Laminate Countertops - am I crazy

splatsMay 7, 2010

OK, need some input, this is driving me crazy.

I have a farely large amount of kitchen countertop space. right now it is ALL (counter & backsplash) in those old 6" white tiles and I hate the look.

I am actually thinking about redoing the countertops with one of the high-end laminates because it's all I can afford right now and I'm really getting tired of looking at all the white tile. I'm not selling the house until I die in about another 20-40 yrs so that is not an issue.

Soooo - am I crazy to think about going from the tile to laminate. thanks so much. /Steve

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nope. If that's what you can afford, it's worth doing! Some of them are really cool looking.

I can't wait to demolish our white tile/icky grout countertops.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 11:04PM
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No you're not crazy. There are a lot of great looking laminates and if you like it go for it. I'm sure someone will add a post letting you know how inexpensive some granites are if you prefer granite. I'm not particularly fond of granite and I actually like laminate but I'm also not very concerned about having whatever is currently popular. That might be more important to you.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 11:23PM
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Before my recent remodel, all my countertops had been laminate. I loved them. Sanitation was no worry - I washed them with bleach after having prepared chicken. You can't do that with any other countertop and maybe you can't do it now with the new laminates (check before using).

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 11:30PM
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nope. I like laminate. it's what I have now (the very old kind), what's in my 'new' place (rather old) and what I'll replace it with - new laminate. They have great laminates out there now. the newer 'look like granite' ones are more expensive tho. lucky for me i had already picked out one of the regular ones by Formica and still like it best. I also don't like shiny and it isn't!

I've always sanitized my laminate with bleach water also. will have to test the sample for my future laminate - it has color and a pattern. all my prev laminates were beige and solid. daily cleaning just dish soap and water - for periodic cleaning of it I use scrubbing bubbles.

laminates have great pluses to it. cheaper, dishes won't break as easily if dropped on it, easier to sanitize. And since it doesn't cost a blooming fortune if you tire of it or the color in 5 or 10 yrs you can replace it w/o feeling as wasteful.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 11:49PM
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I have 34 year old white formica in my kitchen and it still looks great and is incredibly easy to clean and care for. I'm getting granite because I want a natural stone countertop. But I've had many second thoughts about leaving behind such a great and practical product.

I just put a formica counter over my washer and dryer. I love it. It looks great.

I would hate tile on my kitchen countertops. Do what you like. It's your kitchen!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 12:50AM
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We did laminate. We had it cut and then installed it ourselves. It's what fit our budget. I love the look and the convenience.

That being said, my son now works for a granite fabricator and one day (not soon) will be fabricating and installing granite for us at cost!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 12:57AM
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You're not crazy. Some of the rest of the world has gone crazy with countertops but it's their hobbyhorse that you don't have to ride unless you choose to.

You are making a choice that is affordable, practical, sensible, useful, and--depending on the quality of your taste--very custom in design.

I have found lately that magazines and other kitchen print pieces entirely ignore laminate as an option. New people to GW may feel pressured to overbuy on a "higher end" product because that's all they hear and read about. Glad that you have mentioned it here.

We're building a 12 x 16 G-shaped kitchen. That's a lot of countertop. Laminate is a sensible, affordable choice for this house. Making a choice among all the laminate design options was a hard task.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 1:00AM
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We all love our pretty laminate in our pricey beach house.

I think laminate is smart.

Enjoy and don't think of others, just you.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 1:27AM
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You aren't crazy at all. Pre circa 2000 I'd never even seen granite in a kitchen. I had cooked happily on Formica my whole life without a worry, complaint, or fear that I was "missing something". I know all the reasons we TKO types have come to lust after granite, marble, and other natural stones -- they are beautiful. But laminates have much to recommend as well. If I had a large kitchen I would certainly consider doing the longest run of my counters in laminate.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 6:03AM
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I'm having laminate installed in my kitchen - and cannot wait! Suggest you get more than one estimate. I got a second price which was twice what first company is charging!

I've chosen Wilsonart Crystalline Shell. Has a lovely sheen and feels like silk. Wilsonart will send free samples - several of the same pattern, and as many choices as you want. Formica will do the same, but I think they limit patterns to five choices. You can also order 8x11 (I think) samples for $1/per.

Found my pattern at the shop - a 5' section cut-off from a recent job. That decided it for me - get the overall look and have moved it around to see how it looks in different light.

Go for it! Amazing value for the $$s.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 6:53AM
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The new HD laminates can look very much like stone, depending on the edge treatment and how absoltely flat your substrate is. A wavy countertop shouts "laminate".

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 9:38AM
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I don't like tiled counters either, and would use laminate in a heartbeat. Easy to clean, practically bulletproof, and so reasonably priced that you won't feel guilty changing it in 10 years if you get tired of it.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 10:10AM
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Circus Peanut

Go for it! And I wouldn't personally choose one of the stone imitations -- I think those will date very quickly, just like the fake butcherblock ones did from the '70's -- get something that celebrates the surface for what it is. Solid glossy formica colors are lovely in a countertop, and the various textures can be great too.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 10:13AM
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If you have gotten out of the habit of using them, remember that laminate demands that you use trivets under hot pans. Another possibility is using granite tiles.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 2:26PM
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Oh I so understand your dilema. Last year at this exact
time I was hating my 4 by 4 ugly white tile with dirty
grout. Cleaning peanut butter and jelly between grout
lines was not only time consuming but a true pia.
I would have been happy to have plywood before having
to endure cleaning between the tiny grout lines.
Formica, Wilsonart and other laminates are improved
and quite beautiful.

Vermonteer posted the same question you asked. Link below.
Laminates have come a long long way from the orange
formica with trimmed metal my mom used to have. And with
all your counter space you will find it is a good choice.
Here are some images so you can see how pretty it will


Formica with beveled edge

Formica Madras Indian Slate color



White Wilsonart

Here is a link that might be useful: Laminate counter tops in otherwise luxurious kitchen? Any advice?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 3:05PM
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I agree that the craze for granite is not reachable for all of us. I am remodeling and will choose formica. Just be careful with the edging. By the time I priced the high def formica in OGEE (curvy edge) it was no longer in the budget I had set. It's like carpet, does anyone really "LOVE" it after 10 - 15 years anyhow?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 4:38PM
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I had things I wanted to spend money on and fancier counters just wasn't a top priority. Grout lines would definitely annoy me, as we use our counters often for baking. I've had laminate counters my whole life and never disliked them, so we have laminate on most of our countertops in our new house (island has DIY wood, and we put stainless on either side of the rangetop because we knew a guy who could do that easily). I am perfectly happy I decided on laminate over expensive stone that wouldn't make my kitchen function any better for me. I don't ever feel I have to baby it, and I appreciate that.

It seems like the recent trends in remodeling have definitely gotten more friendly concerning the use of economical choices and spending money only where it's most important to you.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 7:31PM
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Laminate is a far far better choice than tile. Tile in a kitchen is insanely hard to keep really clean. There are MANY really interesting and attractive laminate patterns now.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 7:32PM
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I looked at stone, concrete, corian, et cet. . .decided on laminate and a cooking vacation to Italy or France!! Laminate is in. . .vacation in planning stages.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 7:56PM
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There are some really attractive laminates out there. A friend has "oiled soapstone" by Wilsonart and I really like it.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 11:18PM
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Oh my's laminates are so beautiful, I say go for it. The look of tile is nice, but the grout is so hard to keep up with. If you are ready for a change it is a good way to go. Great pictures posted here too, there are a lot of options.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 1:16AM
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Well, we didn't chose it. It was in the house when we purchased. BUT, that being said, we have had laminate in our kitchen for the last 12 years. It's UGLY (with a capital U) but that's not it's fault. It has served us well. It's been durable. Easy to clean. The install was done well. Other than the color choice, it's been a super surface for cooking, cleaning and projects. It's been through the ringer in our home and has stood well to all the challenges we have thrown at it. Just would have picked a different color/pattern than the original owners but there's no accounting for taste.

I say go for it. The stuff is nearly indestructible. Cost effective and it comes in a host of colors and patterns.

Find one you like and run with it.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 2:50PM
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I'm so glad to hear I'm not alone.

A KD recently asked me what I'd be willing to give up. While I love honed granite (polished doesn't speak to me at all), I'd gladly give it up if it meant I could have a better functioning layout without breaking the bank. I'd keep my current sink and faucet to save even more money. At a future date when we can afford it, we would upgrade, either for us to enjoy or for resale (1 realtor and 2 real estate appraisers have told us that people expect granite or quartz in homes in our neighborhood). Opting for laminate now means we wouldn't have to compromise on things that are more important to us.

We're getting the Wilsonart oiled soapstone counters in our laundry room (just as soon as I find an electrician for that project, that is).

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 3:45PM
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