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Today, advanced digital photographic technology creates laminates that look more like the real thing, and unique patterns can be up to 5 feet wide — wide enough to create an entire “granite” kitchen island with no repeating pattern
Also these days, laminates are made with some percentage of recycled materials, such as FSC-certified wood — wood that’s harvested sustainably.
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Laminates are made with layers of paper, including a decorative layer, and melamine resin. Generally, the thicker the product, the more durable and costly it’ll be. Higher-end laminates offer 10-year warranties. Fancy edge treatments — beveling, ogees, and bullnose — kick up the costs, too.
In the past, laminate kitchen countertops looked like poor copies of materials, such as wood and stone, because reproduction qualities were poor, and the finished product depended on a repeating pattern about 18 inches wide.
In general, laminate kitchen countertops are your least expensive option. Compare the costs with other countertop materials, as shown for an average kitchen with 30 linear feet of countertops, installed:
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