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seagirl73

Are you happy with your laminate kitchen counter tops?

seagirl73
6 years ago
Hi Houzzer friends!

We are in the process of planning a partial remodel of our kitchen. The current countertops are old and will need to be replaced. Due to budget constraints, we are planning to go with a laminate, like Formica or Wilsonart (for example). We had laminate countertops in our previous house and we thought they looked good, but we've had a lot of people tell us we should splurge on granite or quartz, etc., which are popular choices. Bottom line, it's not in our budget so I'm curious...how many fellow Houzzers installed laminate countertops, and are you happy with your decision?

Comments (61)

  • kjoy1
    6 years ago

    These are all laminate...look pretty good to me:)

  • PRO
    Hal Braswell Consulting
    6 years ago
    We used Wilsonart Luna Shadow in our kitchen, wife loves it. Easy to clean.
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    If your long straightedge is bowing from the pressure of the router, you could support it in the middle by butting a two-foot-long scrap of particleboard (or almost anything, really) against the back of the straightedge and clamping it to the far side of the counter. That said, as long as the bow in the front edge is a smooth, even contour without abrupt jogs, it shouldn't cause any problem with the laminate. It might be better aesthetically if it were straight, but the laminate doesn't care if it's got a gentle curve in it. It's hard to imagine the counters are sagging on the sawhorses so much that they'll be permanently distorted by gluing laminate on them in that position. However, you'll need them fairly well supported for the glue up so you can lean some of your weight on the roller you use to press the glued surfaces together. For that reason alone it's worth supporting them well. You don't need a lot of sawhorses; I'd just put a couple of 2x4s on edge, on top of the sawhorses to provide even support along the whole length. You'll need to stabilize those 2x4s a bit, probably by nailing or screwing a couple of cross pieces between them, so they don't fall over flat at some inopportune moment. What size router do you have? There's nothing wrong with holding the router sideways except that you don't have practice doing it, and it could be difficult if you have a large, heavy router. The ones made for laminate trimming are small and light and can be held at odd angles with one hand. If you're stuck with a bigger, general-purpose router then it may be worth getting some help to set the pieces on edge as you described. You don't need a giant vise; just clamp it to some stable vertical object like a cabinet frame or the side of a sawhorse. When the clamp gets in the way, stop routing and repostition as necessary. Whichever way you go, if you've never done it before and you can't afford to goof, PRACTICE on some scrap!
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  • nadd2
    6 years ago

    We upgraded our laminate to granite after 15 years in our previous home and I never liked the granite as well. It is very hard to clean! Current home came with cheap granite which I also don't like as well as laminate.

  • acm
    6 years ago

    To me, the fact that they "solved" the corner edge means there's no longer any reason to look down on the laminates -- they really do wear like cast iron, while a lot of folks with stone feel the need to point out that they don't mind sealing it again every year or two, etc. Especially now that a lot of style involves solid-colored light stone (like modern quartzes) rather than patterned granite, there's no reason to go into debt for a counter that's anything other than what you want.



    Kitchen · More Info

    21 House · More Info

  • Casandra383
    6 years ago
    I put travertine-look laminate counters in my last house. We had 4 kids in that kitchen constantly for 6 years and they looked as good as they did the day they were put in. I recently was inside the house, and the new owners are still perfectly happy with it. (3 years later)
    Find a local shop that does them over a big box store though. They are quite a bit cheaper, and usually much nicer to work with. I got a fancy edging that wasn't even offered by using the local guy.
  • Renee Texas
    6 years ago

    I actually prefer the laminate over stone... I always feel like I'm about to break something or worry about water/stuff sitting on it. Of course my DH doesn't agree at all, and I'm stuck with granite and putting towels down under everything....

  • seagirl73
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    The feedback that I am receiving from all of you has made me feel much better about our decision to go with a laminate. Thank you all so much! I spend a lot of time in our kitchen and so of course, I want it to be functional but I also want it to look nice.

    Regarding the countertops, some of the comments I read suggested choosing a matte finish over shiny and also to choose solid colors over patterned. Is that because laminate is more likely to wear down in areas of heavy usage? Our kitchen is not large (13 x 12). The cabinets are wheat colored oak. Floors are original maple that have turned to a deep honey color over the years. Walls are painted Sea Salt (Sherwin Williams). Exterior door and all trim are painted white. Appliances will most likely be stainless or slate. Would a solid white laminate look good? Any other suggestions? Thank you!
  • acm
    6 years ago

    sort of need a photo to say -- white could be fine, but honestly the stone-looking ones are sharp too. one person above did report that pattern can wear, but I was just talking about trends and the resurging popularity of MidCentury Modern (with solid counters). get whatever pattern, solid, or stone-look seems good with your colors!

  • kjoy1
    6 years ago

    I think a marble like white laminate would look nice with your cabinets

    Wilsonart laminate marble 4925

    pairing it with white apron farmhouse sink and slate or even white appliances (gasp) would tie it all together:)

    p.s I don't think counter in picture is laminate but gives you an idea of look

  • smileythecat
    6 years ago

    If you go to a counter in a bank or store that is clad in plam sometimes the pattern is worn off due to thousands of handswipes or whatever that will never happen in a home kitchen. Plam is very tough and durable, and imo good looking, mimic a quartz edge profile use a solid matte finish,or semigloss and you will have the best of both worlds a good look within your budget

  • gnujko
    6 years ago
    I am thrilled with this thread! I was beginning to think I am the only one in the world that does not have a granite/quartz budget. Hate to tell the kids "no college for you- I'm getting new countertops!" I am so excited to hear about using a laminate in a more updated way. I have not replaced my 65 year old laminate because I can't justify quartz. Keep this thread alive, I can hardly wait to hear more ideas!
    seagirl73 thanked gnujko
  • kjoy1
    6 years ago

    Travertine Gold 3526

    River Gold 3546 I think this is my favorite!

  • funkybunch0
    6 years ago

    Thank you for this thread. I love the one comment that said laminate allows the replacement of central air. Or new porch. Etc. We have taken such a huge blow to our budget due to unforeseen circumstances. I was a little shocked at how costly laminate is (we need custom order for our countertop). But now that I am looking at the bigger picture I am feeling better abou laminate.

  • Valinta
    6 years ago

    I have had laminate since we built our home 16 years ago.. Looks brand new, if piece of fruit is left onit, no worries, no watermarks, no polishing.

  • funkybunch0
    6 years ago

    Can you use Lysol or bleach on laminate? Reading conflicting reports online

  • seagirl73
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    I've enjoyed all the feedback, and appreciate everyone's advice. I am confident with my decision to go with laminate countertops. Remodeling an old home inevitably sucks extra money out of the wallet! So, it's the only choice I can justify and still stay within our budget. I've been looking at samples, and the colors and design options are almost limitless, plus I like the fact that because I'm not spending a large amount of money on the counters I won't feel quite so bad if I decide I want a new look in 5 - 10 years. It seems to be human nature to change our minds over time about what we like; whether it's color, style, or design. What's 'in' today will be 'out' tomorrow :-)
  • greenyogini
    6 years ago

    Funkybunch0, not sure about liquid Lysol or bleach on laminate (and I imagine it probably varies depending on the color and brand), but I have used both Lysol and Clorox wipes as well as Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, Windex, natural cleaners with essential oils, and various other cleaners. They've withstood everything for 20+ years. Check the manufacturer's cleaning instructions to be safe, though.

  • Sigrid
    6 years ago

    I moved into a rental house with brand new laminate counters. After less than a year, a nanny put a hot pan on the counter, which left permanent scorch marks.

    For us, the plus was that the ownership of the house was under dispute (something we didn't know when we rented) our landlord changed and so the counters were not an issue when we moved.

    My parents had formica counters for years. One day, a hot pan scorched a permanent mark. It was a good ten years before they remodeled the kitchen.

  • Casandra383
    6 years ago
    Honed Travertine by Wilsonart (I believe). Everyone was surprised it was laminate and looked as good as the day we had it installed when we sold the house 6 years later with a family of 6 in 1300sqft! It took a lot of abuse!

    I like laminate and I fear I will regret my Quartz purchase for the new house. (My husband insisted on 'higher end' counters to suit this house). It is sooo pricy if it doesn't hold up I will cry!!
  • jackoz1976
    6 years ago

    NO!!!

  • Margaret
    6 years ago

    Count me as another fan of laminate. You can get all kinds of patterns - laminate is made by putting a clear plastic layer over paper and coating it with resin. That paper is often a photograph - a very high resolution very large photo is how you get the gorgeous wood and stone patterned laminates. You can also get a custom laminate.

    My old kitchen has white laminate countertops edged with wood. They were twenty years old when we moved out. They looked great. They were white and impervious to anything except heat. When there was a stain I just poured a drop of clorox on the spot. In that kitchen we had a small amount of granite next to the stove - a smart move by the previous owner because it meant you could lift a pan off the stove in a hurry and just put it down anywhere next to you but they didn't pay for a kitchen full of stone.

    In my current kitchen we have a mix of stone, stainless steel, and corian countertop. Taking a lesson from that previous kitchen the stone is next to the cooktop. We didn't use laminate for the counters but we did do something that bewilders lots of people: we used laminate for the cabinet fronts. I have yet to see 20 year old wood cabinets in a working kitchen (i.e. one in which the homeowners cook every day) that didn't look beat up. Our previous kitchen had thermofoil, which bubbled if a hot liquid spilled on the counter and onto the lower cabinet face. Metal is noisy and expensive - although I did toy with the tool box as kitchen cabinets approach but my husband vetoed it.

    Our wenge laminate cabinets look fantastic, like all laminate they are easy to clean and impervious to everything. People don't guess they are laminate unless they look carefully or we tell them. We have very high quality cab boxes and hardware so they were not inexpensive.

    I don't think I would have known to put in laminate front cabinets if I hadn't had years of success with a good looking laminate countertop.

  • suedonim75
    6 years ago

    I have Wilsonart HD laminate in my kitchen. When we bought the house it needed a lot of work and solid surface counters were not in the budget. And it is so much better than the 1968 laminate that was there before.

  • Hope ForBest
    6 years ago

    Thank you to OP for starting this. What a relief that I'm not the only person left who doesn't want granite or quartz. Sure doesn't seem like we have a bad economy when middle-class consumers are spending the equivalent of a new car on something so tedious.

    seagirl73 thanked Hope ForBest
  • seagirl73
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    I have appreciated all of the advice and every single comment on this thread! We are in the final stages of our kitchen renovation. The laminate countertop has been installed and I'm very pleased with how it looks. Waiting for the appliances to be delivered and installed. I will post before and after pictures when all is complete.
  • orangecamera
    6 years ago

    I'm late to the thread, but I also chose laminate counters when I replaced my cabinets last year. I've always had laminate counters, and never had a problem. OP, I know yours are already installed, but for others who might come across this thread later, I want to point out that Formica and Wilsonart both have free samples available - not just at the store, but online, too! Wilsonart sent nice big samples which really helped me figure out which one I wanted.

  • sootsprite
    6 years ago
    19 years with our white laminate and only one scratch on it. Magic Eraser is truly magic and cleans up even tea stains.
    Anyone care to join the bandwagon with me on missing vinyl floors? Easier on the feet, dropped items don't shatter into a million shards, and no dirty grout lines. :-D
  • Dorothy Pohorelow
    5 years ago

    Grin I am putting in VLT in my new remodel. it simply made the most sense for our family. After a lot of reading and getting samples we settled on a Karndean stone look tile, LL202 Indiana, when that sample came in we had to physically touch it to make sure it really was our vinyl sample and not a piece of stone! I will have a lovely "Travertine" floor when it is installed. Oh and yes we will also have a laminate counter.

  • seagirl73
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    Counter top update: Our kitchen remodel is finally complete. Working with a set budget we had to prioritize every expense. Granite, marble, and other high end products, are gorgeous but also expensive, and thanks to feedback from contributors on this site, plus our own past experience, we decided to install laminate for our counter tops. I chose a neutral color patterned design so that any scratches, dust, etc., wouldn't be obvious. I couldn't be happier! Coffee spills don't leave stains, ditto for tomatoes, red wine, etc. To protect the counter by the stove from burns, I use a clear plexiglass cutting board to set hot cookware on. Love my new kitchen, and so does my pocketbook:-)
  • kaye1951
    5 years ago

    I think someone took a picture of my quartz composite countertop because it looks exactly like your laminate!!! Good choice and kudos to you for staying on budget!!!

    seagirl73 thanked kaye1951
  • kjoy1
    5 years ago
    It looks great!!! Good job.
    seagirl73 thanked kjoy1
  • kjoy1
    5 years ago
    What brand and name did you choose...it really does look like a quartz counter:)
  • seagirl73
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    kjoy1, it is Wilsonart Premium Laminate. The color is, 'Leche Vesta'.

  • Wendy Muster
    4 years ago

    This is an old post but if anyone is currently reading it, as am I, here's my feedback. I have installed both quartz and laminate. Laminate in my house, due to budget and with the assumption that I would replace it in the future and quartz in my apartment's smaller kitchen, where I could afford to "splurge on the good stuff". The laminate is square edge and a sort of grey stone-like pattern. The quartz is solid black.

    The laminate is amazing, durable, still looks good (10 years later) is super easy to care for. I will not be replacing it as originally planned.

    The quartz is horrible. Within a few days it was blotchy and cannot be cleaned. I am currently online attempting to find someone, somewhere, who can help. No one can. They don't tell you when they sell it how finicky it is. You can't actually USE it, everything is a problem (soap, grease, wine, food, acidic, bleach, etc.) It easily chips at the edges, smudges from just water, cannot be cleaned with any typical house cleaning products (even soap and water does not work), and cannot be reliably resurfaced in the event of a scratch (as with the one the installers left on mine).

    I will happily choose laminate again, EVEN IF I CAN AFFORD QUARTZ (or granite, or marble), I will never use it again. Yes, choose a contemporary color/pattern, with square edges, and add a nice tile backsplash to keep it fresh and current.

    seagirl73 thanked Wendy Muster
  • Ruth M
    4 years ago

    Thank you for this post! This has really helped me. I'm replacing my old counters in my kitchen with WilsonArt laminate. The toughest part has been choosing which one as there's so many options.

    seagirl73 thanked Ruth M
  • Debbie Downer
    4 years ago

    Another laminate fan here - we did ours w square edge with the idea that it would be easy/economical to glue on another layer when the time came (after removing sink of course. However 10 yrs later it still looks fine. I would suggest something not shiny, or very light or very dark or youll see every little smudge. Something w/ a slight pattern and not solid color. Something like.... drumroll please.... Wilsonart sable soapstone, which Im happy to see still exists. Looks very nice with our light cream cabinets

    seagirl73 thanked Debbie Downer
  • seagirl73
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    I am the original poster and want to add that I am still very happy with my decision to go with laminate. It is so durable and easy to clean and looks amazing. My laminate is Wilsonart brand and there are so many color and pattern options to choose from. Perhaps the only thing I might have done differently would have been to choose a different edge (I went with rounded because it was one of the most economical). I would definitely go with a good quality laminate again.

  • 4337 Tupper Lake Way
    4 years ago

    We are going with laminate also for our lakefront house. Wilsonart Bronzite with crescent edge in our kitchen with island, and Wilsonart Praline Antico with crescent edge in our Master Bath. Formica Autumn Indian Slate and Belmonte Granite in our other 2 full baths. What I like about the Wilsonart is that they make their own add on edges, and it is a tongue-in-groove construction. Their horizontal laminates are thicker than the Formica brand, too. Saving us thousands of dollars over granite, even the cheap stuff where you have 8 colors to choose from. Oh, and installing Mannington Adura Max WPC vinyl plank floors, too.

  • ninigret
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    4337.... have you ordered yet? there is an issue with delamination happening faster when a house isnt heated enough in winter and ends up having a daily freeze and thaw cycle. it also can get damper and dryer seasonally than a regular house.

    as a near-the-ocean second home owner, i recommend solid surfacing and/or heating the house all winter to keep it above 40, day and night.

  • 4337 Tupper Lake Way
    4 years ago

    ninigret, it will be our only house, I didn't make that clear earlier. i share your concerns over delamination, as there are many instances where the temp fluctuates fairly dramatically, even in everyday lived in homes. Our largest flooring area inside, the sun is kept out by a large covered rear porch too, so the surface of the WPC won't be subject to direct sunlight, either.

  • Julie Clark
    2 years ago

    this is super old but I am literally making this same decision now. my initial budget (whole home reno) included solid surface counters. the budget has exploded due to unforeseen cost. i am now considering laminate. does anyone have photos of a new laminate?

  • 4337 Tupper Lake Way
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Hi Julie, here are a few photos of the countertops in our kitchen with Wilsonart Bronzite 4971. We also added the Crescent Edge option, which you can see adds a rounded feature on the edge, and gives it a much more upscale look. Keep in mind, many of the laminate tops from Wilsonart are available with different finishes! (antique, textured, gloss, etc) We LOVE our laminate tops. Was a perfect choice for us. Lots of great photos and visualizations at wilsonart.com







    seagirl73 thanked 4337 Tupper Lake Way
  • missenigma
    last year

    An older post, but some of the best pictures of real, not staged or photoshopped pictures I came across were here:

    https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/poneyscustomlaminatesurfaces/


  • castlebari
    last year

    Laminate counters are far less “clattery” than stone, and much more forgiving when something is dropped or set down hard. In our open plan, this was an important factor.

    seagirl73 thanked castlebari
  • HU-822345029
    last year

    Thank you thank you thank you all

    The feedback here made my decision.

    I currently have laminate 20 years here for me 15 years for the prior owner.

    They are effortless.

    Have to replace the whole kitchen and thought wow.. I can get quartz.. silly me.

    Have been looking and did not realize I would have to hand over my first born.

    seagirl73 thanked HU-822345029
  • Scott Merrill
    4 months ago

    I have never had stone counters or felt the need for them. Our current home we built in 98 and has the original unblemished green Formica in both kitchen and laundry. I chose slate color tile for the floors, backsplash and island top. Timeless. Looks great and handles the occasional hot pot or casserole dish. The island tile has a rounded corian perimeter edge, which is warm, easy to wipe and does not wear. I’ve always used laminate in our rentals. It’s inexpensive, easy to replace or repair and has thousands of patterns so it’s easy to go bold and change it every decade if you wish. Only thing I don’t like are the dark seams, so I always pick a rounded or bullnose front edge to eliminate that. Sheets of laminate are 48” x 120” so with planning most top seams can be eliminated. Color core is a new laminate with no brown substrate so joints or sharp corners are invisible. By the way, under mount sinks are now possible with laminate if that’s on your wish list too.

    seagirl73 thanked Scott Merrill
  • HU-206478839
    3 months ago

    Does anyone have the calcutta marble laminate top by Wilsonart? Wondering if in a larger scale there is a gold/brown tone to it. What about Formica brand - anyone know if that brand has those brown tones? Small samples I have gotten all are different.


  • Lisboa
    9 days ago

    Interested in answer

  • Debbie Downer
    8 days ago

    This old thread! I have to say,, 6 yrs later I cringe at so many stone counters being yanked out by Houzzers because they dont like the color or the type of stone is that dreaded "d" word (dated). Having been raised by frugal farmer folk, to me it just seems so wasteful even if it goes to Restore. I hope it goes there anyway.... The irony is that the attraction of stone was its durability and "timelessness". Not "timeless" if you get tired of it and take it out. Might as well go with laminate!


    Re: the dark seam, one way around that is to choose a pattern that is about the same greige color of the backing (more or less) and that isnt heavily textured. On ours you can see the seam if you look for it but it doesnt jump out at you.

    seagirl73 thanked Debbie Downer
  • Wendy Muster
    8 days ago

    I recently bought a condo with the "old style" granite from back in the 90's, y'know the black/white/grey speckled stuff, in the kitchen and both bathrooms. I've been working on a design for a remodel that will keep it. It simply MUST be able to be "updated" to look nice right? The color scheme is spot on with current design trends and as you pointed out, it's a great quality, natural element in the condo. I believe it will look amazing when I figure it out and I will have saved the environment and a bunch of cash. Who knows? By the time I get it done the stuff might be "retro" and people will be scrambling to find it and/or keep it in "older" homes. HA HA HA!!!

    seagirl73 thanked Wendy Muster