Lamination and Encapsulation are two different methods of applying a protective coating to paper or card in commercial printing. The key difference is that anything encapsulated is 100% waterproof, while laminated print items aren’t fully covered and can therefore be damaged by exposure to moisture.
This obviously makes the choice of encapsulation or lamination crucial when you are printing anything that’s likely to come in contact with water. For example, you should always choose an encapsulated finish on a restaurant menu, placemat, security ID or poster being used outdoors.
Encapsulated Print Finish
Encapsulation will completely cover the surface of the item being printed with a transparent plastic border. This fully protects the surfaces and edges of this item against water and dirt. The encapsulated covering also means that something like a restaurant menu can easily be cleaned, without the risk of damaging the printing on the card or paper inside.
The thickness of the encapsulated film varies from 42mic to 250mic, depending on what the encapsulation is needed for.
Laminated Print Finish
Lamination is a plastic film applied to printed items such as business cards or brochure covers, usually done with a matt or gloss finish, to enhance their appearance and also help protect them against everyday wear and tear. The thickness of the laminated film is typically thinner than its encapsulated counterpart, ranging from 25mic to 42mic.
It’s also worth mentioning that the lamination process can sometimes damage and affect the appearance of the item. Lamination will often make the item appear darker than originally designed and printed.
When creating educational materials, or any other printed pieces intended for use by younger children, we would recommend asking for rounded corners. Any sharp edges will thereby be softened for added safety.
If you require any assistance with your next print project, please contact our team of print experts for friendly advice or a free quote.