Don’t get us wrong – laminating is a great way to protect fragile materials, such as paper, against damage from grease, dirt and liquids. It also stops the edges from curling up or tearing. Laminating is also very useful for protecting important documents that have been repeatedly folded and unfolded so that the creases are in danger of wearing right through the paper.
But there are some instances where lamination is not a good idea.
What NOT To Laminate
Many people want to preserve their most valuable and important documents by laminating them, but this is a huge mistake. You should never laminate your important certificates, such as birth, marriage, death and divorce. It is also highly inadvisable to laminate any documents to do with property ownership, vehicle registration or business ownership.
Why Shouldn’t I Laminate Documents?
Many official documents, such as degrees and diplomas, and birth certificates, have embossed security seals, stamps or other marks. One of the main reasons for this is to prove the authenticity of the document. Laminating effectively flattens out these seals, making it harder to prove that the document is genuine.
Even documents that don’t have these types of seals should not be laminated, as it still makes it very hard to see if they’re original or not. This why most banks and legal firms won’t accept documents that have been laminated. It is possible to delaminate documents, but it can be a time-consuming and expensive process, and there is the risk that the document will be damaged in the process.
You might think it’s a good idea to laminate important receipts, such as those for expensive items, in case you need to use them for guarantee purposes. This is, however, a bad idea! Most receipts today are printed on thermal paper. If you’ve ever left one in a hot car for any length of time, you’ll know that the heat eventually makes them fade to the point of being unreadable. Most lamination is nothing but the application of heat, so you might think you’re preserving your proof of purchase, but you’re in fact destroying it.
Laminated documents also don’t photocopy very well, thanks to the reflective polythene texture of the laminating plastic.
What Is The Alternative?
The best thing you can do for your important documents is to place them inside transparent plastic sleeves and then put them in a protective box or file. You will then only have to take them out for official purposes, and can then place them straight back inside their sleeve. In this way, they will be as protected as if they were laminated, but they will still be legally acceptable.
Remember that anything you do decide to have laminated needs to be stored properly. Never keep laminated documents in very hot areas – your great grandmother’s world famous scone recipe should not be kept in the cupboard next to the stove! Heat changes the shape and clarity of the laminate coating, which may then make the document unreadable.
Important personal documents aside, MailMech offers laminating solutions throughout South Africa that will enhance the appearance of your documents and protect them for years to come. For more information, please contact us today.