Formica 180FX as much as Granite?

mirz2000September 1, 2010

Hi All,

I have 39 square feet of counter space, and was originally quoted $1200 to have the Formica 180FX installed by Lowes. After the contractor came out to measure, the price has jumped to $1800. This is due to having to change to a beveled edge because of wanting to avoid seams due to some odd angles. This $1800 also includes a piping, where they adjust for a cabinet, a couple corners, and tear down and haul away.

Within this price, it is $37.14 per square foot for the Formica. I am told that granite starts as low as $43 per square foot, but it is bottom of the barrel, and not in the color I would want (dark).

Is it better to go with the highest quality Formica, or the lowest quality granite?

To be honest, I actually prefer the Formica, because it is a more forgiving surface if you drop something, it has a warmer feel to it, and is a little more eco friendly than granite (and no radon). Plus, I had already purchased the sink and faucet to match the color of formica (antique mascarello).

I am just so disappointed about this!

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Mirz - You can try to shop around for the Formica - are there small outfits that do it? Or home depot? I am sure the manufacturer can tell you who else in the area carries installs. Sometimes you can even tell them you are pricing it with others and some places will drop the price 10-20% to get your business (obviously find someone with a good reputation.) It cannot hurt to ask.

Sounds like you want the Formica - don't get stone if you don't want it. It is not warm and it is hard and if you don't love it I suspect that will make you unhappy.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 3:33PM
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Thanks, sparklekitty, You are probably right. I just can't believe how expensive this is ending up to be.

I think there are smaller businesses in town, but I was going to use Lowes because of their warranty... also their hours made it possible for me to make it out there at all.... My job has a busy weekly work schedule...

I made an appointment at 6 to go talk to the Lowes people about it. :(

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 4:17PM
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No need to answer to us, but tell yourself the answers:

How important are those special edges and trimmings? How important is the matching? In a few months, will you still care about them? In a few years?

How much do you have to spend? Are there tradeoffs that you are reluctant to give up or can you have whatever you want?

Have you consulted independent laminate installers?

I have had a local man install the Antique Mascarello 180FX in July. There was an issue dealing with the installation (ripple in the material which we've addressed) that has nothing to do with this discussion. We are generally happy with the product and the product as it is in our kitchen . (I wish it weren't shiny because it's installed next to windows, but that's what the product is like and I knew this when we bought. DH is very happy with the product.) We are glad that we've made this choice--it is attractive and has made a large change in the appearance of the room. We are not fans of household granite--too hard for a work surface and requires too much fussing. We are not particularly put off by the seam or the mismatch between edge and top; our man did try to do some matching but it was tough. The edge is a plain right-angle edge. The cost was $1500 for a good-sized G-shaped kitchen, which includes all parts of the countertop install except when DH cut 8 feet of Ikea butcherblock to fit either side of the range.

I like the 180FX Formica product better than the High Definition Wilsonart product and I think this was as good a countertop solution as our family's taste and budget and needs required, and may have been better than most. Ask me again in ten years if I would do it over again.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 5:14PM
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Florantha, would you post a pic of your Antique Mascarello? I saw the Golden Mascarello at Menards...they sell it in long sheets of 10 or 12 foot I think, and also in long preformed lengths. It was a bit dramatic for me, but beautiful. I'd love to see yours. Wish I'd paid more attention to the price, but it was not expensive at all.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 6:51PM
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Hi Florantha,

I would actually love to get a cheaper edge (actually prefer the round edge lookswise), but the shape of my kitchen means that if I use anything other than a beveled edge, I am stuck with a seam right next to the sink, which is not recommended due to moisture's effect on laminate.

Other than a change in edging, there is no other place to cut costs... the rest of the added expenses are due to angles and cabinet edges already existing in the kitchen.

I am going to check with some other places for their prices, but I am honestly just shocked at how expensive it is.

I went to Lowe's tonight to talk to the counter person again, and she showed me that their cheapest granite is actually $50 cheaper installed than this laminate! I can't believe it. I am so confused.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 8:33PM
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Is the cheapest granite one you want to live with for a good long time? Does it make you want to dump the laminate?

If not, then the price does not really matter.

If you are liking how the granite looks, then you just may need to give yourself a few days to adjust to what you now are feeling. I have switched gears a few times due to too much time between plan and actual work being done. Some things are easily changed and others need some digestion because I have to wrap my mind around the new information.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 9:16PM
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Dianalo, you are probably right. I am going to sleep on it for a bit. I basically had them put my order on hold for now. I really prefer the laminate, so that is probably the way I will go. It sounds strange, but I am just not as in love with granite.

Florantha, I would also like to see pictures of your counters, if possible...

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 10:07PM
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Things aren't done yet and DH just tore out the drains (again) and is redoing them, so I refuse to take a photo right now--I've posted more than enough messy photos, but here's what it looked like in July. If you click to the right and left, you'll see some more glimpses including installation.

Here is a link that might be useful: Look for the Antique Mascarello 180FX in these photos

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 11:11PM
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try this also

Here is a link that might be useful: Previous thread 180FX topic

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 11:13PM
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I just put 180FX in my kitchen, the Corbeau Montana. No pics yet, we're still awaiting the flooring, but it's dark with gold veining. I think it looks great with my natural cherry cabinets, it's warm, and it was within my budget. I might have been able to get granite for the price of the laminate I bought (with the beveled edges), but it wouldn't have been granite that I loved--it would have been lighter with no movement, which would not have fit in my Craftsman-esque kitchen. I would always have regretted not getting the look I wanted. Don't get granite just to have granite-get a look that you love and can live with for years to come.


    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 12:15AM
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Florantha, your kitchen looks gorgeous! You and your husband are very industrious to take on that kind of project. The wall color looks great with it.

CJ, thanks, this is helpful advice... I am definitely leaning that way. I would love to see how your kitchen turned out! I really like the 180fx line... it has such a great texture.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 12:56AM
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I'm really glad to see another thread about the Formica 180FX. We're getting ready to install ours, also the Antique Mascarello, next week. I wanted to second everyone about getting prices from some other places. I don't think we're paying quite that much but our GC is making/installing ours. I hope to post pics once it's in!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 6:29AM
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mirz2000, thanks for your kind words and the praise for that crazy near-red paint. Will tell DH who has returned from a two month hiatus.

So naturally, yesterday he tore apart the underbelly of the sink cabinets, has re-done the one drain he did in July now starting over with Kohler drains for all 3 basins. Then he will bring water into the prep sink so we can use it. Why did he also invite his relatives for a salmon bake tonight as well? AARGH! That's the story of this project--hustle, make mistakes, fix mistakes, then hurry to go make new ones.

The dishwasher is back in the center of the room, I can't use the sink basin so I'm washing dishes on the deck and there are tools everywhere in the room, just like in the June-July photos. What goes around comes around at our house.
I have neglected to say also about the 180FX product that I find it to have an unusual feel to the touch, almost a very smooth wax finish. Does not feel at all like our old matte finish laminate. And because this pattern camouflages all dust, food residue, dirt, pvc pipe shavings, etc, I do a lot of running my hand across it to sense if it needs a wipe-down. This is something that I anticipated but nevertheless is a real change in my work habit, since previously I could see at a glance if our old "White Kid" surface was clean.

Also, on a jag here since I'm typing anyway, we've put another coat of the polyurethane under the sinks and the dishwasher housing and I'm going to do two more before I'm done. I'm slopping it on. We've already had one undercounter leak and there is always the chance of a second one. Why not anticipate it and try to prevent some of the seepage into other cupboards and the floor? And we're coating the underside of the laminate countertop so that steam from the dishwasher does not ruin the particle board understory of the countertop. Even if this dishwasher is better at guiding the steam than our last one, who knows what will happen in future? The underside of our old countertop was pitted with rough spots where the substrate had rotted/eroded, esp. at the underside of the lip of the counter where it overhung the lower cupboards and where our fingers felt it whenever we gripped the overhang. I want this countertop to last until I'm in my 80s, without faults.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 12:28PM
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Hi mirz2000 --

The quote that you got from the contractor is about what we were quoted as well. Ours broke it down so the tearout and removal of the old countertops was around $400.

I would bet that the low granite price you're seeing does NOT include removal of the old countertops. I actually got a quote for granite for $23.99/sq ft (for colors I didn't like) and almost everything was extra -- $300 for sink cut out, bullnose edge extra (their standard was the squared edge) and $500 to remove and take away the old countertops. So I guess my point is as you know to make sure you're comparing apples to apples.

I am not a huge granite fan either. If the laminate is what you really like then I would rather see you do that then settle for a granite you're not crazy about. FWIW we are probably doing laminate ourselves.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 2:22PM
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    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 1:13AM
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