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Everything You Need to Know About Formica Countertops

Written by Angie's List Staff
Updated November 23, 2021
Bright kitchen with white countertops
New Africa – stock.adobe.com

Highlights

  • Formica countertops are typically made with paper or fabric combined with a melamine resin

  • These countertops are extremely durable and easy to clean

  • Formica countertops tend to be more affordable than natural materials like stone or wood

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As with other nouns like Kleenex, Xerox, and Scotch tape, Formica started out over 100 years as a brand name for a particular type of countertops, then came to refer to all countertops of the same type. These countertops are affordable, durable, and available in a wide range of colors and styles.

How Are Formica Countertops Made?

To make Formica countertops, kraft paper is combined with layers of thermally fused melamine resin, then topped with a decorative foil or paper layer protected by more melamine resin. This process results in a durable, scratch-resistant, and heat-resistant material that’s a great fit for kitchen countertops and other surfaces.

Pros of Formica Countertops

Kitchen with brown cabinets and Formica countertop
Studio Light & Shade – stock.adobe.com

Formica countertops have several advantages over other types of countertops

  • Easy to install: Formica countertops are very easy to install. Though the top laminate can chip when cut with a reciprocating saw, most contractors know the precautions to take to prevent this.

  • Affordable: Formica countertops are much less expensive than natural stones, like granite or marble, and rare woods.

  • Many style options: There are many different colors, patterns and designs to choose from, including popular looks like quartz, marble, granite, and wood.

  • Durable: Formica countertops are extremely durable and resistant to scratches and heat damage.

  • Easy to clean: No special cleaners are needed to clean Formica countertops

Cons of Formica Countertops

While Formica countertops have many advantages, they’re not for everyone. Some of the disadvantages of Formica countertops include:

  • Less aesthetically pleasing: Some people think that Formica is less aesthetically pleasing than other materials like wood or stone. Formica also has visible brown edge lines that may be less-than-desirable to some homeowners.

  • Not as trendy: Because Formica countertops are so durable, they rarely need to be replaced. However, this can cause your home to look more dated, and the countertops may clash with other more modern decorative elements in your kitchen.

Can You Customize Formica Countertops?

Formica countertops come in a wide range of colors and styles. This means that, if you’re installing new Formica countertops, you have plenty of options to choose from. But if you have existing Formica countertops and are ready for a change, you can paint your countertop a different color.

Is There a Difference Between Laminate and Formica Countertops?

Formica and laminate refer to the same type of countertops. Formica was originally a brand name for a specific type of laminate countertop; it’s not often used more broadly as a synonym for laminate countertops. Wilsonart is another common brand for Formica countertops.

Is Formica the Same as Granite?

Formica and granite are two different countertop materials. Formica is made from paper or fabric combined with a melamine resin, while granite is a natural stone. Like Formica, granite tends to be durable and comes in a wide variety of different styles. However, granite is usually more expensive.

How Much Do Formica Countertops Cost?

Formica countertops are one of the most affordable types of countertops, making them a great option if you’re building or renovating a home on a budget. They cost an average of $40 to $80 per square foot.

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