Formica sheets are a laminate product made of layers of compressed, resin-infused paper. Formica laminate sheets are typically used in flooring, countertops and other surfaces that benefit from the material's durability and water resistance.
Manufacturers create Formica products by soaking a piece of heavy paper in phenolic resin, which is then cured in a drying oven. Multiple layers of these resin-saturated papers are combined to create one thick layer. A final, decorative sheet of paper is applied as the top layer, giving the laminate its texture or design.
Hydraulic rams compress the composite material using high amounts of pressure. The end result is trimmed, sanded and prepped for application. The laminate is often applied to a second material, such as wood or other composites, before being fully utilized.
Formica was created in 1912 by two inventors working at Westinghouse Electrical Corporation. The inventors sought to replace mica, a mineral then commonly used as electrical insulation. Although originally designed as an insulator, the material became popular as a functional and decorative surface for kitchen countertops and tables by 1937.
Since its invention, Formica laminate has been manufactured in a variety of styles and designs, including those that mimic other flooring or surface materials, such as wood or concrete.