Laminate Vs. Two Pack – An in-depth comparison

Custom cabinetry allows you the freedom and flexibility to create a design that is completely designed and built for you and your home. With this also comes the freedom to select your cabinetry finishes and with so many options available, the choice can be quite a tricky one! Our guide looks at laminate vs. two pack cabinetry finishes to help you decided which will suit your kitchen renovation project best.

Deciding which cabinetry finish to use on your custom designed kitchen, bathroom vanity or other home joinery can drastically alter the final cost of your project. There is a HUGE cost difference between standard ranges of laminate and a two pack finish; so just what are the differences we should be aware of before making that final decision?

Laminex recently released their Absolute Series: A collection of laminate finishes that include ultra matte finger print proof colours (AbsoluteMatte) and highly textured weathered timber-look laminates (AbsoluteGrain). Click here to view these two beautiful collections.

First of all, let’s quickly run through the basics: Just what exactly is laminate and what is two pack?

What is Laminate?

Laminate cabinetry consists of a decorative surface applied to moisture resistance particleboard and is most commonly used as a benchtop or cabinet finish. Made of layers of paper, the decorative surface is resin forced with thermosetting resins. First made popular in during the 1950s, laminates have long been an economical and stylish solution for the home. With advances made in laminate manufacturing technology, the product is now more durable than ever and can be used almost anywhere around the home.

Laminex is one of our favourite brands of laminate products. Their collections include smooth, solid coloured laminates, textured timber-look designs as well as the high gloss finish as shown in this example. Image Source

How much does laminate cost?

Standard ranges of laminate are the most cost effective options available in terms of custom cabinetry finishes. There are however, several different brands available, along with several different types or styles of laminate, each with its own range of costs. Laminex’s Natural Finish Laminate for example, is their most cost effective option, with the Impressions and Absolute Collections being priced higher, followed by their high gloss Crystal Gloss collection and finally, the Innovations collection which is their custom made specialist range (which can often cost almost the same or even more than a two pack finish!). When it comes to custom designed cabinetry, each project has to be quoted individually to come up with an accurate price.

What is Two Pack?

The term Two Pack refers to a particular technique and paint solution applied to cabinetry. Rather than being painted onto the cabinet surface with a brush, two pack is applied in the same fashion as automotive paint. It is made of a two-part solution, comprising of paint and hardener (hence the name!) and is applied in a highly controlled environment to ensure that there is no interference with the paint (such as dust for example).

Two pack allows the selection of any custom colour with several different surface finishes also available; options include a high gloss, semi gloss, satin, matte and a textured Crystal Coat finish.

Laminex is also a supplier of fabulous two pack finished cabinet doors! Their ColourTech range is available in a myriad of colours, finishes and door styles, allowing a completely custom kitchen design. Image Source

How much does Two Pack cost?

Considering the amount of time and attention to detail involved in the creation of quality two pack cabinetry (as well as the paint finish itself!) this is considered one of the more premium options. Each kitchen is unique in it’s design, features and embellishments so an accurate generalised price per cabinet is extremely difficult to come by! With that being said though, you can expect to pay approximately 20% more than a laminate custom kitchen.

Laminate Vs. Two Pack: What are the Key Differences

  • Door Styles: Laminate cabinet doors are only available with a smooth, flat face. Two pack doors are painted, allowing a more diverse selection of door styles and shapes to be used.
  • Longevity: A quality two pack finish will generally last you much longer than laminate cabinetry
  • Door Inserts: Door inserts such as glass and mesh screens are not available as an option when selecting laminate doors. A two pack finish however, allows the use of door styles with a feature insert
  • Replacing Cabinet Doors: Laminates are similar to tiles in the sense that they are produced in BATCHES. This can become an issue when a door or panel of your new laminate kitchen for example, is damaged or discoloured down the track. A replacement door WILL stand out in comparison to the rest of the cabinetry as each batch can be slightly different in tone; the difference doesn’t become obvious until you put the new door among the old!
  • Colour Options: Two pack cabinetry can be custom painted to match a specific colour requirement; In the case of a door or panel in your two pack kitchen being damaged down the track, you can simply have the door made up to match the exact colour of the rest of your kitchen, making the difference between the old and new cabinetry much less noticeable. Laminate cabinets are only available in a selected range of colours whereas a two pack finish offers the freedom and flexibility of custom colour selections
  • Cost: As mentioned earlier in this article, a quality two pack finish is a lengthy, drawn-out and intensive process and of course, this comes at a cost! Standard laminate cabinetry is significantly cheaper than a two pack finish, with the exception of custom, specialised laminates (such as Laminex’s Innovations range) which can cost almost as much as a two pack finish!

So there we have it – There are several differences between these two amazing cabinet finishes. The choice will come down to 4 things: flexibility in cabinet colours and styles as well as cost and longevity.

laminate vs. two pack
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Header & images: Laminex