Why HMR Board Is The Best Material For Your Bathroom Vanity Cabinet

 

Have you been searching for the perfect vanity cabinet for your bathroom?  Whether you’re just updating your vanity or going the full Monty on your bathroom renovation, you’ve probably heard the term ‘HMR board’.  ‘HMR’ stands for ‘high moisture resistance’ and is arguably the best material for a vanity cabinet – especially one that’s in the bathroom where lots of moisture, steam and water are splashed all over your vanity every single day.  But has anyone explained to you what it is and why it’s so good? If not, then read on!

What is it?

HMR board is made by adding a special resin to the board which gives it extra moisture resistance. This resin can be added to numerous types of board, and so not all HMR boards are the same (but their moisture resistant properties are).  Common materials for HMR board are engineered woods such as chipboard and MDF, which stands for ‘medium density fibreboard’.

Chipboard & MDF

Chipboard is made from wood chips and sawmill shavings, which are combined together with a resin. The final product is strong yet lightweight.  MDF is similar to chipboard but it uses wood fibres combined with a glue to create a denser composite wood, which makes it very strong and heavy like solid wood. 

Stacks of engineered chipboard wood

Standard chipboard

HMR board green tinge with white surface

Chipboard with HMR shown by the green tinge in the board

Formaldehyde

Before the 1990s, formaldehyde was commonly used to bind wood particles together in composite woods such as chipboard and MDF – these products represented a large source of formaldehyde in homes, which is known to cause health issues ranging from nasal and eye irritation, to cancer at high levels of exposure.  In the 1990s Australia introduced industry standards for composite woods in order to reduce the risk of these health effects, and now all chipboard and MDF products must conform to Australian manufacturing standards of low formaldehyde levels, labelled E1 grade.  An E0 grade was also developed which has ultra-low formaldehyde levels, if any at all.

Benefits of HMR board

HMR board is perfect for damp and humid environments like bathrooms. Think about how your bathroom steams up during a shower and how much water is splashed on your vanity every day – standard board will swell and split when exposed to water, but HMR will not. HMR will also reduce the risk of moulds and bacteria growing in your board due to dampness creeping in.  For these reasons, it is crucial that you choose HMR board when upgrading your bathroom vanity, not just if you don’t want to be replacing your vanity a few years down the line, but also for your health.

Case study

The vanities sold by The Sink Warehouse are primarily made from E0 grade MDR and chipboard.  MDR is used for the doors and drawers for extra stability, whilst chipboard is used for the rest of the vanity, making it lightweight; however the whole vanity is still HMR.  The lack of chemicals in the E0 board not only prevents formaldehyde exposure, but also inhibits moulds and bacteria from growing in the board, which is an important feature for a cabinet that is being used in a high humidity area such as the bathroom.

Two coats of paint are applied to the HMR board, which is then finished in a coating of 2 PAC polyurethane (a mixture of polyurethane plastic and a hardener).  This process gives the HMR board its final polished look with features including:

  • High gloss
  • Non-yellowing
  • UV resistant for maximum colour retention
  • Chemical resistant
  • Abrasion resistant

Conclusion

Hopefully by now you have a much greater understanding of HMR and the products used to make bathroom vanities, so now you can pick a new bathroom vanity with confidence!

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