Should I Install Laminate Countertops?

You Ask, We Answer: Should I Install Laminate Countertops?

When you think of laminate countertops, you may be surprised to know that this countertop option is as popular as ever. In fact, you may have seen countertops that you assumed were expensive stone that are actually made of laminate—that’s how far this faux-stone option has come. So, are laminate countertops right for your Connecticut home? Read on to discover what laminate is made of, what the benefits and drawbacks are, and what you can expect from today’s laminate countertop options.

What are laminate countertops?

Laminate countertops are made from a combination of particleboard and plastic to create the look of stone, wood, or brushed metal countertops at a more affordable price. Today, you can find laminate that mimics the look of marble, textured surfaces, or almost any aesthetic choice you can think of.
Laminate has come a long way from the options that became popular in the 60s—both in style and substance. In fact, laminates of today are far more durable than they used to be. And for homeowners seeking a DIY project, laminate’s light weight makes it easy for a self-install. All of these points make laminate a popular choice for many Connecticut homeowners.

How do laminate counters perform?

While the affordability and easy installation of laminate are big draws for many homeowners, it’s important to consider your lifestyle to see if it’s truly a good fit for you.

Laminate is available in several grades, and the higher the grade, the better it will perform.
But regardless of its grade, in general, laminate scratches and chips easily—meaning you should avoid cutting on it directly—and is also susceptible to burns from hot pots and pans. Set a hot pan down by accident and you can scorch your counter with a burn you’ll have to live with.

Delamination from water damage can also happen over time, requiring the replacement of the entire countertop. While quality laminate counters can last 10-15 years with consistent care, if you need a countertop to withstand whatever you or your family throw at it, laminate may not be the solution you’re seeking.

Are there any drawbacks to installing laminate vs. stone countertops?

In addition to the care you’ll want to take to ensure you don’t scratch or burn your laminate counters, keep in mind that over time, light colored laminate may begin to yellow.

Other than that, laminate cleans up very well. It doesn’t require special cleaning products, and because of the way it’s sealed, won’t harbor bacteria like a porous stone might. You’ll want to avoid harsh scrubbing tools like steel wool pads, but you can easily clean up spills and messes with non-abrasive cleansers, leaving your laminate looking as beautiful as the day you installed it.