Laminate benchtops have gone from blah to wow in just a few years. Once considered cheap and tacky-looking, laminate has become one of the most thought-after low-cost and eco-friendly materials. Benchtops are only one component to benefit from it; even floors do and with long-lasting results.
So what's the big deal with laminate? How and why is it receiving so much attention? Following the principles of the lamination process, laminate is made by fusing together multiple layers of materials to create a strong, stable and insulating product. The layers typically consist of a large percentage of recycled fibers, a trait which has gone down well with today's smart consumer.
Very low maintenance
Aside from the green factor, laminate is very easy to care for. This is important because kitchen work is heavy as it is and having to meticulously maintain benchtops is an unwanted responsibility. One could excuse that ceramic tiles do as good or a better job at minimizing maintenance than laminate but grout lines tend to catch dirt and there's a tension for ceramic to crack. Beside, ceramic is cold and even though benchtops do not affect overall temperature much, you may notice a marked difference during winter.
Laminate only requires a quick wipe-down with a damp cloth. Spillage should be cleaned immediately – as is the case with all types of benchtops – and a mild cleaner used, if needed. No toxic chemical-laced agents. If basic care can be followed then there's no need for frequent replacement.
Highly customizable and affordable
Only a few materials can boast the versatility enjoyed by laminate. Unlike stone which looks like stone or ceramic which looks like ceramic, laminate has no true form. It can mimic wood, stone, brick and even cement since its customizable. All this without you spending for the cost of authentic stone, wood etc. In fact, most homeowners now prefer installing laminate for benchtops because the savings are simply too great.
Consider the weight of stones like granite or even hardwoods. Laminate is comparatively very lightweight and easy to lay which means DIYers can handle installation with few problems. For consumers trying to cut costs, this makes a huge difference.
Although not as hardy as stone which is extremely weak, laminate still scores big points for being very durable. To lengthen its life, a cutting board must always be used and anything aflame can not be set down on the surface. However, it can take a lot of heat so placing hot pans is not a problem. The same with stains which do not form as fast. For the price of around $ 20 a square foot, it's a very good deal.
Does not cost much to replace
All countertops must be replaced sooner or later since there are only so many times they can be re-sanded and repaired. With laminate, the job is simply simple and does not cost much. With new designs flooding the market, it's the perfect choice for homeowners who like change.
All these benefits are not without a few drawbacks but that's the case with all benchtop materials. The appeal of laminate lies in the fact that it offers affordable topping options for people who can not or do not want to spend much, for consumers who prefer the greener route and for homeowners who like to take on installation tasks alone.