Kitchen Counter Tops
When we acquire multifamily housing, the kitchen counter tops are usually made of a laminate type of material which was the material of choice since Formica began making it in the 1940's. The laminate surface contrary to popular belief is not plastic but paper. It is a sandwich of materials with the following layers from top to bottom:
- Melamine resin, a transparent material that protects everything below it;
- The overlay, which is a paper similar to the paper used to make coffee filters or tea bags (it also carries some melamine resin and aluminum oxide with it);
- The decorative layer, is the layer that has the design and color; and
- Kraft paper, which is similar to the paper used for grocery bags. The Kraft layer forms the core of the laminate surface. This paper is hardened with resins.
The finished laminate is then bonded to a plywood or particleboard base to form the counter top shape. The resulting surface material resists water, stains, and some abrasion, but can be scratched or chipped by sharp objects, and damaged or scorched by hot pots and pans. Damage to laminate materials cannot be repaired. Damage will not show as much on the solid-core laminate but to fully fix a laminate counter top, replacement is the only option.