Laminate countertops are the most preferred kitchen countertops as they are beautiful and affordable. Due to the versatility of laminate, laminate countertops are available in various designs and finishes. Laminate can resemble ceramic, stone or hardwood. That’s why you do not have to worry whether you will find suitable laminate countertops to match your kitchen décor.
Laminate countertops are also available in an unbelievable spectrum of colors that range from white to cream, to blue, red or black.
Laminate can be pre shaped into the desired shapes that you want, or can be purchased as a single sheet and custom-shaped or cut later.
Laminate is manufactured by fusing plastic resin with layers of paper and treating them with high heat and pressure to form a single solid sheet. This sheet is bonded to a plywood or particle board base using special glue to give it strength.
Cost of laminate countertops
When it comes to kitchen countertops, laminate is one of the cheapest materials available, and costs about $5 for a square foot. The exact cost will be determined by the manufacturer, color, design, texture, location, and off course the size. It should not be difficult for you to find the type of laminate you desire, within your budget.
Among the well known brands are Formica and Wilsonart.
Buying tips for laminate countertops
1. You must keep your kitchen décor in mind before selecting the color and texture of your laminate countertop. From the wide assortment of laminates it is not difficult to choose the right type that blends with your kitchen décor.
2. The key to color dynamics is the use of contrasting colors. To avoid monotony you must complement dark colored cabinets with a warm and light colored laminate. Similarly, lighter colored cabinets can be highlighted with dark colored laminate.
3. Checking out some interior designing magazines can give you a good idea of what color and style to choose. An interior designer can give you expert advice on how to make the right choice.
4. Laminate is not as hard as some other materials used for countertops such as granite. Therefore you may want to combine laminate with granite to make your countertop more practical. The areas that receive the harshest treatment such as the cooking area and the washing area can be made of granite and the rest can be made of laminate. Care should be taken to blend the uniform color shade of laminate with the inconsistent pattern of granite.
Installing laminate countertops
Do not attempt to install laminate countertops on your own. Laminate requires sensitive handling, and can be damaged during installation by inexperienced individuals. Therefore, always have it installed by a professional.
If care is taken during installation, laminate countertops will not only look elegant, but also last longer. If not, you may face the following problems in the long run:
- Penetration of water into the layers
- Swelling up of the laminate
- Separating of layers
- Unsightly edges and loosening of trims
Ask the professional what type of a sink to install. Using an undermount sink may not be advisable as the laminate can get spoilt due to regular exposure to water from the side.
Maintaining laminate countertops
A little care can make a big difference and make laminate countertops last longer. If laminate countertops are not handled with care their layered structure can fall apart, making them irreparable.
- Always ask the manufacturer or contractor for instructions on how to maintain your countertop.
- Laminate countertops are easy to clean with mild soapy water and a soft cloth; so harsh cleaning liquids and chemical cleaners must be avoided, as they could damage the surface.
- It also becomes obvious that cutting jobs should never be done directly on the laminate surface; rather use a cutting board.
- Always use trivets or pot holders to place hot utensils on, and avoid placing heated pans or pots on the laminate surface as it can get burnt and discolored.
- Heavy utensils and appliances must never be dragged across the surface of laminate countertops, as laminate is prone to scratching.
- Laminate countertops can get chipped and damaged as a result of pounding or dropping heavy things on them. So take care to be gentle.