Laminate Countertops Cost, Installation and Painting
In our laminate countertop cost guide you will find detailed information in regards to laminate countertops cost, installation and painting tips.
Laminate countertops gained popularity in the 1950’s and 60’s and have up today remained a popular choice for most homeowners remodeling or installing new countertops. Perhaps one of the reasons why laminate seems to remain a popular countertop option for most people it’s because of its affordable pricing. It is one of the least expensive options compared to a majority of other countertops materials such as granite, quartz, Corian, ceramic tiles among many others.
Laminate countertops are made of a variety of layers of plastic that are bonded over thick hard particleboard or a Kraft paper resulting to a solid countertop surface. The word plastic should not mislead you into thinking that laminate countertops are made of plastic materials. In fact, laminate countertops have gone through advancements; laminate countertops originate from paper and not plastic.
The top surface of a laminate countertop is made of melanin resin, a transparent layer that gives protection to everything beneath it. It also has an overlay(wear) layer, a decorative layer that carries the design and color and a Kraft paper at the bottom surface that acts as a base for the laminate surface.
Why Choose Laminate Countertops?
Laminate countertops have been in use for a long time, and their popularity continues to grow. But the question in your mind might be why they are popular? Why choose to install laminate countertops. The truth is that, other than their relatively affordable price, laminate countertops come with a set of advantages which make them a viable option for most people.
Here are pros of laminate countertops:
As mentioned, laminate countertops are generally considered to be the most affordable countertop materials among the other options. It’s one the most affordable countertop for everyone planning to install or remodel their countertops no matter their budget.
If you look at the installation cost of laminate countertop including the laminate itself, the cost is 25% of the total cost of other options for countertops. For example, for an average sized kitchen, you are likely to spend about $4500 to $9000 on granite or quartz countertop. On the other hand, if you are installing laminate countertops in the same kitchen, it would cost $1500 to $2000.
Looking at the cost difference, a homeowner who uses laminate countertops will be left with extra cash to do other renovations during a home or a kitchen remodeling project. In fact, if you are doing a renovation, you have to consider other things such as new sinks, faucets, painting, flooring, etc. which will give your room a new facelift. If you are working on a tight budget, laminate countertop will be the best option for you. With your budget, you will still achieve a fabulous look with your countertops and even manage to finance other parts of the renovation project.
One thing that stands out with laminate countertops is their low maintenance. If you look at other countertops options such as granite and marble, you will find that they can stain, and will still require sealing occasionally. Some people may not mind about the sealing business, but others will opt to go for an option that is less demanding when it comes to maintenance.
Besides, kitchen countertops serve as working space, especially for food preparation. As such, sanitation is a major concern. Food and moist materials, and other substances can easily leave bacteria on the countertop surface. That’s the reason why the countertop surfaces have to be kept clean all the time. This is where laminate takes a win. It creates a non-porous surface meaning that bacterial is least likely to spread or penetrate down the surface and get trapped.
In addition, laminate countertops are extremely easy to clean. All you need is warm soapy water and a soft cloth to achieve a clean surface instantly. You do not need to purchase special cleaners to maintain your laminate countertops as it is the case with granite countertops. Generally, countertops take in a lot of work especially the kitchen countertops. You will need to constantly keep them clean to avoid stuff like grease and food spills from sticking below the surface.
For this reason, some people opt for laminate countertops which are rather easy to clean and maintain.
Wide Choice of Colors and Style
Laminate countertops are available in an array of colors and style. This is one of the reasons why this countertop option is popular among homeowners. In fact, you can achieve just any style you want to match with the theme and the color scheme of your home. The beauty of laminate countertops is that they can replicate natural wood or stone.
With natural stone, you may have to settle for the look that is available from the quarry. But with laminate, you have a choice; you get the look that you settled for from the store when making a purchase. In short, laminate countertops have unlimited choices, and you can tailor yours to bring out your style or define the décor style of your home even better.
In addition, laminate countertops styles are always changing with new patterns and color combination coming up. You can create a unique style for your home, particularly in the kitchen by settling for a color combination that identifies with your personality and taste.
Easy to Install
Laminate countertops are generally lightweight which makes their installation pretty manageable. As opposed to other countertop options such as stone which is quite heavy, laminate countertops can be installed without the professional help. Of course, this factor contributes a lot to the cost-effectiveness of installing laminate countertops.
In addition, the laminate material is quite versatile. During installation, laminate sheets can be cut to any shape. This makes it easy to use on countertops that are oddly shaped in rooms that have complicated dimensions. Laminate can be cut into custom shapes to suit unique-shaped countertops.
Easy to change the Style
You can easily change the style of laminate countertops without having to replace the whole countertop. Your laminate countertops will eventually fall into a less than an ideal look. You can change their appearance by giving them a whole new facelift. Replacing countertops can be an expensive project that may not fit into your budget.
But, you can replace the laminate on the surface to give your countertops a brand new look with a new style. More so, the laminate option can mimic any look you want from wood, to natural stone. Additionally, if you have the time or you are working on a tight budget, you can laminate your countertops through DIY without professional help and without incurring the expense of installing new countertops.
Laminate countertops are an ideal choice for anyone working on a tight budget or looking for unique style. For everyday use, laminate countertops can last long. However, laminate countertops are susceptible to scratches and cuts and can easily get damaged by hot pans and pots; also, if they are not maintained well, they can lose their appeal and turn dull.
Therefore, when installed in the kitchen, it’s best not to use them as a cutting board. In addition, you should avoid placing hot pans and pots directly on the surface to prevent damages. This is because laminate is made of several layers that are glued together making the surface susceptible to damages and burns.
Depending on your home’s needs, laminate countertops are worth trying. If you are remodeling your kitchen, you should give laminate countertops a thought. If used appropriately and regularly cleaned, laminate countertops can last for a long time.
Cost of Installing Laminate Kitchen Countertops
Laminate countertops are stylish, easy to install and quite affordable. A countertop normally has what is referred to as a substrate. The substrate can be plywood or medium-density fiberboard. These two options have their good side and also, their negative side.
Plywood is extremely stable and strong. However, flaws can deter it from adhering well to laminate. Medium-density plywood (MDF) on the other hand, has a smooth and consistent surface. However, MDF does not work well with water. You can you choose to make use of these two for a substrate by using the plywood on the bottom for strong support and the MDF on the top for a smooth, consistent surface. This way, you will have prepared the surface for the application of the laminate.
For a standard 4×8 foot plywood panel of about ¾, expect to spend about $5 to $12. This cost for a plywood panel that has not been altered, one that has no cuts and finishes. A ¾ MDF panel of a standard size of 4×8 should cost around $35.
Plywood generally requires lots of cutting to create a matching grain when joining various sections to achieve a uniform and consistent surface. As a result, there is a lot of wastage, and you will use several panels of plywood to achieve the desired size. MDF, on the other hand, does not have to be cut in a specific direction to acquire a consistent surface. As such, there will be less wastage as compared to plywood panels.
Laminate is usually bought in sheets. When purchasing countertop laminate, make sure you buy longer and wider sheets than your countertop substrate. Buy enough laminate sheets that can go around the edges of the substrate. The cost of laminate sheets will depend on the brand, the pattern, style, and finish. But, generally, laminate sheets of about 60×144” range from $105 to $350.
Custom laminate countertops that have a laminate that has already been cut and glued to the base to suit specific customer requirements can cost anywhere from $8 to $35 per square foot. A standard kitchen that has 30 square feet space for countertop cost will cost $250 to $1000 on laminate excluding professional installation.
If you opt for a professional laminate countertop installation, installers charge from $40 to $70 per square foot. So, for a standard kitchen with 30 square foot countertop area, expect to spend an average cost of $1200 to $2000 on laminate countertop installation.
Cost of materials – Some home improvement stores stock prefabricated sections of laminate countertops for sale. Their price ranges from $50 to $250 per section. Generally, the countertop laminate sections are available in different lengths from 4-foot to 8-foot. These sections have corner pieces and are attached with backsplashes.
As mentioned, you can buy laminate sheets which cost about $35 to $150 per sheet. Most laminate sheets are in available in sizes of 30-60”wide and 36 to 144 inches’ long.
Labour – you can choose to hire countertop laminate installer. Most of them charge about $30 to $45 per hour. For a complete a countertop installation, a laminate installer will take roughly 8 hours of labor bringing the total cost of labor to about $240 to $350.
Other Improvement Costs to Consider
If you choose to add a backsplash, expect to spend an extra cost of about $200 to $450 for an additional 10 square foot countertop.
In some cases, the edges of the countertops might be unfinished. In such a case, you will require a separate piece of finished material usually referred to as an end cap to cover the unfinished edges. The end cap itself will cost you about $16 to $30 while its installation cost comes to about $150 to $200.
You can choose to purchase prefabricated laminate countertops, meaning that they have already been cut to your preferred sizes before being delivered to your home. Countertops cut on site will increase the cost by more than 30%.
During installation laminate countertops, you might be having existing countertops that have to be removed and disposed of to allow a new countertop installation. For removal and disposal of old countertops, plan for an extra $500 to $900 on your overall cost.
|Laminate Installation||Description||Average cost|
|Professional cost of installing laminate countertops||Charged per hour||$40-$70 per hour|
|Labor charges||Per hour||$30-$40 per hour|
|Prefabricated laminate sections||Sizes 30’’-60’’wide, 144 inches long||$35-$150|
|Adding backsplash||10sqaure feet countertop||$200-$450|
|Removal of the old countertop||By a professional||$500-$900|
|Laminate a standard kitchen-by a professional||30ssquare feet countertop area||$1200-$2000|
|Disposal of old countertop debris||$70-$80|
Laminate Countertop DIY Installation Cost
The good news is that installing laminate countertops can be an easy task to accomplish through DIY. The process will require time, effort, carefulness and plenty of measuring, but it’s a manageable task.
As mentioned above, you can purchase prefabricated sections of laminate countertops from home improvement stores for easy installation. The prefabricated sections come at accost of $50 to $250 per section. They are available in 4-foot and 8-foot with corner sections as we had indicated earlier.
However, you should note that the cost of prefabricated laminate sections will depend on factors such as style, color and also the manufacturer. Typically, DIY laminate countertop installation can actually save you almost $1000.
Mounting screws come at the cost of about $10 to $20 for a pack of four. Generally, the cost of materials required for the installation should cost about $30 to $100.
You also have to factor in the cost of delivery. Countertops materials are usually delicate and require careful handling as they can easily break during transportation. Therefore, it’s always advisable to leave the delivery task to professionals or inquire from the home improvement store about transport services and charges.
Generally, the cost of delivery varies greatly depending on the distance from the point of purchase to your home. Also, the accessibility of your home will affect the cost of delivery.
|DIY laminate countertop costs||Average costs|
|Prefabricated laminate countertop sections||$50-$250|
|Mounting screws- pack of four||$10-$20|
|Cost of other materials supplies needed for the installation job –fasteners, sealant, miter screws, glue, pencil, etc.||$30-$100|
Popular Laminate countertop manufacturers
|Formica||Popular since 1950's till today, Formica resembles granite, wood, marble and other countertop textures. Its laminate is durable, easy to clean and comes with an array of design options. The laminate is only suitable for interior installation. Most people request for 180FX and the premium FX which is available in five different premium finishes.|
|Pionite||Popular for making residential laminates. Its available in a wide variety of colors and styles. Pionate specializes in making custom laminate designs. They have a popular laminate design known as Leatherlam that has a sheet of real leather on the surface. Pionate is also available in other popular designs such as Stone, Wood, Solid surface, etc.|
|WilsonArt||WilsonArt is one the major brands for countertop laminate. Its popular for coming up with designs with detailed styles, textures, and stone-like designs. In addition, WilsonArt laminate materials are most durable compared to other laminates; they are resistant to moisture and scratches. This brand is known for its environmentally friendly production.|
Laminate Countertops DIY Installation Tips
You can give your kitchen a new facelift by installing laminate countertops by yourself. Laminate countertops are stylish and available in a variety of colors, patterns, textures, and tones. Since they are relatively easy to install, you can save on labor costs by doing the installation through DIY methods.
What you need before you purchase laminate countertops is to measure the depth of your cabinets. Normally, the standard depth is mostly 23 ¾ inches. If you are looking to create so a little of overhang, add about 11/4 to 11/2 inches to your initial measurements.
After this, take measurements of the existing backsplash height. Your new countertop should cover all the unfinished areas so you will need to clear window trims and outlets unless the plan is to paint the walls after the countertop installation.
Also, when you are taking the measurements, you need to make sure that your walls are straight. Use a square and level to ascertain this. A little curve is okay; you can trim your new countertops a bit to make sure that they fit into the wall correctly. But you need to measure the walls to ascertain that they meet at 90 degrees’ point. If your house is well structured, your walls will have the right measurements.
Installation of The Laminate Countertops
Start by removing all the cabinet drawers and doors to clear your working space. In addition, shut off the electricity in your kitchen and disconnect the water supply in the kitchen or area of installation. Remove the sink to clear the sink areas as well.
Remove the screws and corner bolts that usually hold the cabinets to the countertops underneath. You also need to remove the sealant along the backsplash, and in other instances, you might need to remove the glue.
At this point, remove the top by pulling it out. It should come out in one piece. If you are not sure about the correct measurements to for your new countertop, you can use this template to get the right measurements and use it to cut the new template for your new laminate countertops.
Use a saw blade (with affine tooth) to cut the countertop to the right length. Make sure that you file the ends so that they are smooth before installation.
Check your cabinets to see if they have room to hold the edge of your laminate countertop. If not, you can fasten the build-up strips along the edges. Some laminate usually come attached with these strips.
Measure the top of the backsplash to confirm the fit. Place the countertop and make sure the mitered corner is in place. Tighten the miter bolts and ensure that they are tight as possible. If there is a gap left along the wall after attaching the countertop, take the measurements using a compass and draw a line along the edge of the top. Take off the countertop and sand it smooth in one directional and return it. Check to see if it fits correctly along the wall.
To fit the countertop along the sink area and the range top, you can use the old laminate top to get the right fit or use the template that came with the new laminate countertop to measure. Where necessary, file the edges to make adjustments till the countertop fits perfectly.
Secure your new laminate countertop by drilling through the buildup strips. Or you can opt to attach angle brackets inside the cabinets by securing them beneath the top of the build-up strips. After securing the build strips and the brackets, position your countertop starting with the longest sections. Use the right adhesive along the miter and secure the miter bolts.
Tighten all the miter bolts as firmly as possible. However, take care not to crack the countertop substrate. If there is excess glue, clean it up to avoid messing the countertop surface.
Apply silicone along the edges of your sink and range and set them up. Secure you cabinet drawers and doors.
Laminate Countertop Painting Tips
If you already have laminate countertops that are in good shape but are worn out and looking outdated, you can freshen them up with paint. Painting your laminate kitchen countertops is a better alternative rather than replacing your countertops all together especially if they are not damaged.
Painting laminate countertops can transform them to have an updated stylish look. The good news is that you can achieve just about any look you want through painting even the high-end look of granite or natural stone. In fact, a simple step of painting your laminate countertops can give your kitchen a luxurious look. Instead of spending thousands of dollars installing granite countertops, you can opt for a granite look-alike laminate countertop paint or even ceramic tile look or real wood look.
When it comes to laminate countertop paint, the choices are limitless. The paint is designed to give your laminate countertops a seamless surface and finish that will transform the look of your entire kitchen and define your style better.
Fortunately, the painting process is a relatively easy process that you can do through DIY. Here is a list of tools and materials that will help you accomplish the task of painting your laminate countertops.
- Paint rollers
- Tack cloth
- Sea Sponges
- Adhesive primer-oil based
- Trisodium phosphate (TSP)
- Paint-oil based (at least three colors)
- Oil based polyurethane(non-yellowing)
- Paper towels
- Steel wool
- Painters tape
Mask and clean – mask out the areas the areas that will not be painted using painter’s tape. Mask around the range top and the sink. Clean the laminate surface using TSP. Make sure you follow manufacturer’s instructions to use Trisodium phosphate. Also, wear gloves during the cleaning process.
Sand and clean – using coarse sandpaper; sand the laminate to prepare the surface to adhere to paint. Use a damp cloth to wipe the surface and clean it with a tack cloth to make sure that you have cleared all the dust and debris resulting from the sanding process.
Apply the primer – apply the oil-based primer (high adhesive) on the countertop surface using a smooth paint roller. Allow the primer to dry and heal according to manufacturer’s instructions. Most take about 24 hours.
Apply the base coat – using a smooth roller, apply the oil-based enamel and use a brush to maneuver the edges. Make sure that you apply enough base coat to allow you to sponge your desired colors later. Give the base coat time to dry as per the packaging instruction before you proceed to the next step.
Apply accent colors – using a piece of sea sponge, dab and bloat your desired colors. Start off with the medium color. If possible, you can practice on a piece of construction paper to be sure of the process. After this, dip the sea sponge in paint. If it has excess paint, you can blot it off on paper towels.
Stamp the base coat surface with the sponge, making random patterns. Keep turning the sponge and varying the size of your patterns to ensure that you do not create a pattern. Keep adding pant when necessary until you fill the most of the laminate surface with stamps.
Give the paint time to dry and continue the dabbing process with the lightest color. This time, apply fewer stamps and make sure that they are evenly spaced out. At this point, the pattern may be overwhelming, but, do not fret over it. When you apply the final coat, the stamps will blend in together and come out beautifully. All you need to do is to ensure that you balance out the accent colors.
Seal the painted surface – using steel wool, rub the dried painted surface lightly and gently. Use a tack cloth to wipe off dust. Using a smooth roller, apply oil based polyurethane on the painted surface. As you apply the top coat, use a brush to maneuver and cut around the edges. Give it time to dry and then remove the painter’s tape. Admire your newly painted laminate countertops.
Laminate countertops seem to be catching up and competing with other countertop options such as Corian, quartz ceramic tiles, etc. The competition in countertops options has seen the top manufacturers of laminates such as Wilsonart, Formica, Pionate, and many others step-up their products. Nowadays, homeowners no longer shy away from installing laminate countertops. In fact, laminate countertops are now popular even in the high-end homes.
Manufacturers have come up with designs that look like perfect natural stone embossed with better and high definition graphics.
Therefore, we can conclude that laminate countertops are no longer the dated option. They are stylish, durable and most importantly quite affordable. If you are looking for a new facelift or a luxurious look on a tight budget, laminate countertops will sort you out. And even better, they are easy to install meaning you can install them through DIY without professional assistance.