Frequently Asked Questions About TFL
It has been called a number of things over the years – decorative melamine overlays, thermally fused melamine, low pressure laminate. It’s no wonder there’s been so much confusion in the marketplace. (In 2012, the industry collectively agreed to use one simple and accurate descriptor: Thermally Fused Laminates, or TFL.)
TFL are resin-saturated papers that are thermoset under high heat and pressure to a substrate (usually particleboard, MDF or plywood). Similar in appearance to better known HPL (High Pressure Laminates), TFL differs in two distinctive ways from its HPL cousin: because it is thermoset directly to the substrate, it eliminates many of the base paper layers of an HPL, and the heat/pressure process enables it to essentially become part of the substrate (HPL is glued to the panel). The result is a durable, consistent, beautiful panel, ideal for a wide variety of applications and available at a lower cost than a number of other surfacing options.
TFL uses the same décor papers that are used in the manufacturing of HPL, which makes for easy matching when multiple surfaces are necessary for the same environment.
Thermally Fused Laminates, or TFL, share similarities with HPL (High Pressure Laminates). Both are made of resin-saturated papers applied to a suitable substrate. Read Why TFL. And Why Now to fully understand the comparison.
TFL is a durable, high performing and consistent surface product that is less expensive than veneers (sliced from real wood) and HPL. TFL is ideal for wide variety of products and environments — furniture, cabinets, architectural walls, desks, shelving, closets and more for residential, commercial, healthcare, educational and other industries. It also works as a complement to HPL (the same or compatible designs are typically available in both), which lets you use the right product for the right surface — HPL for extreme-traffic surfaces and TFL for all the complementing surfaces that require the same design qualities and durability.
The Composite Panel Association provides this primer on different decorative surfaces.
The list is virtually endless. TFL panels are available in a wide variety of designs, from wood grains to stone patterns, abstract graphics to solid colors. They’re scratch and wear resistance. They’re environmentally friendly. And they’re cost effective compared with many other surface options. Use TFL on furniture, cabinets, closets, architectural wall features, store fixtures, desks and office systems, shelving, counters…the list goes on. Arclin TFL can be found in some of the country’s largest retail and hospitality chains, in hospitals and on desks made by your favorite office furniture manufacturers. Durable and attractive, TFL is the perfect surfacing choice for a wide variety of applications and industries.
In our building industry travels, we’ll sometimes hear push-back against the use of any type of wood-related products — from specifiers and buyers rightfully charged with finding the most environmentally responsible products available for their interiors projects. We couldn’t agree more that the careful use of our natural resources is the responsibility of everyone in the design and build industries. The truth is, TFL is one of the smartest environmental choices for a wide variety of applications, from furniture and fixtures to architectural features, closets and cabinets. Read more about what makes TFL a “green” product.
Arclin provides the treated decorative overlays for TFL panels.
If you are a panel producer/laminator, you can contact Arclin directly at 877.689.9145.
If you are an architect, designer or specifier, please contact one of Arclin’s supply distributors — our “Where to Buy” list can be found here.
Contact your Arclin Technical Sales Representative for information on ordering treated overlays for TFL. Please contact your preferred TFL laminator as their minimums may differ from those of Arclin.
Arclin works closely with various distributors through our partner network to provide complementary products. Review our Complementary Products list for available items.
Visit our online portfolio to view designs and order samples.
Please contact our customer service department at 877.689.9145.
Industry TFL Applications
- Office Furniture – Desks & Office Systems
- Retail Fixtures – Shelving, POP Displays, Slot Walls & More
- Closet Systems – Interior and Exterior Components
- Cabinets – For Kitchen, Office Environment, Hospitals and more
- Furniture –Desks, Dressers, Tables, Chairs, etc.
- Architectural Features – Decorative Walls, Panels, Lobby Features, Elevators