Laminate Vs. Natural Stone Countertops

Natural Stone Countertops Vs. Laminate Countertops

All right, so you’ve decided to redo a countertop in your home. Will you select a natural stone top, thousands of years old and mined from the earth, or will you select a laminate countertop constructed of man-made wood and paper products glued together?

Why would you choose a natural stone countertop?

Natural stone is formed underground and mined by man. It is then cut and formed to create a variety of styles and looks. Natural stone is fantastically durable, resistant to scratches, cracks, and chips, and is one of the most heat resistant countertop materials available. Natural stone can literally last a lifetime without needing to be replaced. Note that when using granite, it will have to be sealed annually. Each slab of natural stone is also 100% unique, with tremendous variation across each individual slab.

Why would you choose a laminate countertop?

Laminate countertops are constructed of wood and particleboard with a layer of plastic fibers, tightly bonded, and glued on top. As opposed to natural stone, where each slab will have significant variation, laminate sheets can be infinitely duplicated. Laminate has a broad range of styles and textures available, and with advancements in printing technology, are getting very close to their natural counterparts.

So, why would you choose one over the other?

First, and foremost, price! The cost of a natural stone top will far exceed the price of even a higher-level laminate top. Then, there’s the weight of the top. In some cases, the weight of a natural stone top will be too much for your existing cabinets or floor and supports will have to be installed. Next, we’ve got durability and longevity. Most laminate tops will last between 10 and 20 years. A natural stone top can last more than a century without needing to be replaced, especially if maintained and sealed yearly. Laminate can scratch easily and can be problematic to repair. In most cases, you will have to replace the entire top, especially if the material is delaminating. Finally, heat resistance. Natural stone is highly resistant to heat and fire and will be virtually unaffected if a hot utensil or pan contacts the surface. Laminate, on the other hand, being comprised of plastic, can and will melt if contacted by heat.