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Improving the Home Improvement Experience
 

FOR THE LOVE OF LAMINATE: A NEW GENERATION OF COUNTERTOPS

 

Jane Noble

by Jane Noble

Sep. 09, 2016


FOR THE LOVE OF LAMINATE: A NEW GENERATION OF COUNTERTOPS

Laminate is not what is used to be and that is a really good thing. Your kitchen remodel ideas need not revolve only around granite. There have been fantastic improvements in quality and even more in design. Laminate used to be cheap, and look cheap. Now laminate can save you a huge amount of money on your kitchen renovation, but without compromising style and good looks. There is a product to fit every design aesthetic.

WHAT IS LAMINATE?

Countertop laminate is a paper based product made by bonding melamine treated decorative papers with resin treated kraft paper under high heat and pressure. It is finished off with a wear layer made from wood fibers.

IS LAMINATE GREEN?

Well it comes in a green color but is not considered a truly “green” product, as it cannot be fully recycled. However manufacturers such as Wilsonart have made responsible improvements in processes to ensure minimal impact on the environment. They do not use formaldehyde resins, as was common in the past. The company provides detailed sustainability information on its website. Both Wilsonart and Formica are Green Guard certified.

WHAT ARE SOME REASONS FOR CHOOSING LAMINATE?

  • Laminate is inexpensive compared to other countertop surfaces. Even in the upper range it is about a third of the cost of marble or granite - a considerable saving for your kitchen renovation 

  • Laminate is moisture proof and easy to clean

  • It is durable and has improved scratch resistance

  • It comes in a multitude of designs and can brilliantly mimic wood, marble, granite, quartz, stone and metal

  • The possibilities are endless in terms of color and texture

  • It is easy to install and can be cut to any shape

HOW HAS LAMINATE IMPROVED?

Advances in photographic and printing techniques have made it possible to recreate high quality images that cannot be distinguished from the real thing. Unique patterns can be produced up to five feet wide, so a whole countertop can be cut without any repeated patterns. Kitchen designers are embracing laminate and creating their own unique collections. For example Jonathan Adler has a new collection for Formica that is described as chic, bold and eclectic. Original laminate had an ugly dark line along the edge where the seams met. Decorative and rounded edges now give the product a more seamless, higher end look.

HOW DO YOU CARE FOR LAMINATE?

Everyday cleaning is as easy as wiping the surface down with a damp cloth. Spills should be mopped up quickly and mild detergent used for any stubborn stains. Don’t let water sit on or near the joints. Remember, laminate is made from paper. Wilsonart’s HD laminates have added antimicrobial protection and an extra scratch and scuff layer for enhanced durability. Even with that extra coating, laminates don’t like knives. Don’t use your surface as a chopping board. And don’t tenderize that steak with a hammer. Try using a large glass or acrylic cutting board. You can leave it handy on the counter and it is hardly noticeable. I wouldn’t risk putting a hot pot onto your laminate counter regardless of what the manufacturer says. Damage will be permanent and laminate cannot be repaired.  Just use a trivet.

WHAT KIND OF WARRANTY DOES LAMINATE COME WITH?

This will depend on the brand and the quality of the laminate you choose but most companies provide a limited one year warranty against manufacturer’s defects.

I love seeing a once much maligned product take on a new persona and strut its stuff with such confidence. Choosing laminate over more expensive solid slabs may help you afford more of the items on your kitchen wish list. Now that’s a great kitchen remodel idea.

     

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