Do you ever find a product that you love so much, you want to tell everyone about it? Like almost in an annoying, yes-you've-told-us-1000-times way? That is how I feel about our new laminate countertops. We chose the Formica 180fx Calacatta Marble style and it is for sure one of the best selections we made during the renovation of the Myrtle House.
I, like many Pinterest-addicted women, wanted that bright white kitchen with just slab upon slab of gorgeous honed marble. I would scroll through the "marble countertop" search results late into the night until my thumb got sore (sad, but true). Occasionally, I would come across a photo that I loved of marble counter tops with a title like "Budget Friendly Kitchen Renovation" and I would roll my eyes. There is NO way marble counter-tops would fit into our pretty modest kitchen renovation budget of $5000. However, once I clicked on the post, it was almost always Formica "Farble" that had deceived me. I swear, if it is done right, you really can't tell from a photo that it is not real.
So! After going in to Lowe's a few dozen times and comparing the Calcutta Marble to darker samples that resembled Soapstone (my other favorite out-of-budget countertop option), there was really no contest. Calacatta, it was always you.
We had a really great experience ordering from our local Lowes. The lady that helped us was new, but super organized and detailed which is a huge plus when ordering something so precise. We brought in the measurements, she asked questions and then finalized the dimensions for the final cuts.
As far as I know, we didn't have a choice of finish (matte, gloss, etc.) but we did have a choice on edge. This is an important selection because certain edges can quickly give away the countertops are laminate and not marble. When you go with a squared-off edge, it will create a dark seam. The seam will contrast greatly with the white marble and make the countertop look fake. I would suggest selecting one of their rounded edges (pencil round, full bullnose, half bullnose) but be cautious with any edge with a sharp corner (pencil, bevel, and ogee). If you love these styles, I would just ask the Lowe's associate where the seam(s) will be so that you know what to expect. If you go with a dark laminate, the seam will be less noticable. We chose the 1/2 bullnose since it was standard and wouldn't cost anything more. Also, keep in mind that if you pick a fancy edge, only the front of the counter will have it; any exposed side(s) of the countertop will be squared.
They priced our countertops with and without installation. My husband is pretty handy, so we opted out of installation, bringing our grand total to $489. (Lowe's was running a 10% off countertop promotion and we used our Lowe's card for an additional 5% off.) We ended up with three pieces of countertop - one 4.5' section, one 12" section for the little cabinet next to our stove, and one 10' section for under the windows. Our order came in to the store within a few weeks, we loaded up in the truck, and brought home to install.
Installation was pretty easy if you have a drill, level, and jigsaw. Most newer cabinets will have corner brackets that you can screw the countertop into. The hardest parts were getting the small runs of countertops to lay flat (apparently the top laminate application process can slightly warp the backing) and creating a sink cut out. Gosh, that was a scary task. Our sink didn't come with a template since it was a vintage Craigslist freebie, so we had to flip it upside down to trace. Cue nervous sweating.
The best part about this countertop? Sure it is BEAUTIFUL and affordable, but guys, it is so incredibly durable. Not to name any names, but a certain member of our household often forgets to use a cutting board when dicing. Not a scratch left behind! In other words ladies, these Formica Marble Countertops are husband-proof, and I would assume kid-proof too. ;) It is great, because we can both be in the kitchen cooking and I am not hovering behind him making sure nothing gets scratched or stained like I would be with real marble counters. Additionally, we enjoy drinking red wine. Those bottle and glass rings left behind come right off!
If you are considering budget friendly countertop options, I hope you will consider laminate, especially the Formica 180fx collection. I am so happy with our decision, and I love that we won't be paying for our kitchen renovation for the next 10+ years. If you have any questions or concerns not covered in this post, please leave a comment!
(P.S. This post isn't sponsored by Formica and I received no incentive for writing this review. I just really enjoy our counter tops and wanted to share with you guys :).