Laminate products with antimicrobial properties, often used in food service and healthcare applications, are seeing an uptick in demand including in residential settings, as the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 raises concerns about germs and their ability to linger on surfaces.
High-pressure laminates by nature are designed to be durable and easy, making them less likely to support microbial growth, but some companies offer products treated with silver as additional support.
Laminates in general are extremely easy to treat, according to Microban, an antimicrobial solutions company. On its website, the company notes an antimicrobial additive can be seamlessly introduced to the decorative overlay during the final resin bath of the impregnation process.
A sample of companies that offer decorative laminates with antimicrobial properties include the following:
Richelieu Hardware offers antimicrobial decorative panels and hardware. It carries the Finsa line of TFL panels, which has embedded silver ion paper which is a natural germ killer. Its Harmony line of acrylic panels comes in super matte finishes with three colors with anti-bacterial properties. And, it has a line of brushed nickel handles with antimicrobial copper pulls and knobs.
JB Cutting has a line of 3DL (thermofoil) products with antimicrobial properties and seamless edges, which are easy to clean with cleansers.
Wilsonart HD surfaces combine designs and textures with its Antimicrobial Protection and Enhanced Scratch and Scuff-Resistant AEON Technology to produce a protective and durable laminate for countertops and work surfaces. Wilsonart said its enhanced antimicrobial protection is built directly into the laminate to protect the surface against damaging microbes such as mold, mildew, and bacteria.
Olon offers NEXGEN laminates, which use TFL and HPL decor paper saturated with specialty resins that allow the laminate to be flexible while maintaining color, scratch resistance, and heat and wear resistance, and which have antimicrobial properties.
Formica, in partnership with BioCote, offers Formica Protec+, a high performance laminate product with an additional layer of hygienic protection to any environment through the use of antimicrobial properties of silver (Ag+). Available in 4-foot by 8-foot sizes, the collection is available in 23 solid color decors and 12 woodgrain decors in the matte finish.
NKBA compiles list of engineered surface trends
The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) has compiled a list of what it considers the top four engineered surface trends.
Quartz: NKBA called quartz “a timeless option that can be molded to enhance any design, and it continues to be favored.”
Thin slabs: Factors such as tariffs and shifting trends led to the uptick in utilizing thinner slabs, and many companies introduced their own solutions, the association said, offering more modern and sleek looks.
Multifunctional applications: Not just for countertops, solid surfaces are being seen in a number applications from floor to ceiling. Uses include backsplashes, shower walls, flooring and other unique cabinet and furniture applications.
Durability: Besides looking beautiful, consumers want durability in surfaces for their homes, NKBA said. And they also want easy maintenance.
2020 Surface Design Show
The Surface Design Show, held earlier this year in London, also noted the following surfaces trends on display in its 2020 report:
• Fine lines: graphic details are captured in precision-crafted multiple lines - fine engraving or mold forming; gilded inlays or prints; and laser etching.
• Perspective play: playful use of color and line composition – clever use of color; pattern repeats of cut geometric shapes; and unique tile shapes.
• Super nature: nature is to nurture in all its forms; facilitating the outside inside remains key – biophilic design; celebrating natural materials and textures; and preserved moss.
• Painterly mark making: textural mark making provides expressive compositional imagery – printed wash effects; stippled brush marks; and hand applied.
• Bubbles: bubble forms either protrude from or are encapsulated in the surface – ceramic forms; sound absorbing; and encapsulated in glass.
• Immersive blue: tonal shades of blue add depth and intrigue to surfaces – reflective undulating surfaces; iridescent sheen; textured layering; and microscopic detail.
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