Laminate Countertops

If budget is a top concern, then a laminate countertop may be the best choice for your kitchen surface. Find out the pros and cons of laminate and why laminate might be a good option for you.

September 28, 2020
Appetizers on a white and gray watercolor-patterned countertop.

Watercolor-inspired Countertop from Formica Group

Appetizers on a white and gray watercolor-patterned budget-friendly laminate countertop.

Photo by: Formica Group

Formica Group

By: Caroline Shannon-Karasik

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.

Inspired Examples of Laminate Kitchen Countertops

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What Is Laminate?

Often associated with Formica and other cheap countertops that rose to popularity in the Fifties and Sixties, laminate countertops are made from layers of plastic that are bonded to particleboard or kraft paper to create a strong solid countertop surface.

Though many homebuyers still prefer natural stone and granite countertops, today's high-pressure laminates (HPLs) are far more durable, better made and come in a wider variety of looks than the '50s and '60s-style laminates we often think of. Laminate countertops have much to recommend them, especially for the DIYer concerned about keeping renovation costs low.

Laminate 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.

Laminate Pros and Cons

Pros

Ease of Installation

Because of its lightweight nature — as opposed to heavy stone countertops — laminate can easily be installed without professional help.

Low Cost

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.

Cons

Durability

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. Laminates are also susceptible to burns and chipping, which is one downside.

Over time, laminate countertops can suffer from delamination, especially from water damage. It is difficult to repair delamination and in most cases, you will need to replace the entire countertop.

Lifespan

Inexpensive-Kitchen-Countertops_s4x3

Inexpensive-Kitchen-Countertops_s4x3

Laminate countertops are an inexpensive, low-maintenance alternative to pricey stone and solid-surface countertops, and they are available in many styles that mimic expensive surfaces such as granite or marble. Laminate countertops are not resistant to heat and can scratch.

Photo by: Scott Dorrance

Scott Dorrance

Laminate countertops are an inexpensive, low-maintenance alternative to pricey stone and solid-surface countertops, and they are available in many styles that mimic expensive surfaces such as granite or marble. Laminate countertops are not resistant to heat and can scratch.

How to Paint Laminate Countertops

New kitchen countertops can be an expensive upgrade. Transform your kitchen without breaking the bank by priming and painting your existing laminate counters.

Relatively short compared to stone, stainless steel or concrete.

Laminate Costs

Laminate is often a great choice for homeowners concerned about the cost of more expensive surfaces like quartz, soapstone, marble or solid-surface materials. To see a rough estimate of the cost of popular countertop options, see below:

  • Solid-surface (i.e. Corian): $35-65 per square foot
  • Laminate: $8-40 per square foot
  • Granite: $45-200 per square foot
  • Quartz: $55-155 per square foot
  • Stainless steel: $80-100 per square foot
  • Marble: $75-250 per square foot
  • Concrete: $65-135 per square foot
  • Travertine: $50-100 per square foot
  • Butcher block: $35-250 per square foot
  • Ceramic tile: $10-35 per square foot
  • Soapstone: $70-120 per square foot

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