Modern Millwork: 3 Qualities to Look for in High Gloss Panels


High-gloss panels can provide the perfect backdrop for other materials and accent pieces your clients may wish to show off within their space. They also play well with other style choices including textures, such as exposed brick walls, reclaimed wood and even poured concrete.


To achieve the look of solid surface or high-end lacquered finishes, here are three qualities to look for in high-gloss panels.


Excellent UV Resistance


Your clients expect surfaces to look brand new for as long as possible. Unfortunately, the classic all-white modern design has a tendency to yellow if you choose lower-end panels. For whites that stay white and colors that stay bright, look for high gloss with a higher UV resistance to avoid yellowing caused by UV exposure.




Mirror-like Reflective Quality


High gloss brightens a space with its reflectivity, so you don’t want anything to reduce its impact. Be sure to choose a surface that is free of optical imperfections such as ripples and orange-peel. Thermofoil and PET have a significantly lower reflective image quality when compared to lacquered melamine and, especially, acrylic laminate. Pairing acrylic with a very smooth MDF core and high-quality PUR glue provides the mirror-like gloss your clients imagine.



Double-sided High-Gloss


When investing in these high-quality features, you want all your visible surfaces to stand out. Double-sided high gloss panels, finished with seamless edging technology, have the same premium shine on all surfaces. There are no visible seams that can discolor or allow liquid to enter the panel.


As a designer, you want to give your client a beautiful, yet functional design that will last for years. If your quality checklist for high-gloss panels includes double-sided acrylic laminate, high UV resistance and mirror-like reflectivity, you’ll be certain not to disappoint.


For more information on high-gloss panel options for your modern millwork designs, check out REHAU’s website.



High-Gloss Options Advantages Disadvantages
Painting and Lacquering: panels are painted the desired color and numerous layers of lacquer are applied 1)       Highest number of color options

2)       Multiple shapes are possible

1)       Poor UV and wear resistance

2)       Difficult to match replacement panels

3)       Inconsistent and very manual process

Melamine: Very thin paper fused to a panel. The papers are then lacquered 1)       Prints and patterns can be available

2)       Lacquered melamine surface can provide improved scratch resistance

1)       Deep scratches can allow lacquer to chip away from surface

2)       Brittle surface can cause chipping when cut

Thermofoil: A thin, heat-sealed plastic wrap used to mold over an MDF board 1)       Readily available in the market in many shapes and designs

2)       More economical option

1)       Image quality and depth of gloss are not as strong as other products

2)       Possibility of delamination and peeling over time

PET Foil: Clear film to melamine board 1)       Prints and patterns can be available

2)       Surface has good scratch resistance

1)       Image quality and depth of gloss are not as strong as other products
Acrylic Laminates: Thin sheet of polymer (often multiple polymers co-extruded) to create a deep mirror finish 1)       High-end color depth and mirror-life quality

2)       Optimized formulations for color fastness and UV stability

3)       Available with scratch-resistant coating

1)       Not recommended for horizontal surfaces requiring high-temperature resistance