The most common option for kitchen countertops today is laminate countertops. These countertops are made from several layers of synthetic materials of Kraft paper materials, melamine plastic coatings and decorative paper. The reason people choose laminate countertops for their kitchen countertops is because they are the least expensive of the countertops and come in a wide range of colors and patterns.
You can get your laminate countertops for half the rate of a solid surface countertop of the same size. The price of the laminate countertop depends on its construction method, the materials used in it and customization of specific details. It is best to use laminate countertops as an economical and temporary substitute to other kitchen countertops.
The main component of a laminate countertop is plastic where the countertop material is sealed within two layers of plastic and fused together with heat. Laminating machines are used to make laminate countertops where some machines have more than one roller so that more than one laminate sheet can be produced.
Laminate countertops have a nonporous surface. This is why it reduces the growth of mildew, mold, bacteria and other microorganisms. This makes it safe to prepare food directly from the countertop.
The type of plastic and material fused in laminate countertops determine the method of making the countertop. Melamine plastic was first used in traditional laminate countertops; however today reinforced plastics with glass fibers and carbon are used in them. Today melamine is combined with formaldehyde to create hard and durable plastic that produce low-end laminate countertops.
There is a wide range in the color, texture and pattern of laminate countertops available today. They usually resemble the natural and authentic stones available today like granite, marble, quartz and slate. The popular designs for laminate countertops are wood grains and stone look.
The popular colors of laminate countertops are blue, black, gray, cream, beige and white. There are also modern and innovate colors in the range today in addition to classic patterns and retro colors. It is better to use retro colors like atomic orange and aqua boomerang if you have a retro theme in your kitchen.
Laminate countertops are easy to maintain and are resistance to staining. All you need is a wet cloth or rag, and a little disinfectant or household cleanser to wipe your laminate countertop. Once this is done, you have to wipe it off with a dry cloth. However ensure that both these rags are made of some nonabrasive material to prevent scratching of the laminate countertop. The scratches on a laminate countertop not only ruin the countertopís finish, but also permit the penetration of moisture. This in turn leads to growth of mold, mildew and bacteria and discoloration.
The cleanser you use to clean laminate countertop should be free of any harsh chemicals like alkaline and acids as they wear off the fiberglass laminate. In fact, stronger chemicals also melt the laminate. So choose cleaning chemicals with a pH of 7 which is neutral.
You can use products like Countertop Magic or Plexus to maintain the luster of your laminate countertop. Goof-Of is a great product to use to remove stubborn stains found on your countertop while difficult stains have to be removed using a paste of baking soda and water, and applied with a soft bristled brush. You only have to make 10 to 20 strokes to remove moist stains. But doesnít brush too much as baking soda is a low abrasive and can damage the surface of the laminate countertop.
Avoid spilling any hair, textile and food dyes on your laminate countertop as these cause permanent stains. If any of these should spill, it should be wiped immediately with dishwashing detergent or any all-purpose cleaner. Oven cleaner and toilet bowl cleaner spills have to be wiped immediately and rinsed with water a few times.
Never use steel wool or any abrasive pads on the laminate countertop as they scratch. Neither should steel wool pads be stored on the countertop as it rusts, and this metal rust leaves stains on the laminate countertop.
It is not advisable to use the laminate countertop as a work table or cutting board as though the laminate is water and shock resistant, it is not scratchproof. Use separate chopping boards and avoid pounding or hammering hard on the laminate countertop. Hot pans, hair driers, sizzling dishes and other hot objects should not be placed directly on the laminate countertop. Instead, place them on trivets or insulated heating pads to protect the finish of the countertop.
Though it is okay to rinse laminate countertops, it is better to keep moisture at a minimum. This is because if water enters the seams, then bacteria grow to start damage. Moisture also seeps into the backsplash and makes it rot. You can control the amount and direction of water with the help of a spray than a wet cloth.
Once damaged, your laminate countertop cannot be repaired. The most that can be done is to use third-party seam fill kits to reduce the amount of damage done on the countertop so that the seam is more or less noticeable. However these products are not helpful in repairing broken or cracked fragments of the laminate countertop.
It is not sufficient to just install a laminate countertop in your kitchen. You also have to use some form of edges on the countertop to protect the countertop and to make it look more appealing. Not only can you use the usual rolled and beveled edges of ordinary countertops on laminate countertops, you can also use wood and solid surface inserts for eye catching and elegant decorative edges. You can choose your edge type depending on the interior decoration of your kitchen.
Besides being used for laminate countertops, laminate is also used for splashbacks in the kitchen. The splashback is the area that is found behind the sink and its function lies in protecting the wall here from the splashes from the sink. Splashbacks are made not only from laminates, but also from tiles, stainless steel and glass and are also referred to as a backsplash.