If your kitchen is looking a bit worse for wear or you simply feel like it’s time for a stylish upgrade, the first thing that you will need to zero in on are your worktops and cabinets. Apart from the flooring, these are the most used items in any kitchen and this means that they need to be of the highest quality and they need to look good too. If you are considering your options and trying to figure out whether to choose laminate or natural stone, here are some important points to consider.
What is laminate
Many people think of laminate as plastic but it was actually produced before plastic flooded the market. In fact, the word laminate does not even describe the material but rather the process of applying a layer on top of a kind of chipboard. It is held together with a durable resin and then these bonded layers are stuck on top of a thicker board to create worktops. When it’s explained in this way, it doesn’t sound nearly as appealing as solid granite or marble surfaces.
From a visual perspective, you will find that laminate worktops are available in various colours and patterns. Some are even designed to look like natural stone. That said, you cannot help but notice that they are not the real thing and they clearly have an artificial look about them. So, right of the bat, laminate worktops look cheap because they are cheap.
The process of applying the laminated layer to the board involves gluing or ironing. This means that you cannot have curved or rounded edges like you can with natural stone surfaces. Stone can be cut and buffed to provide the desired finish.
The right sink
Undermount sinks are great for natural stone worktops. However, because laminate is nothing more than chipboard and a top plastic-like layer, you cannot expect them to last around an undermount sink. Even a regular sink can eventually result in water damage to the laminate worktops. This is because water eventually penetrates (especially around the edges of the sink) and this will cause the chipboard to swell up. It can even become mouldy.
Durability versus vulnerabilities
Nobody said that natural stone surfaces were fully immune to heat but they are a lot more resistant than laminate worktops. When they are too close to your cooktop, laminate worktops can easily suffer heat damage. If you place a hot pot directly on these worktops, you are bound to notice damage almost instantly. Stone worktops can also suffer damage in the form of scratches, chips and stains. However, unlike laminate worktops, stone surfaces can be sealed, polished and repaired in the event of any such damage. Laminate worktops need to be replaced if they are damaged.
In the end, if you are looking for worktops that are cheap, laminate will work for you but they will not last long. Investing in quality stone worktops will be far more worthwhile in the long run since they will not need to be replaced again anytime soon.