Laminate benchtops consist of layers of paper with a decorative overlay. Textured laminates are among the hardest-wearing and most affordable benchtop materials. High gloss laminate can easily scratch and is difficult to repair. New types of edges are available to give laminate benchtops are more modern profile and can provide an inexpensive and stylish solution.
The laminate industry has responded to the popularity of stone with an amazing range of photographically reproduced stone, woodgrains and designer laminates for the budget conscious client who wants the look of stone or timber, but whose budget only allows laminate.
There are many very good brands available, such as Laminex, Egger, Formica, Polytec and Wilsonart to name some of the better known.
Most of the best quality laminates are around 1mm thick, and have the capability of being “postformed” or rolled on the edge with a very tight radius which gives the benchtop a more modern square edge which is quite different from the rounded bull nose edge most associate with laminated benchtops. There are some limitations. Not all laminates can be rolled so square and this profile only works with benchtops with straight lines.
Another option to get a square profile is with use of ABS edging. The edging hides the dark line that typifies laminate benchtops and allows a benchtop to incorporate any shape. The range of edging colors has not yet really caught up with the range of laminates, but there are more than enough to satisfy most people.
- Huge range of colours, textures, woodgrains and styles
- Is installed with the cabinet – no waiting as with stone
- Kitchen is operational at least 2 weeks faster
- Can’t be so easily shaped
- No fancy edge profiling
- At risk of water damage
- Can be scratched, stained marked more easily than stone.
- Very difficult to remove scratches & stains.
- Doesn’t help resale in the same way stone does.
Overall, when the budget is tight it’s a great choice and can give a good WOW factor without the WOW cost.