Before You Buy - Laminate
Before you buy:
- The primary reasons to choose laminate countertops over other
tops include: Receiving a good quality product at an affordable
price, its ease of maintenance and its hard, impact resistant
- Due to the reasonable cost of laminate, they are a desirable
option, but will not last as long as other solid surface type
surfaces. However, some see this as an advantage. Due
to the lower cost, the look of a kitchen can be changed and
updated more frequently.
- Laminate countertops have been the most affordable countertop
choice for decades.
- You can also chip laminate and while it cannot be repaired
completely, it is far less expensive to replace this top than
other countertop material options.
- Laminate tops are easy to install and durable.
- Eventually, it is possible the seams will show and dirt and
bacteria can become trapped over time. If a seam is located
close to a sink, the seam can become unsightly if water is
allowed to soak in to the product. Keep excessive moisture
away from seams.
- Laminate countertops like those made from granite and
engineered stone have seams where the countertop sections
meet. A good fabricator can make a laminate top seam almost
- Countertops come in to direct contact with food. The
less porous the top, the less likelihood bacteria will be trapped
in the surface. Laminate performs well in this application,
because it is a non-porous product.
- Laminate is ideal in high use areas such as: Craft/Hobby
rooms, Garages, Children’s rooms, Libraries, Family rooms,
Cabinets, tables and Snack bars.
- Laminate has been very popular for children’s rooms due to
the wide variety of design options and the safety afforded by
rounded custom edges on tables and countertops. The product
also works well on walls and doors. Again, it is a
non-porous surface so it is resistant to bacteria.
Product Information - Laminate
- Laminate is constructed in various thickness grades,
depending on the purpose they serve. Horizontal grade is
one of the thickest laminates at .039” and is designed for flat,
high-impact and heavy use countertops.
- Vertical grade is the thinnest grade at .028” and is often
used for low impact vertical installations such as backsplashes.
- There are two options of backsplashes. If the material
has been molded in to a post-form backsplash, there will be no
seam and the backsplash will be “rounded”. The second
option is a backsplash that is built at the home site and will be
set on the back of the countertop. This backsplash will
have a “square” edge and a seam will be created.
- Sinks are typically top mounted or deck mounted. The
sinks can be a variety of finishes, such as stainless steel, cast
iron and acrylic.
- Under mounted sinks are not recommended as it’s difficult to
protect against water penetration. Once water penetrates
the particle board base of this product, it will swell and
- There are virtually hundreds of colors to choose from when
selecting laminate. Almost any décor can be matched which
is one of the reasons laminate countertops are so popular.
- In addition, special finishes are available. Typically,
the cost is slightly higher on the specialty finishes. The
finishes include the looks of stone, wood, granite, marble and
- Laminate offers a variety of edge treatments. There are
two basic edges. A straight edge is simply a strip of
laminate applied to the front edge of the countertop. There
will be a thin seam visible in this application.
- Since laminate is pliable when heated, it can be wrapped
around plywood to create a rounded edge. This edge is
called a post-formed edge.
- There are two decorative edge treatments that are commonly
used. The standard beveled edge in which solid surface or
wood can contrast with the laminate. You can also use
a contrasting laminate, such as a stone look, to apply to this
- A full front edge molding allows for a limitless range of
options to choose. The most commonly seen profile is called
an ogee edge. This is a double curved form made up of a
concave and convex half that looks like the letter S. It
will appear seamless at inside corners and can be bent around a
radius at the outside corners. You can stain a wood ogee to
match your cabinets, or insert a solid surface edge band.
- You can add a metal or texture in the backsplash for a unique
and different. There are metals and textures made for this
purpose and are typically available where the material will be
Maintenance - Laminate
- Decorative laminate patterns and colors are not consistent
through the thickness of the product. Therefore, scratches
can occur. Those scratches cannot be repaired.
- Since laminate countertops are non porous, they are bacteria
resistant. However, bacteria can invade the seamed
- Laminate tops are easy to clean. Spills like wine or
juice come off with little or no effect if cleaned early.
Soap and water work well on these tops. Or, there are over
the counter products to remove more difficult stains. Never
use abrasive cleaners on laminate surfaces.
- Expect normal wear and tear on laminate tops. Heat will
cause the most damage. A scorch mark will appear if you set
a hot pan on your countertop. A general rule of thumb is
too hot to set on your hand, then it’s probably too hot to sent
directly on a laminate countertop. Granite tops are more
resistant to heat, but acid or vinegar can harm a granite top,
making it necessary for the top to be resealed. Not so with
- Laminate is a strong material, but it can be cut with a
knife. Knife cuts can go through the color layer, exposing
the brown underlayment. These types of cuts cannot be
repaired. Use cutting boards when cutting or slicking.
- Since there will be seams on a laminate top, if allowed,
water can infiltrate the seam which will become unsightly.
- Bacteria and dirt can become trapped in the seams, but not in
the product itself.