Hey friends! We are about 98% done with our kitchen remodel and I can honestly say that one of the best decisions we made during the entire process was purchasing our prefabricated laminate countertops!
It saved us a bit of waiting time (as we were able to do the install ourselves) but most of all it saved us some serious cash and allowed us to spread our money more evenly throughout the rest of our fixer-upper home. I’m super happy with how it looks, feels and has held up over the last 8 months.
Why We Chose Laminate Countertops
When I first conceptualized our kitchen renovation I had two materials in mind for the countertops: quartz and concrete. Laminate wasn’t even an option I was willing to consider at that point!
You see, in our previous custom built home, we purchased a high quality quartz for our large kitchen and not only was it durable, heat resistant and non-porous but it was absolutely show stopping! It would be remiss for me, however, to not point out that it cost us a whopping 13-15K– and that was in 2018!
Which is not to say that investing in quartz or a natural stone isn’t worth it. In fact it is worth the money a lot of the time as it adds to a home’s overall re-sale value and becomes a stand out “feature” of the home. It’s also the current industry standard for new construction and first-time homebuyers.
Concrete countertops were my alternative choice as I like how they give off a natural earthy vibe and texture. I had also heard that it was relatively cost effective! But once I did some research I realized that it was quite an involved and tricky process to get right. Plus once installed, concrete countertops are pretty much impossible to remove since they are so HEAVY.
After that I was completely convinced that quartz was IT for us. I picked out my stone sample and had a bid made. It came back at just around $8,000. Not too crazy but it would take a big chunk out of our remodeling budget, and we still needed to purchase appliances! My husband and I felt torn. Did we want to make that kind of investment right now? Or have some more cash flow to put into other areas of our home that desperately needed attention? In the end we came to the conclusion that we needed the extra cash flow and that is the decision that led us to our current faux marble laminate countertops.
A Little About Laminate Countertops
Laminate countertops have come a long way since they first gained popularity in the 1940’s and 50’s. Now companies such as Wilsonart offer a variety of surface textures such as honed, woodgrain, HD and seamless edges that can come rounded or beveled. All these extra features make them seem more realistic than ever! Plus they’re readily available and easy to order at most local home improvement stores or through a local contractor.
Here are some pro’s and con’s when it comes to laminate countertops:
- non-porous, which means they do not stain or absorb harmful bacteria (like salmonella).
- DIY-friendly, relatively easy install.
- affordable, probably one of the least expensive options for a countertop surface.
- practically maintenance free, meaning you will never have to reseal them.
- easy to clean (soap & water)
- comes in a variety of colors/styles and realistic options
- not heat resistant
- easily scratched
- no re-sale value
The Key to Realistic Looking Laminate Countertops
If you’re considering purchasing laminate countertops for your next project I would highly suggest you look into getting the “seamless” version. Which simply means that there isn’t a little brown line running across the front of the counter. I believe this is THE KEY to making a laminate countertop look as realistic as possible and probably the aspect I was most particular about in our kitchen.
But What About My Farmhouse Sink?
Prior to deciding on laminate for the kitchen countertops we had already purchased and partially installed a porcelain farmhouse kitchen sink. My brother-in-law (who is also a licensed plumber) pointed out that farmhouse sinks typically should not be used with laminate countertops–oops! At least not if you install them in the traditional under-mounted way. Find out how we got around this obstacle in my post all about our farmhouse kitchen sink, HERE.
Marble Laminate Countertops (source)
When the time finally came for us to purchase and install our laminate countertops, we had been living without a kitchen for 4 months! Trust me, it felt like forever and I was getting desperate.
So in an effort to get my kitchen DONE as inexpensively, and fast as possible, I found our marble laminate countertop prefabricated at our Lowe’s Home Improvement. It was in stock at our local store so I was able to see/touch it before I made my final decision but I can’t tell you how surprised I was when I compared it to my quartz sample I had originally chosen. They really couldn’t have been closer in terms of color and pattern!
We paid, quite literally, only a fraction of the price we would have paid for a quartz countertop and I am not exaggerating when I say that the laminate version looks so high-end! The actual material cost us a measly $800 and labor was free since we did the install ourselves.
My hubby and I worked together on this project and installed the marble laminate countertops in two days time. It’s a DIY that takes a bit of finesse but is overall straight forward. I would say the difficulty level is medium.
One Last Thought on Prefabricated Laminate Countertops
The last concern I had before we installed the prefabricated countertops was that the back of countertop has a raised ledge and I wasn’t sure if it would look funny or odd next to tile. Thankfully, I don’t think it takes away from the final look at all and it blends well with the tile.
I am so happy with my faux marble laminate countertops! I couldn’t be more please with how they turned out in terms of cost, time, and aesthetics. Will we ever replace them for the real deal? I hope so! In a few years maybe but in this season of our life, I am perfectly content.
Until next time,
Melony St. Hilaire