Is natural best? 

By Ruby Larvin, Marketing Communications manager, Wilsonart: 

Laminate or natural stone?

When it comes to premium kitchens and the most suitable worktops, your initial thought may be natural stone. Materials such as marble, granite and quartz offer durability and a high-end finish often making them a first choice for consumers looking to create a remarkable kitchen space.

Despite these benefits, natural stone surfaces can also prove complex and expensive to install, impractical and of course, costly. Thankfully, there are a number of options that provide consumers with a better balance between style, performance, practicalities and price tag.

Often laminate is perceived as a value option, but developments in laminate engineering means this is no longer accurate or indicative of laminate across the board. The range of laminate types and the variation in specifications of laminate worktops are extensive. There’s a great middle-ground between the lower-quality products consumers often think of when they hear ‘laminate’, and expensive natural stone.

Laminate when produced to top standards – like those we abide by at Wilsonart – provides a stylish, practical and high-performance product, making it an ideal solution for consumers searching for worktops that look the part in a premium space and stand up to daily wear and tear.

Décor
Laminate worktops are available in a vast variety of decors – offering an assortment of colours, patterns and designs so there’s something to suit all tastes. Of course, natural stone provides fewer style options. Some laminate surfaces even mimic the appearance of stone (but are much kinder to consumers’ bank balances) so people can achieve the natural stone aesthetic in their kitchens.

Our square edge collection also means laminate can provide that bold, linear finish characteristic of natural materials all the while providing a modern appearance.

Combining the features of laminate with stunning décors that mimic these stones, or provides an altogether different but equally stylish look, means your customers have much wider choice so they can enjoy the perfect combination of design and purse-friendly cost.

For premium inspiration browse our Zenith solid laminate collection (Zenith is different to normal laminate worktops which have a thin layer of laminate which is bonded to a chipboard core; Zenith is made by compacting many layers of kraft paper together to create a solid core with a double sided decorative surface). Or consider the following decors Marmo Bianco, Cloudy Cement or Patina Rock from our laminate range.

Textured finish

Different textures can be added to laminate for a tactile finish that complements the décor. Our surface textures include granite, extra matt, soft and roche to name just a few. These finishes can make a huge difference to the overall finish of a worktop – helping create realistic replications of natural stone for a more authentic and premium result.

Performance

Choosing laminate doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the performance and effectiveness of the worktops you offer. When manufactured using high quality materials to meet and surpass regulations – as Wilsonart products are – laminate is a perfect solution to meet the demanding expectations of daily life in the kitchen.

All our products are manufactured to British standards and conform to EN438 through ISO 9001:2008 business management systems.

Most of our laminate worktops include a PUR (polyurethane) non-degradable under-edge water resistance seal* plus a moisture resistance barrier for maximum water resistance.

Our Aeon™ range is also engineered to prove three times more scuff, scratch and wear resistant compared to standard laminate making it an ideal choice for anyone searching for remarkably hard-wearing worktops. Plus, our Zenith solid laminate collection offers outstanding protection against heat, impact, wear and water thanks to its 100% waterproof solid core.

So, when it comes to laminate you and your customers can rest assured that you’ll experience remarkable performance from Wilsonart products for a truly robust option for kitchens.

Practical

The lower cost of laminate products and the reduced cost of installation compared with stone, makes laminate a much simpler option for consumers especially as it can be installed by any experienced kitchen and worktop fitter.

Laminate is also a practical worktop solution as it’s low maintenance; they can be kept looking their best by regular wiping with a damp cloth and a mild detergent or nonabrasive cleaner diluted in warm water.

Our Zenith range has a solid core, so curves can be created without the need for re-edging making them a practical option and simplifying the process for installers. The 100% waterproof core means Zenith can be used with undermount sinks and drainer grooves can be cut directly into the worktop on site as you would with stone too – so customers don’t have to compromise on finish or design when choosing laminate.

With its double-sided decorative surface, Zenith, can be used in other ways throughout the kitchen and the home too – for instance as coordinated shelving, cabinet framing or breakfast bar end panels.

There you have it – if you’re looking for premium work surfaces then don’t underestimate the performance, design and overall impact of quality laminate worktops compared with natural stone. Your customers will love that they can get their hands on these beautiful decors and high-performance worktops without the hefty price tag.

* post formed worktops only

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