dTank CoArt
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Laminate: The Stone Alternative

The design process is something dTank is all too familiar with. We want to make your material selection process as easy and informed as possible. We have teamed up with Panolam to show you some great options for laminate - stone alternative - finishes. Certainly when it comes to a kitchen, we suggest leaving the granite, marble, quartz, or travertine to its job. But for more commercial spaces, we think its a great way to cut down costs and achieve a modern, contemporary style for a creative workspace, retail stores, medical clinics, and even cafes. These environments ultimately achieve the stylistic benefits of stone with all the practicality of laminate.


Laminate is a unique material that is durable, affordable and incredibly customizable. It is constructed by pressing together layers of heavy duty paper with a compound known as melamine, which hardens into a resin. This creates a solid veneer, which can then be covered in a thin decorative layer.

Here are some example spaces using Panolam's visualizer app.

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Above, we alternated subtle stone patterns with wood grain laminates for a tasteful design. Designers tend to think that laminate sheets can be restrictive to design because of their kraft paper. Kraft paper is the core layer of a high pressure laminate that controls the product's thickness, its texture and look is similar to cardboard. Luckily, Pionite® ThruColor™ high pressure laminate may be used in any high-end furniture and casework application where a solid color edge is desired. This creates a seamless finish to your design and contributes greatly to the aesthetics of the final product. Pionite’s manufacturing process provides a second generation color-through laminate that is more flexible and much less likely to chip than other color-through laminates.

Here is an example of the difference between what a ThruColor™ laminate would look like compared to a standard laminate.

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Panolam also offers a variety of finishes. If you are trying to achieve the sheen of real granite or marble, Panolam has a high gloss finish that will give you the reflective quality often seen on natural polished stone. The finishes range from velvet and soft leather to crystal and aged bark. For this application, high gloss would likely be your best option. Below you can see the difference between the gloss finish (left) and textured suede finish (right). The pattern is 'Man on the Moon', a powerful granite featuring an opalescent pearl with a slight patina. As you can see below, the high gloss intensifies the color and creates a smooth reflective surface. The suede finish adds texture but dulls the overall color of the pattern. Some may prefer this for a more subtle design.

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By the end of this process you can have a high-end fabricated furniture piece that resembles stone for nearly half the price but with all the practicality. Here are some examples of designs we have produced for our clients. These designs are able to be fabricated using stone or laminate.




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