Dark laminate countertops lend a substantial look in the bath. Advancements in manufacturing allow for greater realism and richer textures. Photo courtesy of Formica Corporation.
Laminate is the go-to surface for many homeowners for their bathroom remodel. Formed from plastics bonded under pressure, laminate countertops resist moisture and require virtually no maintenance. New colors and patterns offer more—and better-looking—options than ever. A good choice for basic bath makeovers, it's fairly easy to install and quite economical.
Improvements in the manufacturing process have yielded a laminate that bears little resemblance to the 1950s staple. Marble, granite, slate, travertine, limestone, soapstone—all the breathtaking natural stone countertops have laminate doppelgangers. If stone's not your style, you can go retro with bright colors. If you want to go luxe with laminate, consider these factors:
- Measurements: Laminate is quite thin. Choose from a variety of edge options, including square, rolled, beveled or wrapped.
- Feel: The highest-end laminates are created with a cutting-edge print process and realistic finishes—that means surfaces contain subtle crevices and textures to feel more like the real thing.
- Practicality: A great bath option, laminate resists water and stains. Be careful with hot curling irons and straighteners, as it is not heat resistant. The surface can dull and wear over time, and heavy damage is difficult to repair.
- Sink Types: Options include drop-in, framed and vessel styles. Undermount sinks are now available from select manufacturers.
- Price: A wide range of cost options makes laminate a versatile choice. If you're staying in your home, buy the best you can afford for years of durability and style. If you want a quick update or are prepping your house for the market, choose a more economical option.
- Installation options: DIYers can tackle the job alone with a prefabricated surface, though pros generally do the best job.
- Eco-friendly choices: Some laminate styles contain recycled material and meet air-quality standards for low emissions.