Laminate countertops are generally preferred by some homeowners due to their affordable costs compared to other countertop alternatives. Also, DIYers prefer laminate kitchen countertops since the installation requires less craftsmanship.
Nevertheless, laminate countertops are away from being a smart countertop choice, not even close. Although you can find good bargains such as lowes laminate countertops or shiny-looking ads like home depot laminate countertops, the following post will tell you about why you should consider other alternatives instead of laminate.
What Is A Laminate Countertop?
Laminate countertops are a mixture of plastic and resin. The mixture is laminated on paper or particleboard. Generally, the lamination copies some natural stones like granite or marble.
The kitchen sinks or bathroom sinks can be under-mounted by some manufacturers during the production; however, you need to buy a drop-in sink in many cases. Formica® and Wilsonart® are famous brand names, and many people even think that they are material names similar to laminate.
As the brand names might suggest, laminate countertops were very popular between the 40s and 60s. They are still available today since they look like granite countertops, not the quality. Being cheap and easy to install, laminate countertops appeal to DIYers with tight budgets.
How Thick Are Laminate Countertops?
Laminate countertops are usually composed of three layers. The first layer is the base made of heat-fused kraft paper sheets compressed on each other. The second layer is foil or printed paper giving the laminate the color and pattern that you see on the surface. Finally, on the top of them, a protective top layer is applied. This layer is transparent, and you can see the second layer through the third layer.
All of these layers are fused onto each other in the production process. The total laminate countertop thickness is generally 1,5 inches, but the manufacturers can also produce custom-made thickness in laminate countertops. Some people prefer to mimic the natural stone countertops or butcher’s block wood countertops with their laminate countertops so that they can use slightly different thicknesses like 1,16 inches.
How Much Are Laminate Countertops?
The cost of a square foot laminate countertop ranges from $20 to $60. Therefore, it makes laminate countertops one of the cheapest alternatives. Although the price can vary depending on the color and pattern selection, these countertops are mainly preferred due to their relatively affordable prices.
Why Should You Avoid Laminate Countertops? (INFOGRAFİK)
Any countertop is supposed to serve as a storage area, a cutting surface, or a decorative element in the kitchen design. There are many countertop options on the market, and laminate countertops are one of the least expensive ones. However, laminate kitchen countertops fail to serve as an ideal countertop option due to the following reasons. In order to help you understand the issue better, we will refer to the laminate vs. granite comparison when needed.
Some companies manufacture laminate countertops, and they tend to mimic the patterns and colors of granite stones. However, granite stones are completely natural, and since the mineral compositions vary in nature, it is hardly possible to find two exactly the same granite countertop color or pattern.
It means laminate countertops cannot offer you a unique appearance. Instead, you have to buy one of those uniform appearances dictated by the producer company.
2- Heat Resistance
You can never put hot items on a laminate countertop. If you buy a laminate countertop, you will be advised to use a heating pad between the hot items and the laminate countertop. This might sound practical at first, but you may be tired of this in the long term. However, granite or any other stones are resistant to heat, so you can directly put your hot items on them.
Laminate countertops are one of the least hard countertop alternatives you can get. They are made of softer materials such as paper and plastic, and thus they are not as hard as other countertop alternatives such as granite or quartz. However, laminate countertops are highly prone to cracks or water damages due to their softer structure. Granite, quartz, or marble is hard, and they are more resilient to damages.
Many people prefer under-mounted sinks over drop-in sinks as under-mounted sinks give a more integrated look. Although some special laminate countertops can provide you with an under-mounted sink, most of the laminate countertops require a drop-in sink.
Even if you buy a laminate countertop with an under-mounted sink, the installation needs more professionalism and delicacy, so the DIY option is crossed out, which is normally one of the most significant advantages of laminate countertops. On the other hand, under-mounted sinks are widespread in other stone-originated countertops.
The durability of the laminate countertops is closely related to the vulnerable surface due to the poorer hardness they offer. Unfortunately, durability is a big problem for many laminate countertops on the market.
Since the surface is laminated industrially, it can be delaminated in time due to applying excess water combined with some chemicals for maintenance. Also, cracks on the surface make it easier to be peeled. Granite and other stones, on the other hand, offer you greater hardness and thus durability.
Although laminate countertops are supposed to be low-maintenance countertop alternatives since they don’t require sealing, they are still more problematic when it comes to maintenance. Since they are scratched easily, you will need to repair them with some special repairing kits.
Considering the good bargain it offered at first, you can tolerate this countertop restoration job for a while. However, it will not take a long time for you to get tired of this.
7- ROI (Return on Investment)
Whatever improvement you make in your house, you should always think if your investment will add value to your home. Although laminate countertops are relatively inexpensive, they don’t look attractive after a few years of use. Thus, when you want to sell your house, laminate countertops may affect your selling negatively, as most homeowners would like to have a granite countertop rather than a laminate.
Many people buy a new house or get a new kitchen only a few times or less in their lives, and the cheaper doesn’t mean the better. But, by avoiding laminate countertops, you can make the most of your countertops and kitchen.