Qualified Remodeler Magazine

JUN 2018

Qualified Remodeler helps independent remodeling firms to survive, become more professional and more profitable by providing must-have business information, namely best business practices, new product information and timely design ideas.

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Wilsonart's offering in the ultra-matte arena was also introduced this year. It is called Soft Silk. "It is one of the most au- thentic, true-to-stone finishes we have ever developed," says Brooke Mays, lead residen- tial product designer for the company. "e most amazing thing about this new finish is when you touch it. You really don't under- stand how incredible it is until you feel it. en you keep touching it." Wilsonart, which offers quartz and solid-surface solutions in addition to its large selection of HPL products, released the new finish in conjunction with several new colors and patterns in a collection called "Blurred Lines," a series of colors and patterns that transcend different design styles—from warm to cool. Formica introduced its ultra-matte finish, called Scovato, way back in 2015. "It is an Italian word to describe a finish process that mimics the feel of stone," Chmiel says. "It's got this nice, smooth and warm feel to it. It's about polishing to a matte but natural finish." Glossy and more traditional HPL finishes remain prevelant, but the trend toward matte finishes is undeniable. COLORS AND PATTERNS More colors and patterns are the true drivers for the increased use of HPL generally. Abet Laminati offers 350 colors and styles. Formica and Wilsonart each offer hundreds of looks. And each offers the ability to radi- cally customize the HPL that designers select. To emphasize this point, when remodelers and designers visit Wilsonart's facility, a group photo is taken and the image is transferred to paper and made into an 8- by 10-inch sample they can take home. Virtual patterns, those that only exist in the mind of a designer, are stored on Wilsonart's Virtual Design Library. It is a place where designers can choose from complete new looks and ideas—from oversized flowers to more traditional patterns that relate back to the style of the 1960s. In 2018, new colors and patterns run the gamut. ere are those that are designed to look like concrete, while others take on the look of some of the latest engineered stone finishes, including glass particles. For its part, Formica grouped its most recent color and pattern introductions around three In January, Abet Laminati USA introduced its new Polaris collection of HPLs. It is fin- gerprint-resistant with an ultra-matte finish. "e feel of it is completely different from traditional HPL," Braun notes. "And the ef- fect is this ultra-deep, super-matte color pal- ette—all neutral—but perfect for use either horizontally or vertically." e texture of Polaris was made possible by a major adjustment to the way HPL is made. Normally there are seven or eight layers of paper that are impregnated by plastic phenolic resins. Polaris is impregnated with acrylic instead. it increasingly used on interiors to some de- gree because there is more of a celebration of mid-century modern, where laminate would be heavily used. People are also beginning to recognize that when laminate is fabricated correctly, it can be a really beautiful material." FINISHES AND LOOKS One of the reasons for the recent growth in residential uses of HPL has been the advance- ment of new finishes and textures—ones that offer completely new looks and feels often associated with the high end. QualifiedRemodeler.com QR June 2018 39

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