves money in the long run.

Kitchen with TFL Finish
"Manufacturers can reduce waste and conserve resources, by using recycled paper and fabric scraps."

3. Recyclability

TFL and HPL are also recyclable at the end of their useful life. However, the recycling process can be complex and costly, which means that not all products may be recycled. Nevertheless, the fact that TFL and HPL can be recycled is a positive step towards reducing waste and promoting sustainability

Of course, there are some potential downsides to using TFL and HPL. For example, the manufacturing process of these materials requires energy and resources, and some manufacturers may use unsustainable materials or practices. However, overall, TFL and HPL are considered to be relatively sustainable materials compared to other surface materials like solid wood or stone.

These materials are often our first choice for their practicality in the kitchen environment. One of our favourite brands is UNIBOARD. If you want to know more about their environmental policy, you can visit their page here. UNIBOARD offers a wide range of wood texture finishes and solid colors even in our favourite Ultra matte finish.

Kitchen with TFL finish

In conclusion, TFL and HPL are eco-friendly options for interior design and furniture. Their resource efficiency, low VOC emissions, durability, and recyclability make them a popular choice for those who prioritize sustainability. However, it's important to choose products from reputable companies that prioritize sustainability and to do research to ensure that the specific materials and manufacturing processes used are as eco-friendly as possible. We can all contribute to a more sustainable future by making informed choices.




Jessica Savarese

Founder & CEO

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