laminate instead of granite - budget cut

sprice5105June 17, 2008

We are building a home and of course are over budget. (I know, that is shocking, no one ever goes over budget when building!)

I have gotten pretty much every upgrade I want (tile shower, built in entertainment center, hardiplank siding, etc.) but now to save a little money I am thinking of going with a laminate countertop instead of granite.

The price difference is $3500 - $4000 for granite versus $980.00 for the laminate. The laminate is really close to the granite I want so I think it will look okay (New Venetian Gold granite and Milano Quartz laminate by Wilsonart if anyone is familiar).

By choosing the laminate instead of granite it will cover the expense of the stone work we would like to have done on the exterior of the house.

I told a friend yesterday what I had decided to do and she was appalled that I would build such a nice home and then install laminate to save some money. Now I am feeling kind of like a loser. I know I shouldn't let her comments make me feel that way but do you think everyone that comes to my house will think "Gosh, that is a really nice house, too bad she didn't use granite!"?

We just think we can change to granite in a couple years if it seems that important to us for not much trouble.

Of course, from reading this board it seems that every kitchen needs granite or soapstone counters.

Surely someone here has used laminate and has a beautiful kitchen...

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sprice, my next door neighbor did a rather high-end remodel of her home. It took me forever to realize her countertops were not granite. They looked great. I think it would be easier to later replace the laminate countertops than to later do the exterior stone work.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 1:20PM
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Hi Sprice5105!

I totally agree with your way of thinking on to use laminate now so you can use stone in front of your home. It is much easier and probably, less trouble to replace a countertop later than it is to put stonework up later. Know what I mean?

I have laminate-Formica's line that is similar to WilsonArt's high definition line and I love it! There was a $3000 difference between laminate and the basic granite from HD ( I didn't bother going to a granite yard) and I wanted to get my hardwood floors redone with the difference saved. I also thought- laminate worked for my mom and her mom and my aunts,etc. and as long it was made properly, I'm all for it. My laminate wasn't off the shelf that HD/Lowe's stocked.

Please don't be swayed by popular opinion- because it will change with the tide of fashion. Do what is good for you/what will work for you. If you want an opinion on granite vs stonework I say go with the stonework (my reasoning is in the 1st paragraph).

Wish you the best of luck in your home build! Did you design your home?


    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 1:21PM
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Agreeing with above posters. Much easier to change out a counter than add stone to the exterior ex post facto.

This is from Studer Designs site:

"If granite or high end counter tops are too costly for your budget consider using the higher end product on the island and a nice laminate on the remaining counter. The mixing of finishes and colors is perfectly acceptable in todayâÂÂs décor."

Here is a link that might be useful: Build Small and Live Large

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 1:34PM
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I put Wilsonart High Def countertops in my kitchen. I actually really love them (did them in November of 2006). We thought about granite and soapstone, but since we weren't gutting the kitchen I knew that I'd eventually want to upgrade my cabinets and wouldn't want to rip out new granite to do so. Everyone really likes the Wilsonart Hi Def, I get lots of positive feedback on them -- primarily people saying that you don't have to have granite to have an attractive kitchen.

I was watching "Spice Up My Kitchen" last week and they gutted a kitchen to upgrade it. The owner was given the choice of new cabinets, new hardwood floors and Wilsonart Hi Def or tile floors, new cabinets and a quartz countertop. She selected the hi-def laminate option and it looked great. And that was a brand new kitchen!!

I think the wiser choice is to go with the stone upgrade on the front of your home and go with the laminate, knowing that in a few years you can upgrade to granite or soapstone if you really want to.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 1:47PM
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Laminate's a perfectly fine countertop material. While I was hoping our budget would stretch to quartz, the unexpected replacement of HVAC and the high cost of moving plumbing forced us to scale back.

Note - if you choose straight edges, make sure you see a sample of the fabricator's work first!!! We chose a straight/square edge on our Basalt Slate (Formica) and were horrified to see the white underlayer of the laminate on every edge. I've seen similar countertops fabricated elsewhere and there was no white visible. So ask to see samples of your chosen edge!

We recently replaced the stools with adjustable swivels in black, but here's a pic to give you an idea of how laminate can look:

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 1:53PM
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Another agreement vote. Do the stone on the outside. It will be with the house forever. The countertop can (and will be) changed out many times in the life of the home.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 1:53PM
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That looks great, Abbycat! Agree with everyone else, Sprice. Laminate's a good choice is actually a very nice material and not cold to lean on. Who knows, in a couple of years you may decide to tour Greece instead.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 2:01PM
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Hmm, the above pic doesn't show the texture well. See this--and note edge!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 2:05PM
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My SIL lives in a McMansion. She has laminate countertops in her kitchen.
Over the years she has continued to upgrade areas of her home. The kitchen will be last because it has held up so well. The formica still looks fine.
Your friend probably said what she did because she doesn't know anyone who has done this and so it came as a total surprise to her. If she had listened first to the whole story (including why you are considering this - it's way cheaper to have the stone work done now and do the granate upgrade later), her response probably would have been different. But, she responded without giving the matter as much thought as you have - hence a very different response.

I vote for laminate. It can look very nice (unlike the hideous 45 year old stuff in my kitchen! LOL) and I doubt that you will regret your decision in the long run.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 2:08PM
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Abbycat, your countertop looks great!

I agree with everyone else here. The countertops are the easiest thing to change. I would caution against using something that is supposed to look like granite stone. I think people will probably think to themselves "Gosh, that is a really nice house, too bad she didn't use granite!" Use the black, because Abbycat's really looks like honed black granite or soapstone!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 2:10PM
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Sprice, my advice to you is to use prefab granite counters and DIY it. It is not too difficult. You can purchase all the tools online (grinder, diamond blade, epoxy) and four strong men :)

look at these fab prefabs. You can do the entire kitchen for about $1500 depending on how many sq ft you have.
Most wall counters and islands were between $150 - $500 depending on size and color. They even have 5'x8' prefab island tops.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 2:15PM
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I rather liked my laminate countertops in my old house. They were really pretty and were so easy to maintain.

We moved 2 1/2yrs ago and my "new" pre-owned house had white laminate which I HATED for the obvious reasons, it stained and every speck of everything showed on it.

We are planning on selling this house and building in the next 2yrs or so (when the market picks up again) so we spoke to a few realtors. In our area EVERY new home has granite in the kitchen and they said having lamiate would detract from the value so we went with a simple level 2 granite for resale purposes.

I'll tell you what too...granite makes me nervous! lol We never had it before and I'm not used to the hardness of it. I feel like I have to be soooo gentle with my dishes and bowls and I'm always afraid I'm going to etch or stain the stone. I also can't figure out an easy way to clean it. With my laminate I'd just spray it down with 409 and wipe it with a sponge. I don't think I can use 409 on the counter so I'm stuck with a soapy sponge and rinsing and then drying (because it leaves streaks if I don't dry)'s a process and maybe I just haven't found the right cleaner yet.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the way it looks and the feel of it but I'm just used to laminate so this is foreign territory for me.

Anyway, long story short...go with the laminate and get the upgrades that are harder to deal with and more costly to do as a renovation.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 2:18PM
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We did exactly what you are suggesting. We have a lot of custom touches to our home, the flooring we wanted, a Wolf rangetop, etc...But I breathed a sigh of relief the day I stopped trying to fit stone counters into the budget. We will never be able to afford granite, though--It's just not that high of a priority for us. Someday we might replace our laminate with concrete counters, so made sure to do our laminate counters the right thickness for more easily making the change later. We now have a combination of stainless steel counters, laminate, and are just about ready to install the wood top we made for our island. When finished, I think our kitchen will be so cool that no one will even notice it's 'missing' granite. And if anyone thinks that, I really don't care. I have to pay the bills, not them.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 2:20PM
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I may have to do the same thing. I want granite and am building the house on a VERY tight budget. But countertops will be one of the last purchases I'll have to make. I may end up using IKEA butcher block for now, because it will be easier to pull them out and install granite than a plywood and laminate top. I can do the IKEA for $550 or granite for around $3500. Do what you have to do for now, and change out what you can later on.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 2:28PM
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Sprice -- maybe your friend comes from a 70's-laminate counter background, and is not aware how nice laminate looks today. My 25-year-old light yellow laminate is holding up pretty well. When it stains (kool aid, etc.), I use a little baking soda and white vinegar to scrub it away. I still want to get rid of it, mind you, but wouldn't mind replacing it w/ an updated laminate.

Abbycat, does the white at the edge still horrify you, or do you not notice it so much anymore? If you had to do it again, would you choose a different edge to avoid that? And...moving off topic for a you mind if I ask why you got the black stools? I like the red ones in the picture; they were a nice accent. I'm sure black ones look great, too.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 2:33PM
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I love the kitchen I've linked below. Counter tops are laminate. Did I mention that I love the kitchen I've linked below?

(BTW, I just cruised the FKB for the first time in at least a few weeks. WOW, can you believe all the beautiful kitchens in there? And, another huge thanks to Starpooh for creating the blog. Wow.)

Here is a link that might be useful: marylynnnc's kitchen

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 2:36PM
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Honest opinion: counters are one of those places that people look at when determining whether a kitchen/home is "upscale." If you're going for custom/upscale finishes, I'd extend those choices to the countertop (or at least replace the laminate once your budget recovers a bit).

Have you considered butcher block? It can be much cheaper than granite, but has a more high-end look than laminate. I have a strong preference for natural materials and would skimp on other places in the kitchen before counters.

If you end up going with laminate, I'd avoid going with a granite look-alike.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 2:43PM
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Thanks everyone! I feel better now and think I am definitely making the right choice for us and our budget.

Abbycat - love your counters and so glad you posted those pictures, I was thinking of using the soapstone looking one for my bathroom vanity. I like yours better than the Wilsonart one, I will look for the Formica one!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 2:45PM
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- does the white at the edge still horrify you, or do you not notice it so much anymore?
Hardly notice it and have not ever gotten around to coloring it with a sharpie (per KD suggestion--LOL!)

- If you had to do it again, would you choose a different edge to avoid that?
Nope. We wanted a sleek look. But I wish I'd seen the other kitchen (friend of a friend's house) first so I could've ask where they got their counters fabricated. Sigh.. Next kitchen...

- do you mind if I ask why you got the black stools? I like the red ones in the picture.
The red ones date back to when the just completed kitchen was painted white. We got the red stools for some "pop" and they certainly fulfill that purpose! Not quite high enough for my liking, and also too low for DD, so we got the adjustables linked below. As we've repainted in BM Masada (AURA), I thought we needed to go with black and not continue to compete with the walls. As it turns out, the black stools are comfy and suit DD well, however, they add no "pop" and kind of drain the kitchen of color--horrors!

Here is a link that might be useful: New stools

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 3:48PM
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We recently built and we did the same thing. We went with laminate in the kitchen and used the extra cash for other upgrades that were a lot harder to upgrade later, like 9 foot ceilings on first floor, site finished hard wood floors, upgraded windows, etc. In fact, we also installed vinyl flooring (oh my gosh the horror!) in our kitchen, dining room, half bath and upstairs baths.
We have since put porcelain tile downstairs to replace the vinyl and the backspash, and will later this year be doing the upstairs baths with tile.
I'll probably replace my laminate someday...but it's not on my list of priorities. I had laminate in my last home for over 11 years and I kind of like it! It is easy to maintain, and I don't care if anything horrible happens to it!


    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 4:05PM
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mom2sethc's a pic of my "low end" kitchen. I have a wilsonart high def laminate with a beveled edge.



    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 4:15PM
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I did both!

Of course, I didn't build this house but when we moved in it was 8 years old and the exposed part of the walk out foundation was cement block. Within a year we upgraded it to real limestone and had some other exterior work done on expanding the patio.

This year I upgraded the old laminate countertop to granite. I never did like the laminate but it was the stainless steel sink that really appalled me. All in all I'm glad we did the exterior first and agree with the other posters that you can change out the counter easily.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 5:06PM
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We built our house 13 yrs. ago and put in a neutral laminate countertop that had a white beveled edge (to tie in with the white tiles of the backsplash) It looked really nice and was very easy to maintain. Two months ago, we finally replaced the countertops with granite even though they were in perfect shape. It was easy getting the old counters off. They were just screwed down. The tough part was getting the tiles off the backsplash (wanted new backsplash as well) That was a pain! Anyway, as others have said, you can always upgrade the countertops later. Go for the stone on the outside of the house!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 7:00PM
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Cind11 said: The tough part was getting the tiles off the backsplash

I'm putting most of our mosaic backsplash on plywood then screwing the whole project to the wall...Easier to do the tile project working flat, and easy to remove if we tire of it, or want to replace the counter without wrecking it. It's highly unlikely that it's the way Bill V. would do it, but I think it'll work.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 7:09PM
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I'm putting in laminate as my "temporary" counters (read: next 10 years) because it will help keep costs down during the remodel and because it is so easy to maintain so I won't worry about the kids (or DH for that matter) forgetting to wipe up some tomato sauce or what-have-you and ruining counters. When they're grown and/or more civilized in about 10 years or so and our budget has recovered, then I'll replace them with something fancy when it's time to refresh the kitchen once again.

My favorite laminate are the Wilsonart Soapstone counters. They feel wonderful. I'm going to do a bullnose edge for easy cleaning, comfort when leaning against the counter, and so that no seams are visible.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 7:30PM
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One other option if laminate is a real turn off: I have seen many lovely kitchens here that used Ikea and Lumber Liquidators wood counters sealed with Waterlox. They are gorgeous and very affordable, and another option if you want a higher-end look but not the granite price.

Oh, and other thing I like about laminate and wood counters: they're warm and somewhat soft, but still work well for rolling dough (although I'm wondering about that with the HD laminates since it looks like they have bumps and grooves in them).

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 7:34PM
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Brushworks Spectacular Finishes

I am currently building a counter top using Korpine covered with Marmoleum. It's going to be a big hit for us!

Granite is not a sustainable product and is losing sales at a fast pace when compared to sustainable products.


Here is a link that might be useful: Forbo

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 8:59PM
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The bumps and grooves in the Wilsonart HD are not an issue, think of it as similar to an orange peel. No deep grooves, no deep bumps. You can feel the texture if you run your hands over it, but very easy to keep clean and as a heavy baker, no problems at all rolling out cookie dough or pie crust etc.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 9:02PM
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Nothing wrong with laminate, I've been living with it for 20 years. We thought we'd have to skip on granite at the new house so we investigated granite tile. You can get it for the same cost as a high end laminate. So if your heart is set on granite you might want to investigate that option.

Another option is inquiring about end pieces or scraps. I don't know how much counter you have to cover, but I'm amazed at the huge pieces of granite that are remnants.

Just a couple of suggestions, but if you have to get laminate, it's nothing to be ashamed of by any means. I scaled down my choice of cabinets considerably, i.e., went from custom antique white finish to a stock stained shaker. So I guess there's a lot of give and take. I know we're way over our non existent budget on our new house. We've been building it for 5 years and are struggling to get it finished. Hang in there!!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 10:53PM
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Here's Formica's jamocha textured line. People often mistook it for real granite, and I really liked it.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 11:32PM
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I'm in the same position: budget stretched, laminate or stone.

And while some of these laminates are really beautiful I'm surprised that anyone would ever "mistake them for granite". The sheen, hardness and depth are all completely different.

I'm probably going to do plywood for a few months until I can afford the real thing :)

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 1:40PM
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Also, consider getting some estimates (if you haven't already). It might not be as expensive as you think.

We are having Cambria put on our kitchen and it's costing us under $4000. I don't have the exact number in front of me. We have a big countertop area and I went into the process thinking it would cost 5 figures. So, my idea of the cost was way off. Maybe you will also be pleasantly surprised.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 3:37PM
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I'm putting most of our mosaic backsplash on plywood then screwing the whole project to the wall...Easier to do the tile project working flat, and easy to remove if we tire of it, or want to replace the counter without wrecking it. It's highly unlikely that it's the way Bill V. would do it, but I think it'll work.

Hmmm, rhome410, I am very intrigued by this. Now you have me thinking (Danger, danger, Will Robinson!) of the possibilities. I am interested to see how this works for you. Very clever, indeed.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 4:07PM
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Sounds like a plan to me. Of course, I'm not one to worry about whether something is "high end" or not...I'm more concerned with function.

I'm also clumsy. I will never have granite or stone counters. This house came with Corian...and every time I save up the money to re-do the kitchen something drastic happens (last kitchen budget got used to replace a VERY important retaining wall...)--I plan to either re-use the current Corian (probably not) or go to richlite or some such. If I drop a glass on my corian it survives. I have a granite insert in my built-in side board. It's GREAT for setting warm stuff down on...but the one time I knocked a glass over (didn't even drop it!) it shattered.

SO--I guess I'm saying do what you want, and don't feel you have to justify yourself. By the time you sell your home you will either:

A--be able to afford granite so you can "meet market expectations"
B--it will have been so long the agent will tell you that you "must update."


    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 6:50PM
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I'm a youngish widow and am updating my kitchen a little in order to sell next year or the year after. I just installed a new Formica cabinet and it really is lovely. You do what you have to do. Kids' college vs vs. countertop.....

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 12:35AM
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Uh, I meant a Formica countertop.....

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 12:39PM
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I put a formica (It's wilsonart actually I believe) counter top in my master closet and a couple people said similar horrifed things. Why use laminate when you have expensive finishes on all the other counters. It will look cheap blah blah. The reason I did this, was because I wanted the function of the laminate since it's to be a sewing room. I didn't however put up the typical 4" backsplash and I had the same wood we used on the cabinets used on the edge. I then put in a big backsplash to finish it off. No it's not stone, but unless you go in and touch it, you won't notice that, but even if you do, I'm not that worried about it. It needed to not be stone so it wouldn't ruin my silk pins.

In my house, which is not a budget remodel (it's a budget breaker OUCH) I have onyx, granite, marble and stainless steel. And then I have this counter, and frankly, I think it's gorgeous installed as it is :)

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 6:35PM
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igloo... that's your master closet? Can I live in there?

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 7:42PM
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If laminate fits in your budget, then do it. They're easily replaceable later to granite or any other type of countertop material as long as you're happy with your layout.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 7:49PM
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Abbycat, it might not be the fabricator's fault, there are 2 types of formica, one has a white core and one has the color core all the way through so that cut ends match. I'm sorry the informationis too late for you but maybe it will help someone else. Your kitchen is just gorgeous and the edges certainly don't stand out in the pictures. In fact I find it 'inspirational' as we are considering some type of black laminate for our new home. If anyone else is considering laminate they might look into the different 'core' options depending on the look they are after and what is available in their chosen color.

As for the laminate vs stone issue, we may end up going with laminate for budgetary reasons as well. I think we can still get the look we are after and other things are just more important to us at this time. I remind myself that with a limited budget priorities have to be defined and that no matter what this will be the nicest home our family has ever lived in, even if there are laminate counters in it!

Sprice, every time I see your screen name I think of the beautiful exterior color of your home which I have nicknamed "Sprice Spruce", :) The stonework will surely be an investment that you won't regret and counters are one of the easiest things to upgrade if you choose to do so.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 8:04PM
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A couple of days ago, Jeannema posted her kitchen redo in a thread on this board for kitchens under 20,000. She talks about the counters, where she bought them and so on in her post. I looked them up they were in the same price range as the laminate, but I think they are gorgeous and a great alternative to laminate if you're in the market for one. I've included the link to the thread and her photos.

Here is a link that might be useful: Show us your 'under $20K' kitchens!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 8:10PM
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Here is one side of my small galley formica kitchen with oil rubbed bronze accents. I really like it.
We knew we were moving so I definitely wanted a new look for little money, put home for sale on Monday.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 9:34PM
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Here is something else to consider: EVERYTHING eventually gets dated, no matter how high end it is. The laminates pictured here are beautiful; they certainly don't look cheap.

I'm afraid I don't understand the current popularity of granite. My dtr has beautiful granite, but she has to have it sealed frequently and it still stains and shows fine scratches. She has a lot of countertop, and it seems like a lot of upkeep to me. I know where I'd spend my money!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 10:40PM
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Were having a new home built & I did choose to use HD WilsonArt Laminate for my Galley Kitchen Counter tops. I went w/what has gotten me through many,many years of great SERVICE! Luv,luv Laminate!! Our house is not quite finished yet. razenette

    Bookmark   September 5, 2008 at 11:22AM
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luckymom23 - That's just swell. So the GC's guy specified the wrong laminate (in addition to measuring every single laminate surface incorrectly). Grrrr. As DH says, next time, we'll use professionals...

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 1:12PM
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Sewwhatsnew -What is your countertop covered with? It looks beautiful! I like reflective surfaces in my not-much-natural light kitchen and your's looks stunning.

Btw, if anyone can show me a picture of Wilsonart's Milano Quartz I would be so happy. I can't understand by the manufacturers don't have more photos on their sites of finished countertops.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 8:56PM
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I also pondered the granite vs the laminate issue. My exisitng counters were a very light almond color, had been in for 23 years and didn't have a flaw. I wanted to change out the counter to give the kitchen a more updated look. I went with the Wilsonart HD Bella Capri. It was done yesterday and it is gorgeous. I am 64 years old and thought, who needs granite that I have to seal, and constantly keep clean at my age. The next person to own my house can put in what they want, and had I been younger, I may have chosen something else. This works great for me, and the look is awesome. I have the beveled edge and I ordered the counter top without seams. I also put it on my center island. The cost for the counters was $1500 with tax and delivery. I dont' know what the installer will charge, but it is sure worth it.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2008 at 7:49PM
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I think you can have a very nice looking kitchen using laminate. I would definitely recommend not having the little 4" backsplash using the laminate- just run the counter into the back wall and you can have a nice backsplash now or add one later.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2008 at 8:03PM
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if your friend is so appalled perhaps she should give you the money for the granite. what are friends for?

honestly, you should be the one who is appalled. ina garten has formica perimeter counters in her kitchen. (not the NEW barn kitchen, but her old set inside the house.) if they're good enough for ina, well then they're good enough.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2008 at 1:19AM
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Does eliminating the 4" backsplash cost more? I'm looking at WilsonArt HD Crystalline Ice right now but I haven't checked Formica or Nevamar yet.

I love the easy care of my 10-year-old Formica countertop for many of the same reasons already mentioned. The only downside is I'd love an undermount sink and although I'm aware there are options available for doing so with laminate I think there's still a general thumbs-down.

I'm in the middle of a low-budget makeover on my 55-year old mostly-original kitchen. Even though it's painfully small, I can't afford new cabinets so I'm stripping and staining them chocolate/cherry. Going to put BM's Yarmouth Blue on the walls (HC150) and, so far, the Crystalline Ice for the counters. My appliances are white and I have a beat-up Kohler Urbanite white sink that I will either drop back into the new countertop for another year or so or replace, depending on how much money is left. I love the design of the Urbanite sink (25x22 large bowl with a tiny corner bowl for disposal drain) and since my counter run is only 70" I don't want to go larger than 25". It's not available in stainless, which I'd prefer, as I have a houseful of klutzes (including me) who are forever dropping heavy objects into the sink.

I am really, really intrigued by that tile-on-plywood idea. Please report back on how that worked out.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 5:59PM
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I totally say: get the cheapest: that you like and will live with: and replace later: easy:

and also: I would like to speak for experience:
Granite installed: Ming Gold 3cm (1 1/4" thick) (the entire cost for the granite wholesale was about $400)// so you see the profit involved.) Top measurements: Kitchen: 111x25 1/2; 74 1/2 x 25 1/2; 32 1/2 x 25 1/2; 3 1/2 x 4 1/2: 55sf kitchen $1500 $27.27sf installed; out the door for sink cut out/drop in sink: drop in stove: no demo; my fabricators did that for my aunt last December. $1500.00 (she spent $200 on sink; and $175 on faucet & $550 on drop in stove: she was on a tight budget)

I have heard of other fabricators that will install this low on simple kitchens with one or two runs. Easy fab and install job.
So, if you shop around: you can find granite low: it might take time.
(she has one seam because the one countertop was 143 1/2 x 25 1/2: seam was put down at the end far away from the sink. can't even tell)
HD quoted her $1700 to do her kitchen with formica: laminant tops: cheapest out the door price.
Granite blanks: from CHina are about 120x 40 in size and cost about $400 per slab. I don't know how a homeowner would lift these or cut them? Our saw is 100K saw table. Grinders are $300-up + pads ect. Sealer: $50 quart. If anyone can install their own granite countertops with no experience WOW! Go for it. Granite is SUPER HEAVY!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 6:21PM
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Sue did the tile on wood in her garage and it was really really really heavy for her contractors to pack into the house. So you might want to consider the finished weight of it for when you have to have it carried in the house.She had to have hers carried over stairs and around a corner. She said if she had though about the weight issue she would have done it on the table in the kitchen. That way she would have had to pay for the contractor to call in extra men to pack it in. You also need to consider where the screws are going to go before putting on the tile so a tile doesn,t end up being right where the stud you need to screw into is. I am nother vote for laminate now and upgrade later. Just make sure that your contractor nows you will changing out the couters later so he doesn,t glue them down as well as screwing them .

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 6:48PM
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No eliminating the backsplash does not cost more (it could reduce your cost a bit) and I think it is really a good move - a simple backsplash is something that can be done DIY with a very low material cost and really enhance your space. If you are not changing the cabs you should pick an attractive durable countertop that you can enjoy now and not worry about disposing of if you should decide to change it later. Laminate sounds like it meets that criteria and your budget.

This piece is from the current issue "Kitchen and Bath Ideas"

There are lots of terrific laminates and as has already been pointed out they are all low maintenance which you can't say for butcher block.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 9:19PM
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That's exactly what my line of thinking is, caryscott. I have to laugh (weep?) when I read here about low-end kitchen makeovers well nigh into five figures. Design on a dime? Sheesh. I'm designing on a peso. Thanks for the good news about the backsplash, though! Might mean I can pop for a different finish.

I have a 60-year-old kitchen with a layout that offers no hope of real renovation unless the entire house gets gutted and enlarged at the same time. Not happening.

Two exterior brick-and-block walls with lots of windows to the front elevation, stairs and doors everywhere and only 11x10 to work with. Landlocked. As if that weren't enough, it's a major pathway through my 976 sf (many kitchens here are that big) raised ranch, so it takes a wear-and-tear beating courtesy of my three teenagers.

I've just begun stripping the yellowed finish from my cabinets, plan to stain them cherry chocolate (can't paint -- it'd be chipped in a matter of hours) and put in a high def laminate counter. Will wait until something really strikes me for the backsplash; I like bamaspice's split face tile and I'm pleased to see her report that its sealant is wearing well. (Redi-whip and spaghetti sauce? My kitchen precisely.)

One benefit to having a small kitchen is I can pick up leftovers from those 1,000 sf kitchen makeovers; gotta love Craig's List! I regularly see granite remnants but in the end I think I'm just not a fan of it. Dyed concrete, well, I've seen some absolutely beauteous displays of that but no tengo pesos.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 9:48PM
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I know what you mean as my Mom's creeps to around 22 grand it represents her biggest expenditure other than the unit itself (her down payment was close to that much). My teenage years are long gone so this is her shot at her dream kitchen (her dream includes laminate countertops and vinyl flooring). Gardenweb is a bit of an artificial context to say the least - market value determined her budget and the budget dictated her choices - but we really have benefitted from most folks willingness to share information. We are over budget but we are still a bit shy of the 15% ceiling. Good luck with the refinishing and selecting your laminate (if I haven't said this already if you make lists from the websites go to a fabricator to get the samples as they usually have them all organized and can pick out the ones you want to look at in minutes - rather than the hours you might spend trying to find samples at HD - the voice of bitter experience). Also make sure you see a big sample and if you can sign it out and bring it home to check it out in your space before deciding.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 10:31PM
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asm198 - Zone 6a (MO)

My area wouldn't support the cost of getting granite, but that's ok with me because I don't care for it. I do think it's very pretty, but I can't stand the noise it makes when you set something on it.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 3:59PM
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