Views:1 Author:Site Editor Publish Time: 2016-04-20 Origin:Site
Laminate countertops obviously aren't new. But just because they've been around a while doesn't mean they can’t be stylish and trendy.
Laminate still retains all of its good character traits like low cost, ease of maintenance and abundance of color choices. But today there are new textures and lots of new patterns that more closely mimic natural materials.
If that's not enough, there are a number of different edge treatments you can choose that eliminate the dreaded 'dark line' seams. Laminate countertops prove once again that you can teach an old dog new tricks.
The longevity of laminate might lead you to think there's not much more to learn about them. If you're a kitchen designer, you may be right. But if you're a homeowner looking for some advice, the information that follows might be just what you need to know to make an informed decision.
Laminate is pretty basic but there are some important points to consider. Getting familiar with it can help you avoid passing on a product that might be right for your kitchen.
Laminate is a combination of paper and resin that is pressed and bonded (laminated) together under high pressure and heat. The result is a product that is reasonably durable and easy to maintain.
Laminate is typically constructed in three layers. The bottom layer is made from kraft paper (the same paper that grocery bags and mailing wrap are made from) which is soaked in a phenolic resin. (Kraft paper is usually brown which results in those dark brown edges.) The middle layer contains the color/pattern that you actually see. This is followed by a clear layer that may be topped with abrasion-resistant materials. The middle and top layers of laminate are impregnated with melamine, a clear resin.
So why is this important? Just like with any product, knowing the kind of material you're dealing with helps you understand what it will and won't stand up to. Remember that it's basically a plastic, so it has some limitations, particularly with regard to heat and caustic chemicals. Also, the color or print on that middle layer of paper is susceptible to fading from UV light over time, just like other fabrics and colored paper.
Before going any further, lets get familiar with a few terms that you might encounter when perusing various product literature or talking with a kitchen designer:
Think laminate countertops are boring?. Guess again. Here are the highlights:
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Color-through laminate eliminates the dark lines that plague a lot of laminate choices.The edges of the laminate are the same color as the surface, so the result is a less conspicuous edge.
The range of color choices isn’t huge, so if a color-through laminate isn’t your cup of tea, choose a color/pattern that's similar to the dark brown or black color typical of laminate edging. Those seams will be much less noticeable.
And if that still doesn’t satisfy you, there are special edge treatments that get rid of the dark lines and provide a clean and finished appearance. KURV Edges specializes in edging that creates a relatively seamless look. It's a one-piece molding made from the same laminate pattern as the top of your countertops. Once it's added to the edge, it provides a neat, finished look.
The bottom line is that there are lots of reasons to take another look at laminate. With such a wide range of available countertop choices, laminate manufacturers have had to develop new ideas to retain market share. This kind of innovation comes at a price, however, and some of these features and premium laminates will cost more than a basic countertop. But for the most part, laminates is still one of the most cost-efficient countertop choices, particularly when you factor in its durability and longevity.