When looking to redesign your kitchen, your countertop material choice may take more research than you initially thought. You may only be thinking about surface looks, but you should consider how frequently you use your counter space to find the perfect material for your kitchen.
Since their claim to fame in the 1960s, laminate countertops have always been an enticing option, especially since they are low-cost and low maintenance. However, that lower initial expense can end up costing you more in the long run. Natural stone slabs are more expensive up front, but they have a timeless look, are more durable, and are an investment in the value of your home. Comparing natural stone and laminate countertops shows why a splurge is worth it.
The Look: Timeless Versus Tacky
Unfortunately, laminate has a very cookie-cutter look in comparison to natural stone. While there are many styles and colors to choose from, they are printed uniformly without variation. Many of the patterns are supposed to imitate natural stone countertops, but they never look as good as the real thing.
Granite, for example, has natural specks and veins in a variety of color choices. No two slabs are the same, making your countertops one of a kind. Your laminate countertop may not be in style in future years. The custom look of your natural stone countertops will age gracefully.
The Real Cost of Your Material Choice
While the main reason you would choose laminate is the lower cost initially, it will cost you more over time. Your natural stone countertops are incredibly durable when cared for properly and can last 50 years or more. Laminate, in comparison, only lasts about ten years. You will need to replace it many times compared to its natural stone counterpart.
Customized higher-quality laminate may not need replacement as frequently, but it can be just as expensive as some natural stone options. Be sure to compare prices, patterns, and durability to determine what type of countertop can withstand in a high-traffic area like your kitchen.
How Much Do You Want To Use Your Countertops?
If you happen to be a messy or clumsy chef or cook frequently, you want to consider the impact these spills and splatters will have on your worktop. Laminate may be the ideal option if you rarely use your kitchen since it requires less maintenance. However, abrasive cleaners can scratch laminate, just like natural stone. Unlike natural countertops, it is one of the least heat-resistant materials and can be burned or scorched easily at temperatures as low as 150 degrees Fahrenheit. This hazard is difficult to avoid in the kitchen where pots and pans are regularly heated to much higher temperatures.
Laminate is also easily scratched by knives, requiring constant protection with cutting boards. Once cut, it is challenging to repair. Drink and food spills are hazards that can damage laminate countertops as well. They can stain the surface, leak around the edges, and lead to mildew. Once heat, spills, or knives damage your laminate, it can crack and delaminate. If you want your kitchen to look nice, you will need to replace it. The more pigment your laminate has, the more likely it will crack as well.
Depending on your choice of natural stone, a sealant can make it impervious to spills and minor scratches. A kitchen knife is unlikely to cause any damage, and it is also very heat resistant. Any harm it does incur is generally to the sealant, which can be buffed away or resealed, a nominal cost compared to replacing a whole counter. If you plan to use your kitchen for food prepping, cooking, and baking, a durable natural stone countertop is the way to go.
Investing In Your Home
Whether you are looking to attract prospects in selling your home or simply looking for an increase in the value of your home, natural stone is a clear choice. Natural stone countertops are made to order, and you can choose to extend up onto the wall to create a stunning backsplash. These small details make a more polished home, whether it’s for you or you are trying to catch the eye of a potential new owner. Although you are spending money on new countertops with laminate, it will do little to increase your home’s value.
Picking your countertops can be overwhelming with color, style, thickness, and material choices to make. If you are looking at a quick install with budget and surface looks as priorities, laminate might be your best option. But if you want durability with long-lasting beauty, natural stone countertops are a clear choice.