Laminate Counters That Look Like Stone

  • 01 of 06

    Laminate Counters That Look Like Stone

    Formica Himalayan Slate Laminate Countertop
    Formica Himalayan Slate Laminate Countertop. © Formica

    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...MORE 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:

    1. Realistic Look: Higher resolution photography means that the image of stone--yes, folks, it is a picture--is crisper, more realistic.
    2. 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.
    3. 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

    Shown Here

    Formica's Himalayan Slate.

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  • 02 of 06

    Laminate That Looks Like Marble, Complete With an Ogee Edge

    Formica Geo White Laminate With Ogee Edge
    Formica Geo White Laminate With Ogee Edge. © Formica

    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...MORE pay for ignoring this rule is high, and you will later see in the classic "brown lines" example.

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  • 03 of 06

    Can a Laminate Counter Ever Look Like Travertine Stone?

    Formica Travertine Silver
    Formica Travertine Silver. © Formica

    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.

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  • 04 of 06

    Soapstone-Looking Laminate Counter

    Soapstone Laminate Counter
    Pearl Soapstone Laminate Counter. © Wilsonart

    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...MORE the look but not the maintenance issues, laminate soapstone might be worth a look.

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  • 05 of 06

    Stone-Look Laminate Counter With Wood Tones

    Formica Dolce Vita IdealEdge
    Formica Dolce Vita IdealEdge. © Formica

    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...MORE 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.

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  • 06 of 06

    Stone-Look Laminate Exposed "Brown Line" Edges Give It Away

    Formica Creme Quarstone
    Formica Creme Quarstone. © Formica

    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...MORE surfacing is a paper like butcher paper.