Laminate Kitchen Countertop

This affordable surface comes in textures that mimic marble, granite and other pricier materials.
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Water-resistant laminate surfaces are ideal near the sink. A new innovation, this countertop is compatible with a seamless integrated sink for easy cleanup. Shown: Luna Winter. Photo courtesy of Wilsonart International

Water-resistant laminate surfaces are ideal near the sink. A new innovation, this countertop is compatible with a seamless integrated sink for easy cleanup. Shown: Luna Winter. Photo courtesy of Wilsonart International

By: Kim Hildenbrand

This countertop chameleon looks like more expensive materials, from elegant marble to rich granite, at a great value. The practical surface is impervious to water and stands up to stains and scratches. It also comes in a wide range of colors, patterns and textures. Laminate is heat sensitive and requires a trivet beneath cookware and candles. The low price tag makes it ideal for homeowners seeking a new look or prepping a house to sell.

What Is It? Laminate is composed of a melamine plastic surface atop layers of paper and plastic resins.

Laminate Kitchen Countertops

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Budget-Friendly Laminate Countertops

By far the most budget-friendly option, laminate countertops are enjoying a resurgence in popularity thanks to new patterns that resemble natural stone, wood or even quartz at a fraction of the cost. Retro, mid-century looks like the ubiquitous boomerang and bright, saturated colors are other trendy choices to consider.

Stone Look-Alike

This laminate countertop was produced with advanced printing technology to closely mimic natural slate, complete with ivory and green veining. The surface is available in five finish options. Shown: 180fx Slate Sequoia. Photo courtesy of Formica Corporation

Luxurious Options

The best of both worlds: These laminate surfaces mimic creamy taupe marble and dramatic black marble for a luxurious appearance rich with contrast. Shown: Calcutta Marble and Black Alicante. Photo courtesy of Wilsonart International

Realistic Patterns

This laminate countertop mimics granite, with swirls of blue, brown and gold, and exotic veining. Some finishes feature subtle clefts and fissures for added realism. Shown: 180fx Blue Storm. Photo courtesy of Formica Corporation

Imitation Granite Countertop in Traditional White Kitchen

This granite look-alike from Wilsonart is actually laminate but unlike previous laminate countertops features a more realistic, larger stone pattern and rounded edge for a high-end granite look at a fraction of the price. Image courtesy of Wilsonart

Stylish Integrated Sink

Water-resistant laminate surfaces are ideal near the sink. A new innovation, this countertop is compatible with a seamless integrated sink for easy cleanup. Shown: Luna Winter. Photo courtesy of Wilsonart International

Pick a Color

High-pressure laminate countertop is a stylish choice that’s easy on the budget. The durable surface is available in a wide variety of colors. Shown: Mineral Ochre. Photo courtesy of Formica Corporation

Travertine-Look Solid Surface Kitchen Countertop

Travertine is synonymous with luxury, and that comes at a cost. The natural variation in the warm-colored stone is aesthetically appealing, but you may feel a little more cooly toward it once you calculate the cost of using slabs of travertine on your kitchen counters. Formica has developed a solid-surface material that is affordable (compared to the pricey natural stones) and nicely mimics their look and feel. If you’re considering travertine but want to look at a more budget-friendly option, try Formica’s solid surface countertops in Travertine Gold.

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  1. kitchens

Photo By: Formica

Wood Laminate Countertop

The light wood color found in the trim and ceiling is picked up again in the laminate countertop, which is durable and keeps the space feeling airy. A chrome faucet, stainless steel sink and galvanized aluminum backsplash reflect light around the kitchen.

Photo By: Don Hamilton Studio

Soapstone-Look Laminate Kitchen Countertop

Soapstone has been used for centuries as a countertop, and its popularity endures, as do the countertops themselves: soapstone fans swear by their durability. These slabs of stability don't come cheap, though, and while prices vary, you'll likely be looking at upwards of $80 per square foot. This laminate lookalike boasts a more realistic, natural stone look.

Tags: 
  1. kitchens

Photo By: Formica

Considerations When Choosing Laminate Countertops

Thickness, Overhangs and Edges. Laminate countertops have a standard thickness of an inch and a half, though fabricators can produce various thicknesses. Some homeowners prefer a thicker countertop to mimic stone. Standard overhang is an inch and a quarter to an inch and a half; longer overhangs are possible, but those longer than 6 inches may require additional support. Edge options abound, from standard (such as straight, waterfall and bullnose) to decorative (such as ogee and beveled) and even custom. For a decorative twist, laminate countertops also can be wrapped with a band of stainless steel, wood or solid surfacing.

Design Details. With laminate, edge options abound. While square or rolled edges are common, laminate can also be beveled or wrapped with a band of stainless steel, wood or solid surface for a twist on traditional.

Laminate has come a long way. Remember those visible seams? They can all but disappear with an experienced fabricator—and prefab laminate, custom-fit to your kitchen, eliminates the issue altogether. And for years, integrated sinks—with no lip for catching crumbs—were reserved for stone and solid surfacing, but they are available for use with some laminate countertops. An extra cost applies, and professional installation is required.

Luxury Laminate. Thanks to manufacturing advances, laminate has gone luxurious. Newer styles more closely than ever mimic the look of high-end surfaces including marble, travertine, soapstone and slate. To achieve the realism, designers rely on new printing technology paired with premium finishes that feature subtle crevices, minute fissures and authentic veining that echo the surface of stone. Some even incorporate materials such as shell fragments and marine life.

Maintenance. Wipe the countertop with a soft cloth and warm water daily. Mild household cleansers are suitable. Wipe up spills immediately.

The Bottom Line. Laminate countertops are a stylish, versatile option for any kitchen. Ease of cleaning makes it great around the sink. Serious chefs may relegate it to lesser-utilized areas.

Next Up

Solid-Surface Kitchen Countertop

An alternative to stone, this manufactured material is a versatile and elegant option.

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