What Are Laminate Countertops?

Formica, the company, invented laminate countertops as a reasonably durable alternative to heavy, expensive stone tops. Formica soon became the unofficial name for any laminate-like countertop. The basic construction of laminate has remained the same since its inception. Layers of kraft paper, plastic resins and protective resins are pressed together and heated to form a thin and durable decorative layer. That layer is then adhered to a solid substrate to create a functional surface.

Pros

  • Color and design options. Today’s laminates boast vast amounts of color and design options. They can resemble quartz, granite, marble or anything else from contemporary to classic.
  • Budget-friendly. Your remodeling budget will have room left for other items after purchasing laminate countertops.
  • Stain-resistant. Dirt and moisture won’t penetrate laminate’s non-porous surface, so stains aren’t likely to occur.
  • Maintenance-free. No sealing or special care is required to keep them protected and looking great.
  • DIY friendly. Straightforward installation procedures make laminate countertops a popular do-it-yourself project.

Cons

  • Resale value. The unfortunate truth is that, although today’s laminate is better than it was, it still has virtually no resale value. In fact, it may be a hindrance when selling your home.
  • Durability. Although laminate countertops have decent impact resistance, they’re vulnerable to heat damage and scratch easily. Moisture can penetrate seams and cause delamination.
  • Not repairable. Small scratches can be touched up with designated resin paint, but deep scratches and chips aren’t fixable. Temporary repairs are possible, but repaired spots will never function the same. If the layers begin to separate at the edges, the countertop will need to be replaced.
  • Lifespan. They have the shortest lifespan compared to other popular countertop materials.

reprinted from Forbes.com