LAMINATE: Laminate is the most versatile material invented. It is made up of approximately 10 layers of paper impregnated with resins, then pressed together. The last layer, or face, is like a photograph and is textured to the required finish.
The advantages for laminate are as follows:
- Impervious to water, it does not soak up water.
- Relatively easy to work with, you glue laminate on with contact or PVA glue under pressure.
- Inexpensive, laminate is one of the most economical finishes on the market.
- Impact resistant. If you drop something on it, it is very unlikely that the laminate bench top will be damaged.
- Long lasting. I have seen laminate bench tops over 50 years old, and they are still looking great.
- Laminate comes in hundreds of colours and finishes.
The disadvantages of laminate are as follows:
- Laminate can burn. If you place a hot pan on a laminate bench top it can blister or even leave a brown circle.
- Where there is a join around the sink, it is prone to swelling. The laminate itself is not swelling, but the timber or chipboard under the laminate is soaking up the water if the water is not wiped away after approximately 10 minutes.
- You can scratch the surface of laminate, especially a high gloss finish.
- If you choose a rolled edge laminate, where it finishes at a corner, this corner needs to be cut off at an angle and square edged as you can’t have the same edge all around. This is not a look that everybody is happy with.
So in summarising, laminate is and always will be a great bench top material to work with. It has proven to be the most economical and versatile, which always helps when I am doing a kitchen design. 40% of our 300 to 400 yearly kitchens are laminate bench tops, so it is still a very versatile and popular product.