Keeping the Beauty in High-Performance Areas with High-Pressure Decorative Laminate Doors

HPDL doors provide solid architectural solutions for a wide range of commercial applications
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Sponsored by VT Industries Inc.
By Robyn Feller
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Fire-Rated Wood Doors

Many manufacturers of HPDL doors offer the same fire ratings as wood veneer doors (up to 90 minutes) and extend the same warranty terms. Fire-rated doors meet or exceed life safety requirements while maintaining the visual integrity of the door without sacrificing the project’s design. Also, they’re available with Category A positive pressure fire ratings up to 90 minutes.

Fire-Rated Wood Door Facts

  • Category A positive pressure fire doors can have concealed or exposed intumescent.
  • NFPA 80 Category A guidelines states, "No additional edge-sealing system required."
  • Fire ratings include 20-, 45-, 60-, and 90-minute ratings.
  • Fire-rated laminate is not required; all tests are based on general purpose laminate.

Sustainable Design

Architects interested in sustainable building should look for “lean” wood door manufacturers that minimize waste—reusing core material scraps to heat the plant, for example—and a high degree of production waste diverted from landfills. Doors that are GREENGUARD Certified and GREENGUARD GOLD Certified are low-emitting products. Such certified products, along with those that have no added urea-formaldehyde, Type 1 adhesives, or factory finishing with water-based stains, contribute to a healthful indoor air quality. Manufacturers that are FSC Chain-of-Custody (COC) Certified promote responsible forest management. Using doors with agrifiber cores, a rapidly renewable plant-based product, lowers the need to harvest virgin wood materials and reduces pressure on the world’s forests. Wood veneer and HPDL doors have the potential to achieve multiple LEED credits, notably those related to recycled content, regional materials, rapidly renewable materials, low-emitting materials, and certified wood. The best environmental statement that wood door manufacturers can make is to produce a durable product that remains functional throughout the lifetime of the building.

Top Sustainability Facts

  • Designers who specify FSC certified wood, recycled content, or rapidly renewable doors can earn points toward achieving green building certification under the LEED systems with HPDL faces.
  • The best environmental statement that wood door manufacturers can make is to produce a durable product that remains functional throughout the lifetime of the building.
  • Most major laminate manufacturers are GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified.

Laminate Industry Standards

HPDL Doors Fall Within the Following Industry Standards
  • NEMA laminate standards
  • WDMA quality performance standards
  • AWS & WDMA architectural wood door aesthetic standards

Conclusion: A Summary of HPDL Advantages

Due to their durability and uniformity of appearance, HPDL doors have considerable appeal where consistency is desirable, such as in offices and hotels, restaurants, and other locations where design requirements should remain constant across regional or nationwide franchises.

Today, laminate doors are also recognized for their easy maintenance. HPDL doors are fingerprint resistant, which is a time- and cost-saving benefit, particularly in such facilities as commercial kitchens, school cafeterias, and restaurant settings where food-stained handprints can leave grime that will eventually lead to the need to refinish or even replace the door. Laminate doors can tolerate the general-purpose cleansers and disinfectants used to remove the inevitable handprints and smudges that occur on doors in high-use facilities, including schools and hospitals, as well as the stronger solvents required to remove ink stains, and the industrial-strength cleansers that will eliminate paint and graffiti marks.

End Notes

1"Decorative laminate." Wikipedia. Web. 14 September 2017.

2"How We Make Laminate." Wilsonart. Web. 14 September 2017.

3"The Door Glossary." Window & Door Manufacturers Association. Web. 14 September 2017.

4"Low-emitting materials - composite wood and agrifiber products." USGBC. Web. 15 September 2017.

Other Resources

McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture & Construction

Robyn M. Feller is a freelance writer and editor specializing in the architecture, design, and construction industry.

VT Industries logo.

Headquartered in Holstein, Iowa, VT Industries Inc. is North America’s leading manufacturer of architectural wood doors, VT Dimensions countertops, and GeoScapes architectural stone surfaces. The company’s three divisions serve customers from 11 manufacturing facilities strategically located throughout the Unites States and Canada.


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Originally published in Architectural Record