Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Formica laminate countertops

When we first priced out our house, we went with the laminate counters without thinking twice...we knew that the granite was an expense that we didn't really need, since we've always had laminate and were used to it anyways, and something that we could change down the road without too much drama.  Well, after reading some more blogs it occurred to me that perhaps a second thought might have been a good idea!  For some reason it never even crossed my mind that there were options within the options.  The first is that you can get "upgraded" laminate, which as far as I can tell just means a wider selection of faux granite patterns instead of the basic solid color or speckled looks.  We went ahead and did that, choosing the Blue Storm:

Now in all honesty, I have no idea what kind of laminate this is.  My paperwork just says "Laminate Countertop Kitchen Upgrade #1" and doesn't even specify the color (I'm sure the code indicates it somehow).  But after further blog researching I came across all sorts of countertop lingo: contoured edge, ogee edge, waterfall backsplash, sidesplash, etc etc.  So at my next meeting I asked about what kind of edge we'd be getting, could we upgrade to the contoured edge.  Our SR said it is an option, but she doesn't recommend it because people don't always get what they expect, that not all the edges are contoured.  I immediately thought of our bathroom's sidesplash:


As you can see, it's just a completely squared-off chunk of counter, butted up against a "waterfall" backsplash.  It looks a little awkward in the corner, and pretty bad at the front.


With that in mind, I dropped the issue and we will not be getting a contoured edge.  My parents had the flat edge growing up, I think I'll manage just fine!

But in earlier blog posts I have gotten comments about the edge, and why our SR doesn't recommend it.  So I did a little more research, and with a little help from Rachel found out a little bit more about what the edges of the counter itself look like, as opposed to just the sidesplash.  She actually knows what she has (Formica 180FX, Antique Mascarello) and calls hers an "ogee edge" (I'd never heard of that before this!):

This shows the cross-section of the edge pretty well.

Rounded sections are not contoured.

Where a rounded section meets a straight, there's a little bump-out to make the transition.

This is where both my boys would get black eyes and I'd get bruises all over my midsection.  Yes, we're clumsy!
I don't know if this is the standard upgrade everywhere, or if a simple waterfall or bullnose is more common, but the moral of this story is:  know what you're getting!

(Thanks, Rachel, for taking those pictures for me!  You rock!)


  1. I'm glad the pictures were helpful. The Blue Storm is part of the 180FX line, so there is so much more dimension in the product than in the standard formica. Check out http://www.formica.com/home/laminate/180-fx/# to see pics of the Blue Storm in real life applications if you haven't already. It's stunning.
    In our community, the standard formica had the bullnose edge. The upgraded formica (180FX) had the ogee edge and waterfall backsplash included. On our options list, when we referred to the code for the upgrade, it stated that it included those edges. One other thing that I really like about the upgraded formica is that the backsplash is part of the counter, so there is no caulking to deal with.

    1. I hope the real thing is prettier than the "sample" card...that's pretty flat looking. But I spent some time on the site and I'm really looking forward to seeing the finish in person.

      Our current kitchen has a waterfall front with an integrated waterfall backsplash, but when I specifically asked whether we'd get waterfall edges she shook her head no. So I'm going to expect a perfectly square edge and be pleasantly surprised if I get something a little softer!