By Ilyse Diater. Kitchen Countertops. Published at Thursday, March 08th, 2018 - 17:00:25 PM.
The basics: Plastic laminate countertops consist of a wafer-thin finish adhered to a plywood or particleboard substrate. That thin finish is a high-pressure laminate (HPL); it’s made of three layers of material bonded together by high heat and pressure: a clear melamine top for protection, a decorative layer and a backing made of phenolic resin-coated kraft paper. Well-known laminate manufacturers include Formica, Wilsonart and Nevamar.
Plastic laminate, once the standard surface for postwar home kitchen countertops, still has a big market share due to affordable and maintenance-free options in loads of colors and patterns. Check out the basics and special considerations here to see if a plastic laminate counter might be right for your kitchen.
Composed of smaller pieces of wood, butcher block can make great use of reclaimed or repurposed material. Sustainable butcher block can come from diverse sources, such as reclaimed shipping pallets or deconstructed buildings. Your knives will love this surface and, after it shows some age, you can just sand the wood a bit and refinish with a food-grade natural oil.
You’ll feel good about your selection and add personality and richness from the wood’s history. I look for wood that has a story — maybe it’s salvaged from some iconographic building or even from the project’s remodel. Just remember, wood is more susceptible to damage by water and heat, so it’s best located away from the sink, dishwasher and range. An island is a good option.
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