What is a Laminate Worktop and is it suitable for the kitchen?
Laminate worktops have really come a long way in how they are manufactured and the technical advancements that have been implemented, not only in the laminate but also in the quality and durability of the chip board used as the sub frame.
Laminate worktops are hardwearing but it has other attributes such as being scratch, stain and heat resistant as well as the laminate surface being non-porous which means it is easy to maintain. Mould cannot grow on the surface and it is 100% hygienic, so it ticks all the right blocks when it comes to surface performance. One of its weak points is the chip board sub frame which can be prone to moisture damage and even though the laminate is heat resistant, care must be taken to protect the surface from excessive heat.
To prevent moisture and heat damage or to make sure that you are choosing the right product/manufacturer that can stand up to the moisture and heat that occurs in a kitchen environment we have listed below a couple of things that should be remembered or looked out for when fitting a laminate worktop in your kitchen.
- Never install an under-mounted sink with a laminate worktop.
- Always make sure that the worktop has a drip groove under the front edge (image shown below).
- Make sure that your installer uses a high grade silicone or sealant to seal around the sink and the area where the worktop butts up against the back wall.
- Make sure that heat reflective tape is used around the hob cut out.
- If you have a gas hob the cut out should be a minimum of 150mm away from any laminate splashback or upstand.
- Make sure that where two worktops join they are adequately sealed with an adhesive/sealant.
- Always use worktop protectors and a mild detergent to clean up spills.
- Never buy an extremely cheap laminate that has a low quality or low density chip board, aim for a high density or a minimum medium density chipboard.
What is a laminate exactly?
A laminate is a layer of material that consists out of three individual layers to make up the overall thickness of 0.6 or 0.8mm(layers explained below). Laminate is very cost effective when compared to other surfacing materials it is also stain, scratch and heat resistant and this is why it is becoming extremely popular for the use in kitchens in the form of kitchen worktops (laminate bonded to a MDF sub frame).
Laminate layers Explained
Top Layer: Clear protective resin layer to which a texture can be added to mimic the feel of natural materials such as wood and stone.
Middle or Decorative Layer: Paper printed with high definition image or pattern which can mimic natural materials such as wood and stone is then coated with melamine resin.
Bottom or Stability Layer: Blank sheet of paper coated with phenolic resin to give the overall laminate extra body and stability.
The three layers in laminates
Once all the layers have been coated and stacked they are then loaded into a hydraulic press for curing.
After this process the laminate surface can be bonded to a sub-frame like a chipboard to give it a thicker appearance, just like the natural material it is mimicking.
The above process is exactly the same for laminate flooring, however with flooring the manufacturers will pay allot more attention to the top protective layer, as it is going to be walked on and going through much high surface stresses.
Our top Laminate Worktop Manufacturers – Proudly made in the UK!
For a laminate that can be used in high moisture areas like the bathroom, make sure to view our 100% Waterproof Laminate Bathroom Worktops
If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact one of our friendly staff. We are always here to help!