A sloppy seam in an otherwise pristine expanse of laminate kitchen countertop can ruin the entire aesthetic of the piece as well as the space. Thorough planning and research can reduce the number of seams or even allow for a completely seamless countertop in some cases. Eliminating seams cuts down on cleaning issues and ramps up the beauty of the countertop. However, there are a few things to consider before installing a seamless laminate kitchen countertop surface.
Benefits of Seamless Laminate Countertops
Today's laminate is decorative, durable and more affordable than stone and can look like marble or granite, according to Kitchen Cabinet Kings. Aside from the aesthetic, a seamless laminate countertop is easier to clean. This also makes it a more hygienic option in a busy kitchen.
The seams, no matter how well-aligned and perfectly placed they may be, aren't impervious to water, grease and other spills that can happen on a kitchen countertop. Once grease finds its way into a seam, dirt will cling to the oily substance and create a discolored grimy line along the countertop. A seam filled with minuscule bits of food, grease and dirt is a breeding ground for bacteria.
Considerations for Laminate Countertop Size
The larger the piece of laminate countertop, the heavier it is. This will mean that it will take a few people to pick it up and move it into place. It also means that the laminate countertop may need more support beneath it to handle the weight.
Additional supports may need to be installed if the solid cabinet base can't handle the weight. The larger and heavier the countertop, the more susceptible it can be to weak spots that aren't sufficiently supported from beneath.
When choosing the material and placement, consider the width and height of the doorways and entryways that the countertop will need to be delivered through. Once the laminate countertop is in the room, make sure there's enough space to lift and maneuver it into place.
Seamless Preformed Laminate Countertops
According to Home Depot, standard laminate comes in 4-by-8-foot sheets. If the countertop is larger than this, there will more than likely be a need to cut the countertop or allow for seams. If you truly prefer not to have seams, you may want to go the route of a preformed laminate countertop.
If you have a standard countertop, a preformed laminate countertop that includes the backsplash and overhangs can provide an instant seamless installation. A preformed laminate countertop can cost up to twice as much as working with and installing laminate sheets or sections.
To order a whole preformed laminate countertop, measure the space twice to be accurate. Make sure to allow for cutouts, such as the sink or cooktop, and cabinet spaces for the preformed overhangs, backsplash and countertop.
Filling Seams in Laminate
If you've installed a laminate countertop and the seams are obvious, a seam filler can reduce the amount of daily detritus that can find its way into the thin cracks of the kitchen workspace. This technique also works well when installing laminate countertops on a nonstandard bank of kitchen cabinets, an oversized island with numerous cutouts or other oddly shaped kitchen work stations.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.