Quartz countertops are engineered stone countertops made from crushed quartz aggregates held together with resin. They are an increasingly popular choice for kitchen and bathroom countertops due to their durability, low maintenance, and stylish appearance. One question that often comes up with quartz countertops is whether the edges are laminated. Here is a detailed look at laminated edges and quartz countertops.
What Does Laminated Mean for Countertop Edges?
Lamination refers to applying a protective and decorative layer over the edge of the countertop. This is typically a strip of plastic that is bonded to the edge using heat and pressure. The laminate provides extra impact resistance and gives the countertop a finished look.
Laminate comes in many colors and patterns, allowing for customization of the countertop edges. It can give quartz countertops a more refined, upscale aesthetic. Laminated edges are also more resistant to chipping and cracking compared to raw quartz edges.
Are Quartz Countertop Edges Typically Laminated?
Quartz countertops can be fabricated with either laminated or raw unfinished edges. Here is an overview of the common options:
- Laminated edges – This is the most popular edge treatment for quartz countertops. The laminate protects the edges and gives them a more polished, complete look.
- Raw edges – Some quartz countertops are fabricated with the raw quartz edge exposed. This gives the countertop a more natural, rustic appearance. But raw edges are prone to chipping over time.
- Edge profiles – Edges can be finished with decorative profiles like bullnose, bevel, ogee, and dupont. These are typically applied over laminated edges.
- Waterfall edges – A waterfall edge has the quartz wrapping over the side for a seamless look. These are also normally laminated for protection.
So in summary, the majority of quartz countertops have laminated edges rather than raw exposed quartz. Many homeowners prefer the refined finish of laminate. However, raw edges are also an option for a more organic style.
The Pros and Cons of Laminated Edges
Laminated edges offer some clear benefits for quartz countertops:
- More durable and resistant to chipping
- Finished look is polished and elegant
- Wide range of colors/patterns available
- Allows for decorative edge profiles
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Laminate can peel or bubble over time
- Not as natural looking as raw edge
- Exposes seams where laminate meets quartz
How to Care for Laminated Edges
Caring for laminated edges is easy, but there are a few basic pointers to keep them looking their best:
- Use a gentle cleaner and soft cloth to clean. Avoid abrasive pads.
- Wipe up spills quickly to avoid moisture damage.
- Inspect for any bubbling or peeling and re-adhere immediately.
- Avoid exposing edges to heat, which can cause the laminate to warp.
- Use trivets and hot pads when setting down hot pans to prevent scorching.
- Take care not to bang or scrape the edges which can detach the laminate.
With proper care and maintenance, laminated edges on quartz countertops can stay beautiful for many years of everyday use. Their refined finish and added durability make laminate a popular choice among homeowners.
Frequently Asked Questions About Laminated Quartz Edges
Are laminated edges more expensive than raw edges?
Laminated edges typically add between $8-$12 per linear foot to the total cost of the countertop installation. This covers the extra fabrication time and the cost of the laminate materials. So yes, laminate does come at a slightly higher price, but it is a popular upgrade.
Can you apply laminate to an existing quartz countertop?
It is possible to add laminate to an existing quartz countertop, but it is a challenge. The countertop would need to be removed, sent back to the fabrication shop, stripped down to the raw edge, and then re-laminated. This is labor intensive so only makes sense if the homeowner is set on having laminate edges.
What thickness of laminate is used on countertops?
The laminate used is typically 0.5 mm to 1 mm thick. This gives enough durability without creating too thick of a buildup on the edge. Decorative profiles like ogee and dupont will be slightly thicker due to the contour.
Can you repair damaged laminate edges?
For minor damage like bubbles or peeled corners, the laminate can often be re-adhered using contact cement or epoxy. But for large damaged sections or cracks, the entire laminated edge may need to be replaced. Some fabrication shops can replace just the laminated section while leaving the countertop in place.
Is there a difference between laminate and quartz manufacturers?
The type and quality of laminate used can vary slightly between different quartz brands. However, most reputable manufacturers like Caesarstone, Cambria, and Silestone use laminates from leading suppliers like Formica, Wilsonart, or Arborite. The performance is comparable across brands.
In summary, laminated edges are a popular finishing option for quartz countertops. The laminate provides a refined, polished look, while also protecting the edges from chipping and cracks. There are some tradeoffs in terms of cost and maintenance, but for most homeowners, the benefits of laminate outweigh the downsides. With proper care, laminated quartz edges can perform well and maintain their beauty for many years. Consulting with a countertop fabricator is the best way to decide if laminated or raw edges are right for your space and lifestyle.