Great Alternative to Granite

Discussion in 'General Home Improvement Discussion' started by CountertopBiz, Jun 17, 2008.

  1. Jun 17, 2008 #1

    CountertopBiz

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    Granite countertops can be extremely expensive, so a cheaper solution is Laminate. These days laminate comes in so many different designs that most people can't tell the difference between laminate and granite upon first looking. It's something to think over, and when you get to the end of your remodeling project very rarely are you still within budget. This is a great way to cut some costs without sacrificing too much. So, if you are trying to keep in budget, consider laminate.
     
  2. Jun 17, 2008 #2

    glennjanie

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    Welcome Laura:
    I personally don't see the hype about granite countertops. My laminate tops are over 50 years old and are still serviceable. The old style with the aluminum trim strip around them and laminate on the backsplash too.
    Glenn
     
  3. Jun 19, 2008 #3

    ChrWright

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    Making laminate look the best is a lot about the edge detail you choose. Try and select one without a seam (which shows the raw edge of the laminate). Stay away from solid colors which tend to look "plasticy". Textured, matte finishes usually look better than the glossy ones.

    The selection of granite vs. laminate is usually about price-point. Granite counters, like most natural products, are less prone to date themselves aesthetically. They also stand up better to heavy use.
     
  4. Jun 22, 2008 #4

    kok328

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    Can the newer laminates be applied over old but, still good (not chipped, blistered or peeling) laminate?
     
  5. Jun 23, 2008 #5

    glennjanie

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    It could be installed over the old with detailed preperation but it is not a good idea at all.
    Glenn
     
  6. Jun 25, 2008 #6

    cparker

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    I know of one company that tried making laminates that allowed for undermounted sinks, and there were some field tests, but they gave up in the end. I've heard no more on the subject since.

    http://www.thecabinetfolks.com
     
  7. Oct 20, 2009 #7

    granite-girl

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    I have laminate countertops now & soon as I can afford to build a house I'm putting granite in. My existing laminate has a big hole & burn mark where I left a glass candle jar burning too low, my laminate backsplsah is scorched behind the gas cooktop from previous owners... It works o.k., It's scratched & stained, but nothing's as durable as granite.

    Granite countertops
     
  8. Oct 20, 2009 #8

    Rich P

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    Laminates counters today are a lot different from the past. You can get different edge treatments such as Kuhn bevel, and with the high definition finishes, it looks a lot like solid surface. Flush mount sinks are available that fit perfectly flat with the laminate top. The new laminates are much more scratch resistant, and wear much better than laminates as new a 5 years ago.
     
  9. Oct 21, 2009 #9

    FixIt4Me

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    will laminate counter tops hold up with hot plates and all of that? Or do you have to be more careful with these?
     
  10. Oct 21, 2009 #10

    granite-girl

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    You defintely have to be more careful with laminate. As I said it can burn. You even have to careful with Corian. They warn against toasters, toaster ovens, electric skillets...
    Not to say it will happen, or happen everytime, it's just something that could happen.
     
  11. Oct 28, 2009 #11

    anie973

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    Money is important but quality does matter. Granite is beautiful but expensive.Granite is also the favorite material of choice for homeowners remodeling their kitchens.
     
  12. Oct 29, 2009 #12

    silvershark

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    Granite is expensive. I would look at the new plastic hardened alternatives. They withstand hot things being placed on them and are pretty resistant to scratches.

    I have silicate sp? Countertops and love them! They wouldn't have been my first choice either, but I do have to say I am impressed. They came with the house and I was thinking of swapping out for granite but there isn't a real need other than looks.
     
  13. Oct 29, 2009 #13

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    I had the square edge laminate counter tops in every kitchen in my building.

    I found it easiest to pry the old laminate off the existing plywood tops,

    then use lacquer thinner to remove the old contact cement,

    then install a prefab top over the existing plywood.

    And, I've done a total of 20 counter tops that way.

    Sometimes, a bit of the old plywood will come up with the old plastic laminate, but the new top is 5/8 inch thick and so it doesn't need support under every square centimeter.

    Whatever you do, PAINT the cut edges of your prefab laminate counter tops (and any particle board that may come into contact with water) with a high gloss alkyd paint or boiled linseed oil. The idea is to prevent water from being absorbed into the particle board to prevent it from swelling and the laminate coming loose from it as a result.

    I paint:
    1. the cut edge for the sink hole, the holes for the kitchen faucet and the
    underside of the counter top in the sink area,
    2. the back side of the front bullnose and the first 3 or for inches of the underside of the counter top behind it,
    3. the particle board edge that butts up to any wall at the end of the counter top and both cut (mitered) edges in "L" shaped counter tops.
    (I laminate the exposed edge of the installed countertop.)

    This is especially important in the sink area, along the front of the top where water may drip off and in front of any dishwasher. The steam from the dishwasher will otherwise condense on the cool particle board (when the dish washer door is opened) and the condensate absorbed into the wood.

    Welcome to "Installing plastic laminate counter tops 101":

    Also, the people that install plastic laminate counter tops need to take an evening course in "Basic Thinking" cuz they're doing it wrong. If you watch an installer, he'll throw the top on the cabinet and immediately scribe the shape of the back wall onto the top of the 4" backsplash so that when he cuts along that scribe mark, the back splash fits perfectly to the back wall.

    A better way is to put a board behind the front bullnose of the counter top and push the counter top against the cabinet until that board is sandwiched between them. NOW scribe the shape of the back wall onto the top of the 4" backsplash, and cut along the scribe mark. The counter top will fit just as well to the back wall, but now the front of the counter top is ALSO parallel to the front of the cabinet.

    Also, when doing an "L" or "U" shaped counter top, don't try to accomodate back walls that aren't at a 90 degree angle by mitering the tops at different angles. The reason why is that the length of the kerf on each side of the miter will be different, so you won't be able to get the two tops to meet properly at both the front and the back. A better gameplan is to miter your corners at 45 degrees and use the 5/8 of an inch you have on your backsplash to make the tops fit properly to the walls. But, before doing that, it's a good idea to cut some wide pieces of cardboard at a 45 degree angle and see how well the cardboard fits on the cabinets. That will tell you whether the 5/8 of wiggle room you have in cutting your backsplashes to fit against the wall will be sufficient to accomodate any screwiness in your walls.

    If you have to miter the tops at an angle different than 45 degrees cuz the walls are really out of whack and you just can't make the tops fit otherwise, make sure both mating tops are mitered at the same angle to keep the kerf length the same. Like both at 44 degrees or both at 46 degrees, for example. Cutting one at 44 degrees and one at 46 degrees will give you a 90 degree angle, but the kerfs will be of different lengths, and that's a problem you won't be able to overcome.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2009
  14. May 24, 2010 #14

    ncgirl

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    Another idea is a corian-type countertop. It is a more cost effective solution to granite, and they make so many varieties of it as well. A site that has great selection/prices is SolidSurface.com - Everything Solid Surface.
     
  15. May 27, 2010 #15

    frozenstar

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    Very nice. Those are some really wonderful advices... :) Thanks guys!
     
  16. Jun 3, 2010 #16

    thomask

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    Granite tiles can be used at a big savings over slab.
     
  17. Jun 3, 2010 #17

    swindmill

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    Has anyone considered concrete countertops? I'm guessing they are at least as expensive as granite, but I really don't know. I know a guy that makes/sells them and he's going to give me a deal when I get around to renovating the kitchen.
     
  18. Jun 17, 2010 #18

    bedworldnet

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    Laminates are good options instead granite but i think laminates can't face the force of water and fire. Granites are granites no one can replace it but for cheaper solution we can jump on laminates but in long time it turns the same.
     
  19. Jun 18, 2010 #19

    granite-girl

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    from consumerReports.org
     

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