Wednesday, May 30th, 2012 by Travek Inc.
This is the final in our series of countertop articles. So far we have covered the benefits and drawbacks of granite, quartz, solid surface, concrete, and tile. Today we will end our series with laminate countertops.
Laminate countertops are made from a thin piece of laminated plastic adhered to a base or substrate (particle board or plywood). Popular brands of laminate countertops include Formica®, Arborite®, Nevamar® and Wilsonart. The laminate countertop was first created in the 1950s.
Of all the types of countertops, laminate has the best selection of colors and patterns. There are hundreds of laminate patterns, colors and finishes. Patterns may include checks, dots, swirls or other assorted geometric abstract graphics. With something like natural stone, we are limited to the colors, patterns and design that occur in nature and can be quarried.
Laminate also offers a wide variety of edge choices, even more than any of the other types of countertops. You can have straight, bevel or post-formed, wood or solid surface inserts. The edge detail can be a real decorative touch.
As we have mentioned before, the less porous the countertop, the less bacteria that will be trapped in the surface. This is a benefit of laminate. The surface is non-porous. If you have a good fabricator, you will have virtually no visible seam, so even the grout lines will not absorb and cause bacteria and moisture build-up, and the entire surface can be kept quite clean. Unlike granite and other natural stone countertops, because of its non-porous surface, spills of things such as spaghetti, vinegar, wine or dark juices clean up quite nicely and easily. Please note that abrasive cleaning agents should not be used on a laminate countertop, as it will cause scratches.
Laminate is also the only type of countertop that can be formed into seamless backsplashes to keep moisture and grime from getting into the areas behind the cabinets.
Laminate is a pretty strong material, but it will not withstand heat and knives or other sharp objects. If a pot is too hot to handle, you will need to use a trivet, or it will likely scorch the surface. In cutting, use a cutting board or you will have scratches. There are some products that can cover some damage for a short time, but those quick fixes generally do not last long and in order to get something nice-looking again, the countertop will need to be replaced.
For the Do-It-Yourself person, laminate is a pretty easy install. Once it has been measured properly, ordered and ready to go, just cut away the caulk and remove the old countertop, lift the new laminate into place, and then level and shimmy.
Probably the greatest benefit and selling point of laminate is its price tag. It is low cost to purchase, and inexpensive to replace. It is a great way to add life and color to an otherwise dull and drab or boring room. If you are selling your home, a laminate countertop is quick and easy way to freshen up the area at an affordable cost. Comparatively speaking, laminate is about 1/3 the price of granite.
All in all, a laminate countertop is a nice option for the budget shopper or the one who is interested in changing out countertops every once in awhile.
This concludes our countertop series. Hopefully it has been helpful to you in making decisons as to what kind fits your wants and needs!
As always, please let me know if you have any questions. You can call our office at 480-367-1171 or email me at [email protected].