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Reading: A Quick Guide to Laminate Countertops

A Quick Guide to Laminate Countertops

September 14, 2021
4 min read

The search for countertop materials is never a simple one. With the wide variety of materials available in the market, it can be an overwhelming experience, especially when you are a new homeowner. Many homeowners opt for countertop materials that they regret later on. Whether you opt for laminate, quartz, soapstone or even granite countertops, you must gather all the information needed to make an informed decision before you buy. 

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What is laminate?  

Laminate is made of tightly pressed layers of paper that form a rigid and thin sheet. This thin sheet is then glued onto kitchen materials. It is the most common material used to imitate stone countertop materials such as marble and granite. Although most homeowners and buyers prefer stone countertops such as quartz, laminate kitchen countertops are still very common in modern kitchens, especially for DIY enthusiasts.  

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Laminate countertops guide 

Replacing countertops is an impactful way to give your kitchen a fresh look. While installing or resurfacing laminate countertops is not difficult, it is best to hire a professional. 

Here are some tips if you choose laminate countertops.  

Test your preferred laminate countertop colours 

Laminate kitchen countertops are available in a wide variety of designs and colours. While options are nice, it can make it harder to select your colour of choice. Bringing home a selection of colour chips and testing them in your space for several days places you in a better position when choosing your laminate material.  

Even though laminate is a durable material, it can easily scratch if not handled with care and dark-coloured laminate is more prone to showing scratches than lighter colours. A ColourCore laminate is a great option because it has a thicker colour layer that goes all the way through without the dark edges seen on regular laminate. Unfortunately, it costs four times more than the standard laminate. Considering this significant price jump,  quartz countertops are much better value for your money. 

The cost  

Laminate is a low-cost countertop material, with a price range of $8 to $20 per square foot. Even with this low-cost material, you may end up spending more money to repair and replace your laminate than you would other kitchen countertops. While other stone countertop materials are more expensive initially, consider the durability and long-term maintenance cost when making a purchase. The cost of quartz countertops ranges between $95 and $105. While this is pricey compared to laminate countertops, the durability properties of quartz countertops makes it superior, regardless of the initial cost.  

The installation process 

While laminate countertops can be a DIY project, installation mistakes can be costly. Hiring a qualified professional will help ensure the installation is done correctly and save you a lot of time and money. If you are experienced with home improvement projects and opt to carry out the installation yourself, take great care to avoid mistakes. If using contact cement to bind the laminate with the kitchen surface, be confident about the placement of the laminate. Once bound together, it cannot be undone. 

Durability 

We all want durable kitchen countertops. Purchasing a surface that requires extensive and expensive maintenance is a poor investment. Laminate is durable countertop material. However, the top layer is prone to wear and damage from small sharp objects, such as knives. While you can try to prevent these accidents, it may be impossible to avoid them entirely, especially if the kitchen is busy. As such, you will need to carry out regular maintenance once the wear becomes more visible. Using a more durable kitchen countertop material is an ideal solution. Quartz countertops are abrasion-resistant and show minimal wear. Providing regular care is maintained, your quartz surface can go for years without and extensive maintenance. 

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Heat resistance 

When it comes to kitchen countertops, heat is the most sensitive component. Heat is unavoidable in a kitchen. If you fail to protect your laminate countertop, it can be damaged by the heat. Heat damage on laminate countertops is irreparable. You must be extra careful with hot items, be it appliances, mugs, or even food. If you find yourself forgetting to use heat protectors or even placing hot pots on the countertops, consider getting quartz countertops instead. While quartz countertops are not heat-resistant, damage caused by heat is easily repairable and you will not be left with a permanent stain. 

Countertop thickness and overhangs 

While high-end laminates can replicate the look of natural stone, they can never duplicate natural stone. Laminate countertops usually have a standard thickness, and additional overhang requires extra support. If you prefer a thicker stone or an extended overhang, then quartz wins unopposed.  

Conclusion 

While laminate is a good kitchen countertop, it does not provide the value of a quartz kitchen countertop. It is impossible to fill or repair laminate scratches. The only option is to replace the whole countertop if your laminate kitchen countertop sustains scratches or burn marks. With quartz, most burn marks, cracks, and scratches can be repaired without replacing the whole countertop. With proper care, quartz can last a lifetime.