Laminate vs Granite
Jan 10, 2023
The humble countertop is perhaps the most important but easily overlooked part of every home’s kitchen. Besides functioning as the cutting surface, a kitchen countertop also serves as a storage area and contributes to a room’s aesthetics.
People choose different materials to make their countertops, and some of the most frequently chosen materials are granite and laminate. While both have their positive and negative features, they are suitable materials to use on kitchen countertops.
Below is a detailed comparison between the two that will help you choose the ideal material for your kitchen countertop. For this article, we’ll go over the appearance, ease of installation, heat resistance, backsplash options, sink options, durability, maintenance and overall value of laminate vs granite countertops.
Kitchen countertops made of granite are natural stone. The materials used in making granite for kitchen countertops are a family of rocks like quartz, feldspar, and silica. Due to this wide range of options, granite countertops are available in an extensive range of patterns and colors.
Naturally, there are not even two stones with the same mineral composition since they vary in each of their slabs. This variation makes granite among the most luxurious materials for countertops because it exhibits the charm of natural variation. However, people looking for uniformity (for example, those that prefer modern minimalist styling) might have problems with this material.
When using granite for kitchen countertops, they can be flamed, honed, or polished to remove the surface particles, which tend to be weaker. This is done to give the material texture. Like laminate, granite can have various edge designs, although they are more labor-intensive to achieve.
Laminate countertops, on the other hand, are made of a resin-impregnated wood mixture (usually medium density fiberboard) covered with decorative kraft paper which itself is protected by a melamine layer.
Because they are printed by the manufacturer instead of composed of natural material, the color and design options of laminate are virtually unlimited. Whether designed to mimic stones or woods with natural patterns or made with neon colors and bold patterns, laminate can fit any design aesthetic you can imagine.
Due to their printed designs, they will be more uniform and predictable than granite.
Most granite countertops are fabricated for your kitchen. After settling for a particular slab, the fabricator will make a template for your cabinets and cut a stone to fit the table. After making the template, the fabricator installs the stone.
Granite countertops are extremely heavy and weaker cabinets might need additional reinforcement to support the weight. Sinks mounted under the countertop are installed simultaneously, but there has to be a 24-hour delay for the epoxy to cure before the plumber hooks it up.
Laminate countertops are far easier to install than granite countertops. They can be cut on-site or bought pre-cut to be installed even faster. If the kitchen is small, the laminate countertop may be installed as a DIY project, but if the kitchen requires a lot of construction, you may consider hiring a professional contractor.
Laminate countertops take a day to install and are faster than granite countertops, which take two weeks.
Resistance to heat
When exposed to extreme heat, laminates can potentially melt or burn. Hot items, therefore, should never be placed on laminate countertops.
Granite, on the other hand, doesn’t melt. While it stands up to significant heat, it still isn’t recommended that you place hot pots or skillets directly on the countertop as the abrupt change in temperature could potentially cause cracks.
Granite is a hard, dense stone with the ability to withstand lots of force. However, there are various types of granites, and all are different from the other. The most vital stones in the world are black granites and Gabbros.
There are other weaker granites- most of them are light in color. When being rated about strength, all granites are rated from A to D. Granites belonging to grade D should be installed with an underlay because they may break if they don’t have support. Alternatively, grade D granites can be used as overhangs to avoid breakage.
Laminates are made of wood and boards which have a printed surface on top. While they may not be as stringent as granite, they can be used without any support or as overhangs, and there should be no tensing of cracking or sagging.
Both laminate and granite countertops can be installed with a backsplash. With laminate countertops, the backsplash is usually integrated with the countertop. Granite backsplashes have to be epoxied. You can choose not to have backsplashes on your countertop for a minimalist look but this comes at the expense of some practicality.
The most popular choice for installing granite countertops on sinks is the undercounted method. Since laminates lack a finished edge, the most common form of an installation with laminate countertops is the drop-in method. However, some available laminate countertops can be used with the undercount method. The technique gives you a fabulous look but has to be carried out by a professional.
Both laminate and granite countertops are durable enough that they can withstand daily kitchen activities. However, the two differ in their longevity.
Since laminate countertops are non-porous, they will not stain but certain types can be scratched or damaged by water. On occasions where the edge is exposed to a lot of water, it might delaminate and end up peeling. However, there are kits used to repair laminate damages. On average, laminate countertops can last for approximately ten years.
Granite does not scratch easily, and on most occasions, it dulls a knife instead of scratching. However, granite made of light colors might etch if they are exposed to acidic substances like lemon juice. A surface that has undergone etching will become dull because the more refined part will have been removed.
Some granite types might stain if improperly sealed. Therefore, it is essential to test the granite you intend to use on your countertop with the oil lemon test. If you realize the granite you have etches when it is too late, you should start taking good care of it. Granite last for an extended period as long as they are reasonably maintained.
Among the two, laminates require lesser maintenance. When using laminate countertops, users don’t have to use unique cleaning materials or sealing. If they mistakenly get scratched, there is a kit that can be used for repair. They can be cleaned anytime with any cleaner.
Granites require more maintenance, and some types may require even special maintenance. Besides using the oil lemon test to determine e whether you will choose a granite stone, you should always remember that lighter granite stones require more maintenance than granite stones that are rich in color.
Also, granite stones have to be sealed periodically to prevent stains from forming. If the water stops settling on the stone’s surface, theta calls for resealing. To avoid damaging the surface, granite stones should be washed with pH neutral cleaners. To avoid any extra maintenance, it is advisable to care for your granite countertop properly.
When it comes to overall value, quality laminate countertops edge our granite. While both can be beautiful choices, laminate countertops with seamless edging and high definition patterns can create a beautiful kitchen environment at a fraction of the cost of granite. And with a durable finish like Wilsonart HD, a well-maintained laminate countertop can last for decades.