01 of 06
Laminate Counters That Look Like Stone
Not long ago, if you told someone that your laminate counter looked like natural stone--you know, marble, granite, and so on--you would have been laughed out of the room.
Today, that laughter, while still laughter, has been reduced to a chuckle.
No, I'm not here to pull the wool over your eyes. Nobody in his or her right mind will ever confuse stone-look laminate with natural stone. It's more a matter of, How Good Does Your Faux Stone Look? After all, quartz counters, vaunted for having... actual mineral content, are still not stone, either.
No Stone-Look In Laminate's Stone-Age Era
When you consider laminate's lineage, it seems improbable. In the early days, few serious attempts were made to duplicate the look of stone. With the manufacturing technology of the day, it just couldn't be done.
Instead, laminate counter manufacturers aimed for bold primary colors and strong patterns. Just picture those boomerangs and starbursts festooning Jet Age laminates and you've got the right idea.
Laminate Comes Of Age
Then came sweeping changes:
- Realistic Look: Higher resolution photography means that the image of stone--yes, folks, it is a picture--is crisper, more realistic.
- Texturing: Yes, stone can be honed so that it is glass-smooth. But other types of stone look and feel better with light texturing. Now, laminate can--to some degree--duplicate stone's texture.
- Edges: Edges have always been laminate's classic giveaway: maybe the top looks fine, but just look at those brown lines along the edges! Today, edge lines have all but disappeared
Formica's Himalayan Slate.Continue to 2 of 6 below.
02 of 06
Laminate That Looks Like Marble, Complete With an Ogee Edge
When you wrap laminate over the edge, you can do several types of treatments: beveled, bullnose, and ogee, just to name a few. Shown here with Formica's Geo White, a marble-replica laminate, is an ogee edge.
Ogees are just a bit fancier than the bullnose, from a visual standpoint. Functionally, both edge treatments do the same thing: protecting the edges from impacts.
Whatever you do, if you want your laminate counter to mimic stone, you'll definitely need to wrap the edge. The price to pay... for ignoring this rule is high, and you will later see in the classic "brown lines" example.Continue to 3 of 6 below.
03 of 06
Can a Laminate Counter Ever Look Like Travertine Stone?
This is a type of stone-looking laminate from Formica called Travertine Silver. It's part of Formica's 180fx collection, which tries to capture the "colorations and exquisite veining" of natural stone, according to Formica literature.Continue to 4 of 6 below.
04 of 06
Soapstone-Looking Laminate Counter
Wilsonart has a number of laminate countertops that look like soapstone: Pearl, Green, and Sable (not shown). It's an interesting permutation of laminate since many homeowners purchase soapstone (real) counters partly because of the way they look and partly because of the way they feel.
Soapstone has a soft, almost silky feeling--like the surface of a bar of soap, but without residue. Soapstone counters aren't the most popular because they do need some tender loving care.
So, if you want the look... but not the maintenance issues, laminate soapstone might be worth a look.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
Stone-Look Laminate Counter With Wood Tones
It's from Formica and it's called Dolce Vita. The stand-out feature is the edge, which Formica calls IdealEdge.
Not only does the edge wrap over in a bullnose fashion, it negotiates this complicated "clipped corner" without showing any of those telltale "brown lines."
Dolce Vita, while it looks primarily like a mineral product, is a hybrid developed by The Formica Group--they call it a "crossover option"--especially to coordinate with wood cabinets.
So, with its brown crystal structures, it's a... stone that has overtones of wood, designed specially by Formica to match with "deep brown, warm cherry and golden maple" cabinets.Continue to 6 of 6 below.
06 of 06
Stone-Look Laminate Exposed "Brown Line" Edges Give It Away
See this? This is Creme Quarstone, part of Formica's Radiance Collection, a high-gloss shimmery laminate meant to mimic stone's facets that "catch and reflect light," according to the Formica literature.
If you look just at the laminate itself, it looks pretty good--maybe even verging on a stone look. Yet the minute you see those brown edging lines, realism goes out the window.
If the brown edges look like kraft paper, that's because it's similar. The base layer of laminate surfacing is a... paper like butcher paper.