Melamine vs wood
What Is Melamine Wood?
Melamine wood is a combination of compressed wood particles and resin at the core. The core is then encased in a resin and paper finish that is water resistant and durable. As the outer layer is a covering it comes in a plethora of colors and designs. This makes it an incredibly popular option for cabinetry in bathrooms and kitchens worldwide.
One of the major benefits of Melamine is its durability. Melamine is resistant to the normal conditions common in kitchens such as heat, moisture, and stains. It is easy to clean due to the tough outer coating that encases the compressed wood core. The combination of the durable coating and quality core make the material great for use in cabinetry and even cabinet drawers.
Melamine’s Interior Core
The compressed core comes in 2 different grades & types:
Regular: This core is not at all resistant to moisture. All sides and edges must be sealed completely, relying solely on this seal to keep its integrity and strength. Moisture Resistant: This core is infused with copper sulphate, which gives it a green color. This core is resistant to moisture and will not lose its integrity if exposed to water.
Particle Core: This is the most popular and most readily used core, it is made up if wood particles that are ground up and pressed back together with a bonding agent. This type of core is strong and very consistent and has median screw holding properties.
Plywood Core: This type of core is popular in Europe yet not found often in North and South America. It is essentially a sheet of plywood that has had a melamine face added to both sides. The benefits of this type of melamine are its excellent screw holding qualities and the weight of the material. It is ½ the weight of the equal amount of particle core melamine. Pan Pacific Interiors is the only company in Panama using plywood core melamine which we exclusively import.
Melamine is also popular as it comes in virtually any color imaginable. The outer coating is where the color or design is applied as the melamine coating is fabricated. Just about any design or color is possible with melamine including faux wood grain and wood tones.
The cost to build or remodel cabinetry is frequently a concern for homeowners. Unless you’ve struck it rich, you’re likely wanting the best products at the lowest prices. Melamine offers homeowners a lower cost option that’s durable and visually attractive. This means that you’re not going to have to pay the extra money for cabinet drawers or cabinetry made in solid wood styles.
Today’s modern minimalist kitchens many times are filled with clean lines and simple color schemes. While traditional homes many times look best with the warmth of real wood, modern kitchens are outfitted with the clean look of Melamine. Melamine delivers a simple and uniformed finish instead of having color or grain variations throughout a section of wood.
Why not solid wood?
Solid Wood is beautiful. No doubt about it. In a country that has such a high humidity level such as Panama it may not be the best choice, especially when finding completely dry wood is so difficult.
- Wood expands as humidity increases and shrinks as humidity decreases.
- Unfinished (exposed) wood will exhibit the most dramatic changes.
- Even finished wood will change with long term changes in humidity.
- Solid wood will dimensionally change more across grain than with the grain.
- As wood expands (swells) and contracts with changes in humidity, the finish at joints will crack.
- This cracking is universal but is much more evident on light colored paint than on stains or dark paints.
- Regardless, this is the nature of product made from wood and not a reason for replacement.
- Where humidity exposure is uneven, pieces may warp, cup or bow.
- Most often, if humidity level is returned to a normal level and maintained for a period of time, these issues will disappear.
- Extremely dry conditions can result in wood parts splitting and / or cracking in addition to shrinkage as described above.
- The optimal humidity level is 35% to 50% relative humidity.
- Temperature variation can cause some of the same problems as humidity variation and the two are often interrelated.
- Temperature increases cause materials to expand.
- Temperature decreases cause materials to contract or shrink.
- Sudden temperature changes cause more dramatic material changes.
- More likely to lead to cracking and splitting in solid wood.
- More likely to lead to warping, cupping and bowing in any wood components
- Extreme conditions (lower than 20% or higher than 80%) especially need to be avoided.
Pan Pacific Interiors uses only the moisture-resistant melamine for every part of their cabinets. If you have any other questions, please call our office: 775-7769, we are happy to help.