Laminate has been popular as a countertop layer since the 1950s. Laminate countertops offer a wide variety of design while serving as a more affordable option than natural stone counters.
If you think about having a laminate countertop in the kitchen, several things should be taken into consideration. These include the available types, its upsides and downsides, as well as the cost and maintenance.
A. Types of Laminate Countertops
Laminate comes in different types and styles. Some factories offer plastic laminate to fit the simple concept of modern design. Meanwhile, some others create particular types of laminate that mimic the special features of natural stones, such as marble or granite.
There are two popular brands of laminate countertops, namely Wilsonart and Formica. The main characteristics of both brands are explained below, so you can take them into account when deciding to remodel the kitchen.
1. Wilsonart Laminate
Wilsonart laminate is one of the most widely used laminate types. The popularity of this laminate is boosted up by its natural stone features. Wilsonart laminates can resemble many kinds of natural stones, including granite, quartz, marble, as well as wood grains.
The color options of this laminate are also varied. Granite Wilsonart laminate, for instance, offers an interesting color combination of neutral palettes like white and gray with the earthy tones like almond shade. Such a combination provides a nice touch for the kitchen in almost any style and design.
2. Formica Laminate
Formica laminate is made by combining kraft paper and phenolic resin. This results in decorative laminates that are resistant to heat and stain. Because it is constructed from thin layers, Formica laminate is easy to redesign and readjust. You can glue down new sheets on top of the old ones if you want to create a new look in the kitchen.
B. Laminate Countertops Pros and Cons
Laminate countertops offer more benefits rather than disadvantages. However, it doesn’t mean that this countertop material is free from the downside.
All materials of countertops have their strong and weak points, and laminate is no exception. For your consideration, here are the pros and cons of choosing laminate for your kitchen countertops.
1. Laminate Countertops Pros
Laminate is resistant to heat and stain
Despite the plastic substance in its composition, laminate is surprisingly resistant to heat. This material can withstand high temperature while preventing the countertops from flame and burning.
Another good thing about laminate is its excellent resistance to stain. Laminate can even resist stain better than some of the more expensive options, such as quartz or marble. For this reason, you don’t have to worry about spilling oil, sauce, or any stain while cooking. All of them won’t make your laminate countertop stained for long.
Laminate is provided with antimicrobial protection
The popular brands of laminate offer antimicrobial protection for your kitchen. Such technology can kill germs and pathogens that may cause various diseases, particularly those who come from raw food. It also helps in reducing the risk of germ contamination to humans.
The laminate gives a functional design to the kitchen
Laminate is not only valued for its attractiveness, but also for the functionality it gives to the kitchen. For starters, it comes in various styles that you can adjust to the kitchen design. Besides plastic laminate, marble laminate countertop is available to choose; both of them work well with a modern kitchen.
Moreover, laminate countertops provide more variations for the kitchen sink. Instead of sticking to the common drop-in sink, laminate allows you to install an under-mount sink on the countertop. This design is believed to increase the functionality in the cooking station.
The maintenance of laminate doesn’t require a lot of effort
In line with its stain-resistant ability, laminate presents itself as a material with low maintenance. Natural stone countertops can be difficult to maintain, but the case with laminate is otherwise. It doesn’t require sealing or finishing after years of installation. You only need to wipe up the countertop once in a while to keep it clean and spotless.
2. Laminate CountertopsCons
Laminate cannot be repaired from scratch and damage
Compared to natural stone countertops, the main downside of laminate is its fragile structure that cannot bear up scratch and damage. Once the seal is scratched, there is no way to repair or reseal the countertop. The only way you can do is to replace the entire unit with a new layer of laminate.
Laminate doesn’t necessarily add value to your home
Most people choose granite or quartz intending to increase selling points in case their house is back on sale. Unlike those natural stone options, laminate is only valued for its attractiveness and nothing more. Nevertheless, if you are not planning to put your house on sale, choosing laminate countertop is still considered a good decision.
C. Laminate Countertops—how much do they cost?
Laminate has been known as an affordable alternative to natural stone countertops. It also serves as a nice replacement when your remodeling budget is too tight for granite.
While granite can cost you around $75 per square foot, the average cost of laminate countertops usually starts from $25 per square foot. Therefore, you can cut the minimum budget in half, or even less.
Despite of it, the price range may vary depending on the forms of the laminate you choose. Raw laminate and laminate slabs are cheaper, but they may need extra cost for installation. On the other hand, laminate countertops that have been installed professionally can cost five to ten times more expensive than pieces of laminate.
D. Laminate Countertops Maintenance
Maintaining a laminate countertop is extremely easy. Regularly, you only need to clean the countertop using non-abrasive cleaning agents. The laminate is naturally stain-resistant, but you still need to wipe the stain away as soon as it appears. Therefore, the stains will not turn into stubborn marks.
If you install a white laminate countertop, please note that you should never clean it with bleach. Contrary to popular belief, bleach cannot be used to clean white countertop, especially when the countertop is finished with a laminate. The harsh chemical substances in bleach will only leave abrasive scratches that can damage your countertop.
That concludes some important things you need to know about laminate countertops, including the types, cost, maintenance, as well as its pros and cons. Now, you can consider those points when deciding to choose a laminate countertop for the kitchen.