The seams found along countertops can be a troublesome component of laminate surfaces. Moisture seeps into the seams, adhesives loosen, and corners begin to lift. Even if the laminate remains intact, seams collect dirt, grease and grime, creating locations for bacteria to grow. You can eliminate some of these problems by eliminating most, if not all of the seams in laminate counters.
Preformed Laminate Counters
Preformed, also known as pre-molded countertops, are feasible for kitchen, bathroom or table counters. Similar to ordering a preformed stone or cement countertop, you can get a preformed laminate countertop complete with backsplash and overhangs. A preformed countertop eliminates seams by having one continuous piece custom-made to your counter's measurements. It is important to accurately measure your counter space prior to ordering a preformed laminate countertop. Some contractors utilize large cardboard pieces to trace the counter's outline and cut out a model that includes space between cabinets, appliances and other possible obstructions.
Preformed laminate counters work best when covering a standard countertop. Extremely large or oddly-shaped countertops may require purchasing laminate sheets to create the shape on-site. While installation may create a few seams, you can eliminate the effects of seams by using a laminate filler after installation.
Laminate filler used to fill in cracks and scratches when repairing minor damage to laminate also can be used to fill the seams. Laminate filler is applied with a trowel and sealed with laminate sealer. Using this reduces or eliminates seam issues on non-standard counters.
While there are benefits of having a seamless laminate countertop, there are some disadvantages. It costs more to buy prefabricated countertops than buying laminate sheets. A molded countertop with even fewer seams may cost more than twice the amount of a prefabricated countertop. Another drawback with a seamless laminate countertop is repair issues. If the laminate gets scratched, scorched, stained or otherwise damaged, you may have to replace the entire piece instead of a section.