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Holy Moly! Laminate costs almost as much as granite!!

12 years ago

Well...I got the laminate estimate from Home Depot. OMG!!! Who would have thought that it would be only $250 more to do my kitchen and baths in granite. The local granite fabricator gave me a good price evidentally. Talk about a shocker. That HD quote is with them installing the laminate for us. It is much cheaper if we DIY, but we are not very handy and I am really nervous about getting the measurements wrong and it looking awful. So much for saving money:(

It is going to cost over a thousand dollars to do just my laundry room in laminate. I did not get a quote for granite in there because I just figured we'd do something "cheap" in there...but apparently there are NO cheap options.

I really am at my wits end. We have gone over budget by a large margin and really needed to save some money on countertops but it isn't happening. The lady at the granite place told me that she gave me the lowest bid she has ever given anyone. I am not sure if that is true but to be that close to laminate, she must have.

If I still have my mind at the end of will be a miracle;)

Just needed to vent....Thanks!

Comments (25)

  • 12 years ago

    Granite costs have come down over the years and petroleum products and energy costs have gone up, plus you are paying labor to fabricate and install both, so the difference in not as great as it used to be, especially for the better grades or newer patterns.

    For $250, I'd definitely go with granite, especially if that is what you want. IKEA's butcherblock gets great reviews too. Maybe you can get the granite for the kitchen and do a prefab laminate at HD or Lowes or the IKEA butcher block for the laundry room. Most folks would see the butcher block as an upgrade, but it might be something you could DIY and save money on -- at least enough to do the little extra for the kitchen granite.

  • 12 years ago

    You know, if you have any cabinet shops around, I would look into them. We thought the custom cabinet shop would be more expensive, but they said they could easily beat Home Depot, etc. Ours ended up at $20/sq ft and then there was an additional $6.75 a linear foot charge to do the ogee edge.

    (So, for example, we had 44 sq ft/22 linear foot for the outer run and 45 sq ft/18 linear foot for the 9x5 island. 89 sq ft of counter = $1780, plus $270 for the edge = $2050. These were post formed and the cost of install was built in. Not sure if they would be more if we were not getting our cabinets from them or not, but they say install is built into all the prices.)

  • 12 years ago

    I know, it's crazy. We put in Ikea butcherblock countertops, and everything else that I would have wanted would have been at least four times the cost, including laminate (we would have hired that out too). I wanted wood countertops anyway so that's why I chose the butcherblock, but it was kind of weird that there was so little priced in between.

    I'd recommend looking at Ikea's Numerar wood countertops if you can at all stand the idea, and if not I second the prefab laminate idea. Or possibly you can find a handyman or carpenter to make you a laminate countertop for less than the fabricators could. There are instructions and videos online but it might be harder than it looks.

    Also, there is a post somewhere here (also on Retro Renovation and some other places) about someone getting a sheet metal fabricator to make a stainless steel cover for their old countertop, essentially like laminate but in steel. It cost them very little. I asked about that with some local shops but it was going to cost much more than the people online reported paying. Still, you might check into it.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Ikea countertops

  • 12 years ago

    We are about 5 hours from the nearest IKEA :( I looked online but they do not deliver countertops, if I read that right. That would be a cheaper option though. I do like the Ikea Numerar wood counters. Thanks Northcarolina! quote for granite in the kitchen and 2 baths with 3 bath sinks is $2000. After talking with some people, that seems to be a good price. I guess I would be crazy to pay nearly the same for laminate, because it should make the house appraisal better, I would assume?

    I looked at the prefab counter selection at HD and Lowes. The selections really were few and none of them really went with my tile floors in the bath and laundry :(

    I must make a decision SOON. Thanks for any suggestions or advice! I appreciate it!

  • 12 years ago

    As best as I can tell from your posts, you have ONLY gotten laminate quotes from Home Depot. Is that accurate? Get a quote from an independent guy or gal; countertop person, cabinet person, kitchen guy, handyman/woman. Don't assume HD is cheapest.

  • 12 years ago

    We also got 9 quotes for laminate and granite and the best quotes from what we felt are the most reputable companies in our area ..there was only $700 difference between laminate and granite. The granite will cost a little more than that in the long run for us because now we need a new sink. I got a very common granite not a show piece but I am pleased with the decision. I love the look and feel of stone.

  • 12 years ago

    Lowe's laminate prices were even more than HD. A local company was even more than both of them. I am not having much luck finding it any cheaper anywhere else unless we DIY. I really do not want to attempt that in the kitchen but would consider it in the laundry room where most will not see it (should it look terrible). Also, I had already purchased an undermount sink online that can't be returned and have had no luck selling on craigslist, so I guess if you take that $250 off the price, it makes even more sense to go with the granite. Strongly considering it.

  • 12 years ago

    Have you considered hiring a handyman to insall off the shelf laminate? We had our basement finished a couple of years ago, and the guy who did it was great with cabinets and other details. (We put tons of cabinets in the basement to use as our pantry since our kitchen is so small.) In the end we (DH) picked corian for the wetbar, but I'm sure he would have done a great job with laminate.

  • 12 years ago

    I'm a KD. This is the main reason I have not sold a laminate top in YEARS!

    A rolled edge, do-it-yourself install top WILL be much less than granite. But a custom made laminate top with a square or beveled edge top PLUS cost of a sink PLUS install should only be a few hundred under a solid surface top, like Hi-Macs or Corian....or even granite like the OP said. It's a no-brainer.

    It is very easy for me to convince a homeowner to at least consider solid surface acrylic (Hi-Macs). Once they get the cost comparison and see the value in a solid surface top, in terms of resale, longevity, quality and general enjoyment....almost 100% of them change their minds over to a solid top.


  • 12 years ago

    I know Corian is not very popular here, but 6 yrs ago when I built this house I got an incredible price on doing all of my bathrooms except the master in Corian with the integrated sinks by picking one of their lower priced colors, which is a beautiful, neutral color.

    Go to a cabinet shop and check on Corian--you might be surprised at how much money it saves you.

  • 12 years ago

    "Don't assume HD is cheapest."

    HD is going to send you to one of the local guys that paid HD to get on their list.

    Are you talking about plain old Formica type laminate or one of the newer 'solid surface' counter tops?

    The solid surface stuff is often almost as costly as lower grades of granite or other stone.

    The higher end granites are much higher.

  • 12 years ago

    >Go to a cabinet shop and check on Corian--you might be surprised at how much money it saves you.

    Depends on where you are, I guess. Around here, granite (except for things like Blue Louise) is much, much cheaper than any solid surface. As someone mentioned above, granite prices have come way, way down, as little as 20sf installed if you're willing to put up with Chinese prefab, while Corian is still around 70sf for anything except Glacier White.

    And yes, any laminate except the grab and go prefab is priced just about on par with the A group granites, no matter who installs it.

  • 12 years ago

    I meant to say I would also look into ikea butcherblock. You can get it delivered, but it may be prohibitively expensive to do that. Also check out craft-art. More expensive than ikea, but nicer woods available and may be a wash when you factor in the weird way ikea figures shipping costs.

  • 12 years ago is the wilsonart laminate group B. Nothing fancy and no fancy edge. It was a little more expensive than a group A laminate but nowhere near as expensive as solid surface. The solid surface countertops were considerably more than the granite I chose.

    The off the shelf DIY laminate is a consideration in the laundry. It would save us about $ 700 over specially ordered cut laminate installed by HD, and a few hundred for specially ordered DIY.

  • 12 years ago

    We had a similar experience here (North FL) a couple of years ago - HD was the cheapest for laminate by quite a bit, with Lowe's coming in quite high and 4 independent locals in the middle. We were just looking for a square edge with no attached backsplash, not adding many options or doing anything fancy. At the time, we could have done granite (from a local guy who beat HD's prices and selection) for about $500 more. We ended up deciding that we have to replace the cabinets before we worry about counters, anyway, but I was very surprised at those quotes.

  • 12 years ago

    FYI, a 5' x 12' sheet of Bianca Luna FX Formica costs $163.64 at my local Lowes.

    A 5' x 12' sheet of Sedona Spirit HD Wilsonart costs $275.

    Go to Lowe's site & enter the laminate you're considering to get the price on what just the laminate costs.

    4 x 8 sheets of MDF & particle board are less than $50. IIRC, particle board is under $30. Don't know how much contact cement is costing these days but you can prolly do an entire kitchen for around $30.

    I just bought a variable speed Bosch Colt trim router from Amazon for $99, delivered. A laminate trim bit costs under $10.

    You'll be set up to do plain square self-edges in laminate. If you can live without the fancy edges, you can save a ton of money DIY'ing.

  • 12 years ago

    If you are hesitant to DIY, do you have an independent contractor who could build/install the countertops for you, as described by Dee? Or that could install the Craft Art or Ikea countertops? I don' t know if it's any less expensive, but it might be worth looking into.

    This doesn't sound wonderful, but it might buy you some time: Use plywood. Or, use old countertops (yours or maybe some from Craigslist) and set them up for the time being. Have the sink hooked up. Shim up the countertops that are loose so they don't wobble (since they're likely not going to be an exact fit.) 6 months down the road or so when you've saved enough money, invest in the countertop that you want. It might not be pretty, but it will function. And you will have the sanity of knowing that you haven't gone beyond what you could do financially.

    One other idea. Would it be worth it to tile the counters with large inexpensive tiles on a wood substrate for now? I visited a house that did this with granite tiles on the island (a large, simple rectangle island) edged with wood. Frankly, it was beautiful. Then later on, when your feeling more financially able, do the counters of your dreams.

    Hang in there!

  • 12 years ago

    dealer cost for laminate built in a shop where you can go around corners etc is 12/ sqft and up. Granite starts at 28 / sqft and up. If you do not have many sq feet it will not make the price much different in total dollars but it should be significant in overall price.

    Off the shelf laminate at lowes or HD is by far the cheapest thing out there.

  • 12 years ago

    In LA , I can find an entire kitchen prefab granite counters for less than $1000. uba tuba and other common granites.

    Buy a stone cutting tool. DIY it. Just need some strong help to move the stone.

  • 12 years ago

    Not sure where you are on your decision but wanted to share this story on laminate.

    5 years ago we put off the shelf laminate in a rental property. While the surface is fine, the material under the edge in front of the sink has swelled. We suspect the previous tenant hung a towel over the edge and it must have absorbed some of it. While inspecting it, we compared it to the 20 year old custom laminate in our currently kitchen. What a big difference. The new off the shelf stuff feels/looks very cheap underneath. Our old stuff is very solid and there is no swelling even with a DW vent right under it.

    So what I have learned is I will never use off the shelf laminate again. If installing laminate I will use our local shop.

  • 12 years ago

    I think the bigger question is do you like the granite more, or do you just think you should go with it over the laminate because it is granite? In Maryland, the custom shop that we looked at could do 77sq feet of laminate counters (Formica FX with a beveled edge) for $2000. Uba Tuba in the polished finished would have been a little over $3000 (I checked with 7 places). What I wanted if I was doing granite was the Cambrian Black in the Leather finish which was $4200. What I realized in this process is that I didn't really care if I had granite, but I did care if the countertop was the color and finish that I wanted. I have never regreted doing the laminate, but I am not as "granite" centered as some may be.

  • 12 years ago

    I did many laminate counter tops in years past. Most times a laminate top is built in one piece and installed. If there are seams they are dealt with at shop, but now you have a huge top to muscle through someone's home. Many granite tops are seamed on site at sink or cook top and then seam is filled and you can hardly tell where the seam is. I can also tell you after all the time at shop fabricating a laminate top it may become scratched or nicked even after handling it with much care. When the laminate arrives at shop you have to carefully look it over for scratches and if using multiple pieces you must make sure they match each other. Once a fabricator cuts the laminate sheet he owns it. Particle board is the substrate of choice for underneath laminate. Particle board does not like water. I put a couple coats of poly under counter at front of sink and dishwasher to help with water problems. One thing laminate has over all the other counter products is wide selection of patterns and colors. If doing yourself laminate will save you a bunch, but if hiring someone, to me the granite is a no brainer.

  • 12 years ago

    $2000 granite quote is an excellent price! I actually like the higher quality laminates and wouldnt hesitate getting it if you really like it. But as far as what value it would bring to your home, I would go with the granite at that price!

  • 12 years ago

    Thanks everyone. Debrak...I have a similar problem with laminate. The house we are renting while the house is finished has laminate that has shown water damage and is swollen like that. Every time you lean against the sink, particles from underneath the counter will be left on your shirt. I realize it is old and maybe just needs replaced, but it has made laminate way less appealing.

    The mistake I made in all of this was to go shopping for granite before ever looking at laminate. I picked the granite that I thought would look best with my floors and cabinets....then when i thought I could save some money by using laminate, I decided to go shopping for the laminate.

    The problem that I kept having was that I was looking for a laminate with the same color background as the granite. I could never find a beige in laminate that didn't look peachy or pink against my beige walls. Then when I realized I was not going to save any money using laminate, it seemed a no brainer to me also.

    Senator13 I def. like the granite better. If I had really picked the laminate I liked best, instead of trying to pick what was most would have been even more expensive than the granite that I liked best. Long story short....they installed the soft giallo ornamental yesterday. I am happy with my decision. Not because I am really that "granite centered", but it really was what I liked best color wise. I am however...not doing granite in the laundry room. It was going to require a whole slab more and cost almost as much as the kitchen and 2 baths. Laminate will be put in there. So I guess I am doing both.
    Had we been more "handy" and felt comfortable DIY...laminate could have saved us quite a bit...but diy's we are not, unfortunately:(