Like all of the days you spent playing dress up as a kid, the laminate kitchen countertop is a master at imitating its more expensive friends, such as granite and marble.
Laminate countertops are made from layers of plastic that are bonded to particleboard or kraft paper to create a solid countertop surface. These countertops are available in a wide variety of colors, textures and patterns, ranging from options that look like marble to ones that mirror the appearance of stainless steel. The end result is a clean and finished surface that won't put a huge strain on your budget.
Because of its lightweight nature –– as opposed to heavy stone countertops –– laminate can easily be installed without professional help. This, of course, adds to its cost-efficient nature. Laminate will have to be replaced more frequently than more durable surfaces, like marble or Corian, but with the right care it can last for many years.
Laminate counters can scratch easily, so don't use them as cutting boards. Also, avoid placing hot items directly onto the countertop to prevent damage. Clean the surface with a mild soap.