Category Construction Glossary
Post-formed plastic laminate
A very common style is the formed plastic laminate counter top. These are
factory-produced with a single thin sheet of laminate curved and glued over
medium-density fiberboard or other similar base material. The base material is
shaped to provide an integrated front edge, work surface, and back splash, and
on the job site, need only be cut to length before installation (and possibly, have
an end trim applied using a glue if the end of the counter top is exposed).
Factory-made miter-cut pieces are also available, allowing the easy production of
Self edge or wood edge laminate
Self or wood edge plastic laminate counter tops are also very popular for those
who chose to have few or no surface seams. In this style, the top shop uses
substrate for the counter top out of MDF, or particle board and then glue sheets of
laminate to the substrate using contact cement. The laminate is then trimmed
using a router. This method can't reproduce the curved contours of post-formed
counter topping but can be made to easily conform to a much-wider range of floor
plans with fewer seams.
Solid-surface plastic materials
Solid-surface plastic acrylic or polyester materials are usually prefabricated at the
installer's shop and then assembled on site. The plastic material is readily glued
and the glue joints are then sanded, leaving almost no visible trace of the joint.
The edge treatment for solid-surface countertops can be very elaborate. The
material itself is usually only about 12 mm (1/2 inch) thick so an edge is usually
created by stacking up two or three layers of the material. The built-up edge then
can be shaped to a rounded edge or an ogee. Fancier edge treatments are, of
course, more expensive.
Laminate Counter Tops