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Which is better quality: formica or Wilsonart laminate?

Posted by mrs-mjt (My Page) on
Thu, Oct 30, 08 at 17:16

Any opinions? I'm picking out a laundry countertop and didn't know if one brand is better than the other. Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Which is better quality: formica or Wilsonart laminate?

The matte finishes all have pretty similar wear characteristics brand for brand. What may differ is the wear characteristics of the different proprietary finishes, like the Wilsonart HD, which is thicker and tougher (but more expensive). Some of the more textured non HD finishes (like the riverwash from Formica) are a bit on the soft side and show the scratches more easily, as do the high gloss finishes. High gloss finishes are really only suited to vertical application and not a countertop, even though I probably sell more Blackstar Granite than I do any other laminate color. Gloss finishes wear horribly.


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RE: Which is better quality: formica or Wilsonart laminate?

We just put laminates throughout our new house. The Formica matte finish laminate was thicker than the Pionite, and the Pionite was thicker than the Wilsonart. I think, though, that the Wilsonart was an older pattern that isn't available in any of the new finishes. Would the newer ones that come in the higher end finishes be better quality even in matte, L_W_O? That's how it seemed to be. My dh, who installed all of ours, definitely preferred the quality of the Formicas we used over the other 2 brands.


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RE: Which is better quality: formica or Wilsonart laminate?

Thanks live wire oak, I appreciate it as I have no experience with laminate! I'm looking at Formica's Travertine (3526-77) in a honed finish (matte)and Travertine with an etched finish (3526-46) (shiny). Based on your input, sounds like I should stick with the matte finish for better wear since it is a countertop.

Also looking at Wilsonarts' Egyptian Sun (4596-52). Anyone ever seen any of these surfaces installed?


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RE: better quality: formica or Wilsonart laminate?

Sorry to jump in again, since I'm not Live Wire Oak...But, we had the Etchings finish in our last house (Not the travertine, though). The little texture to it helps over the older shiny ones with no texture, and it seemed pretty durable to me. We used it for our buffet area in the dining room, which we used daily. I doubt I'd choose it for a kitchen, but it might be ok for your laundry room, unless you foresee it getting a lot of tough use...Sandy or metal things scraping across it, etc. We just fold clothes on ours and even in our busy house I don't think I'd worry about the Etchings finish in there.

I ended up without any, but the honed finish is my favorite in appearance. We have the Riverwash finish in our laundry room. It's the only place we went with a textured laminate.


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RE: Which is better quality: formica or Wilsonart laminate?

I think that overall the honed ones wear better than the gloss, but take a look at the new radiance collection form formica, based on the samples I have I think that it will hold up better than a standard gloss finish, because it has texture, and it really does look nice.


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RE: Which is better quality: formica or Wilsonart laminate?

On topic hi-jack. Rhome410, how is the Riverwash holding up?

I have to admit I was not thrilled about doing laminate again but my Mom can't swing solid surface on her budget and I really have been won over by the matte appearance of the Riverwash finish. It seems durable and the fabricator told us it would seem well in the Iron Rust pattern she chose. I find most of the Wilsonart HD's a little too shiny for my taste. My Mom's 68 and lives alone so I don't think she will be too hard on it.


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RE: Which is better quality: formica or Wilsonart laminate?

Well, hmm, I don't know. I have Basalt Slate Formica in the kitchen and Mocha Java Wilsonart in the Laundry/Butler's Pantry. Like them both. The Basalt Slate is textured and shows scratches. The Wilsonart doesn't get much wear, as we place folded clothes on it and also set down a wine bottle once in a while. The Wilsonart seems sturdier though.

Love the durability of the laminates though.


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RE: Which is better quality: formica or Wilsonart laminate?

Our Riverwash is doing great. Seems durable and no scratches, but not sure it's gotten any treatment that would hurt it even if it was delicate. Ours is the Realcrete, so sort of a light gray.

...Although, Cary, maybe I'm not remembering correctly, because I probably haven't seen it in awhile under the filth? ;-)


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RE: Which is better quality: formica or Wilsonart laminate?

ROFL, your sure it was gray when you installed it? Thanks. Goes without saying that the fact that I haven't been seriously injured in a clutter avalanche is a minor miracle.


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RE: Which is better quality: formica or Wilsonart laminate?

Met with the laminate installer today and he's had good success with the Formica Etchings finish. He said the older glossy Formica scratched but has had not complaints about scratches on Etchings.

After looking at a large sample of Formica in Travertine, decided it looked too monochromatic with my paint, cabinet and floor tile so am now leaning toward Butterum Granite in Etchings finish or in matte since it ties all the colors together and provides some contrast. Anyone use this color?


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RE: Which is better quality: formica or Wilsonart laminate?

We are thinking of using Formica Azul Granite in our small kitchen. Has anyone used this? When I saw Azul Bahia granite a few years ago I knew it was what I wanted but I can't see spending that much. We even put off redoing the kitchen because I couldn't find another granite I wanted to settle for. This formica looks good but I'm not sure I'll regret not using granite. None of the other solid surface materials seem to have the look I want. Any suggestions?


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RE: Which is better quality: formica or Wilsonart laminate?

Etchings is a good wearable kitchen surface finish. Riverwash and Honed are a bit more questionable in a well used kitchen. They tend to be softer, scratch more, and show the scratches much more than the Etchings or Radiance finishes. Most people would never notice the scratches, but people on the Kitchen Forum here aren't most people!

The Azul granite is a love it or hate it laminate color. It really doesn't look at all like Azul Bahia granite does in person. It's similar in coloration, but because of the constraints of the repeating pattern in laminate, it's a lot more uniform in appearance and it tends to look a lot more man made. And blue is a color that evokes intense feelings about it. I'd call up Formica and ask for a large sample before committing to it. You may love it in the 1 1/2" x 3" chip, but in the 5"x7" it may not speak to you. There's always the option of Azul Bahia granite tiles. I saw some on Stone Locator for around $100 per 12 x 12 tile. Do an island in that, and something less expensive for the perimeter.


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