There are hundreds of distributors for the plastic laminates used for countertops, selling both the raw sheets of laminate that fabricators use to manufacture the actual countertops, as well as pre-made ("post-form") countertop sections of the type you can buy at home improvement centers. The actual laminates themselves come from a relatively small number of factory manufacturers.
Here is a current list of plastic laminate manufacturers currently supplying fabricators and distributors.
01 of 06
Marion Indiana-based Hartson-Kennedy is one of the old and biggies in the world of laminate countertops. Since 1948, it has been putting out laminate from its plants in Indiana and Georgia. So, if you're into Made in USA, Hartson-Kennedy is definitely the right fit. They have the usual variety of countertop cores--MDF and plywood--but also a "green" alternative called Medex that is moisture resistant and has no added formaldehyde.
02 of 06
The Formica brand has become synonymous with laminate countertops No longer does Formica put out boomerang patterns and other iconic Sixties styles. You'll find laminate that looks like granite, even when you get up close and examine it with a magnifying glass.
One way Formica does this is by introducing etching, fissures, and other textured details to its product. They are not the only manufacturer who has pushed the boundaries of what plastic laminate can achieve, but few companies offer a wider range of products.
03 of 06
WilsonArt is truly one of the eminent founders of the laminate counter industry. In fact, the Ralph Sr. and Sunny Wilson home in Texas, where the couple lived from 1959 to 1972, is a museum to laminate: laminate on walls, floors, and counters. WilsonArt's HD series replicates the look of natural stone in stunning detail.
Wilsonart is a premium product that costs a little more, but the results are well worth it.
04 of 06
Pionite makes your ordinary residential laminate, and they make several interesting specialty laminates, too. One exciting product is called Leatherlam. Is this laminate that simply has the color and texture of leather? Hardly.
Leatherlam is "100% leather...thermally-fused to an engineered backing sheet." ChemGuard is specially designed to resist chemicals even when cut or scratched. Mel Cor II is a through-color laminate (the color isn't limited just to the top layer).Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
Based in Montreal, Canada, Arborite is one of the oldest manufacturers of plastic laminates, founded in 1947. Today it offers a wide range of premium textures in more than 200 colors and patterns.
Arborite has long been known for its innovative texture products that mimic the texture of stone, metals, and woods. These are premium products, but a good choice for truly custom installations.
06 of 06
Panolam Surface Systems
This Connecticut-based company manufactures laminates under several brands, but Nevamar is the one specializing in countertop laminates. This is a brand for durable, high-quality, solid-color laminates rather than specialty textures and patterns. Nevamar laminates are also a good choice for fabricating other items, such as furniture.