What Real Estate Agents Should Know About Laminate Countertops



Real estate agents who understand the availability of various laminates and their many use cases bring their clients an edge when discussing renovation options.

Used all over the world for countertops, residential furniture, cabinets and work surfaces in offices and hospitals, the humble plastic laminate is essentially layers of plastic glued to chipboard or craft paper.

This material has been used for over 100 years and is known by many generic and product names such as plastic laminate, PLAS LAM, Formica, Nevamar, Pionite and Wilsonart.

The Westinghouse Electric Company created this material in 1912 to be used as an insulator to replace the silicate mica material in electrical engineering. The name “mica” comes from its original use as a substitute for mica. Cincinnati was the birthplace of Formica, invented by engineers Donald O’Conor and Herbert Faber.

From this practical start, it has evolved into an endless assortment of colors and patterns and has been used in a wide variety of fields, from decorative to technical. For clarity, the plastic laminate will be referred to as Formica, the oldest brand name still in use.

Plastic laminate flooring first appeared in the UK when it was used in the decorative interiors of the ocean liner Queen Mary in 1934. Estate agents will want to emphasize to their clients that in the post-war 1940s and 1950s, Formica entered mainstream use as a hardworking, inexpensive yet fun surface.

In the beginning, Formica was simply layers of fabric bonded together with resin. Later, the composition was improved to thick melamine laminated paper sheets. This stronger substance could withstand heat and abrasion, and the paper allowed color and pattern to appear. The ability to produce a durable and fashionable product led to the emergence of plastic laminate in many variations, which remains popular to this day.

While today Formica is most commonly used in residential kitchens and bathroomsas I mentioned, its early use was mostly industrial. In the 1930s, engine parts for automobiles including Chevrolet, Buick and Pontiac were very popular. Formica became even more popular as a cheap varnish substitute during the Art Deco craze that required sleek black surfaces.

Real estate really influenced Formica’s growth as a building material during the post-World War II construction boom. The explosive construction boom led not only kitchens, bar and bathroom counters to use Formica, but furniture and fixtures for schools, hospitals, restaurants, retail stores, and offices that sprang up around new suburban apartment buildings. material.

Fashion and lifestyle influences the marketing of all home products – and Formica is no exception. Once produced in solid colors, woody textures and imitations of marble and stone, the new collections mimic the surface of paper, leather, slate, silk and other fabrics.

Designs include abstraction and shimmering silk with titles such as Manhattan Glamor, Straw Matrix and Lunar Eclipse. Who can resist a durable, practical and reasonably priced surface with so many options and alluring names? What’s more, a new collection called “Knot Quite Menswear” offers designs in tweed, herringbone and argyle.

In addition to colors and patterns, the available surface finishes offer even more options – matte, textured, glossy, high gloss, metallic and acrylic.

New varieties include a marker or chalkboard finish that can be used as a whiteboard and is easy to wash, a fire retardant finish, an antibacterial finish, magnetic and electrostatic dissipation laminates that can be used as a printed circuit board – almost a full circle compared to the original products use as an electrical insulator.

Colorcor is another innovation that Formica has introduced to prevent dark lines when stapling 8 ‘by 4’ sheets. This innovation added material color from the surface to the underlying materials so that no dark lines would appear when two sheets meet.

The Formica moldable plate has been designed so that the sheets can be bent and used to wrap columns and round table bases. Prior to postforming Formica, sheets could only be applied to flat surfaces.

Replacing Formica surfaces – be it countertops, cabinet doors or walls – will give a fresh, clean and modern look to even the most worn kitchen or bathroom.

Agents who understand the availability of different laminates and their many options give their customers an advantage when discussing renovation options. Formica, which began humbly, has lived a long life with no end in sight.

Gerard Splendor is a Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker with Warburg Real Estate in New York… Contact him at LinkedIn


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