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What is the Difference Between Coated and Uncoated Paper?

Coated paper (often called art paper) traditionally has a clay coating over the suffice to make it much smoother than uncoated paper. The clay fills up all the pits that appear naturally in paper. This has a dramatic effect on the ways that ink reacts of coated and uncoated papers.

Basically, ink drys on the surface of coated paper whilst it is absorbed into the uncoated paper. This is the reason coated paper is used for leaflets and full color printing. By drying on the surface the colours are much more vibrant and more photo like. However, it is not very good for writing on by hand because until it drys it is very likely to smudge. Indeed some pen inks never dry properly on coated paper.

Coated paper comes on 3 main types –

  • Gloss
  • Silk
  • Matt

Unfortunately traditional coated paper is not suitable for printing on home inkjet or laser printers. This is because inkjet ink is water based and just like pen ink will not dry well on the surface of the paper. Likewise, the surface of coated paper is not right for laser printer toner to stick to it.

Uncoated paper it traditionally used for things like letterheads or carbonless forms filled in by hand. The ink printed on it drys by absorption into the paper making it perfect for all pen and pencils. However, printed colours so not look as vivid as they do on coated papers. For this reason if in not used very often on leaflets etc. However that is changing. Increasingly people are opting for more muted, natural looking colours on leaflets and choosing uncoated paper.

Coated Paper is not Waterproof

People often assume that coated papers such as gloss are waterproof. This could not be further from the truth. Coated paper absorb water just as much as uncoated paper. The only way to make it waterproof is to encapsulate it (often confused with lamination). This is where you completely seal the front, back and edges in plastic so no water can get it. It has a 4mm or 5mm lip going all the way around to waterproof the edges.

Please call 01646 682676 for more information.

What is the Difference Between Coated and Uncoated Paper?