What is Paper Coating?

Know the different types of paper coating used in commercial printing.

First, let's figure out what is paper coated. Sometimes, paper need some kind of protection (for instance, Ultra Violet Radiation), to be resistant, waterproof, gain some weight or just be good looking. This protection film can be compound of many materials, such as polymers, silicones, wax, among others. Remember that this kind of work requires time and it has it cost.

Some people don't know about that kind of protection, so they don't ask for it. We will try to give you some hints to decide where you may be need to use it.

To start talking about coating, we must separate it in two types: Liquid and Film Laminates. Between the liquid coatings we find varnish, aqueous and UV coating. And the films we can apply to your work we have polypropylene, polyester and nylon. Let's begin to explain each of them.

Polyester Coating

It is the most durable of all laminates. It gives to your work strength and abrasion resistance. It is a hard coating, very resistant to scuffing, in any kind of finishing.

Varnish Coating

Varnishes gives a lower protection compared to other coatings, but it is very popular, due to their low cost and to be easy to applicate. It can be applied to the whole document or in some specific areas (For example, to improve the photos over the plain text). One of the problems we can find on this type of coating, it is a tending to yellow as time goes by.

Aqueous Coating

It is the most commonly used coating type. It works great protecting from fingerprints. It is shinier and dry faster than varnish, and don't turn so much to yellow. Besides, it is eco-friendly (more than others coatings at least). Aqueous coating is not as precise to apply as varnish and it is recommend to use a 80# or heavier paper to prevent to curl and wrink. Also it is susceptible to chemical burning.

UV Coating

This kind of varnish offers more protection than either varnish or aqueous coatings. It can be applied to the whole document or parcially, producing gloss, mate, satin and a wide variety of finishes. It is likely to show fingerprints and susceptible to chemical burning. Some can make paper hard to fold. It also tend to accentuate defects of paper


It gives a softer finish, great to projects to be folded. It can be writen on it with a marker, but it is more prone to be scratched.


The most durable of laminates, gives strength and abrasion resistance. It is special to folders or covers, and it is more expensive than polypropylene.


It offers a unique advantage when thermal laminating is used, it is not stretch (and later shrink) when it is heated.

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