7 Tips for Choosing a Plastic Countertop

Content
  • Pros and cons, comparison with other materials
  • 7 Tips for the Buyer

Plastic table top is the most affordable, but not in the least second-rate option, because it is much better than expensive countertops made of wood and even stone. The main thing is to choose it correctly and know the rules of operation. In this article you will find 7 tips for choosing a kitchen countertop from laminated chipboard, an overview of the pros and cons of the material, and recommendations for care.

Pros and cons, comparison with other materials

Plastic table top is a chipboard with a decorative and protective coating made of melamine. Thanks to the digital printing method, the decorative layer pattern mimics natural textures, for example, granite or wood. And the top layer can be smooth, matte or "shagreen".

Pros:

  • Low price (400-1000 rub. per running meter);
  • Ease of care;
  • Color fastness to burn-out from UV rays;
  • Relative heat resistance - plastic can withstand short-term contact with hot dishes at a temperature of 180-230 degrees (depending on the thickness of the plastic layer);
  • Resistance to rubbing with brushes and cleaning with the use of aggressive household chemicals;
  • Resistance to humidity (under the condition of intact protective layer and closed ends);
  • Ease of installation and dismantling;
  • A variety of colors and textures (more than 150 color options, as well as the ability to select the print yourself, buying a countertop on request).

Below are examples of how a plastic countertop can look like a stone or a tree in the interior of a kitchen.

Table top made of laminated chipboard under the stone

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White plastic countertop in the interior of the kitchen

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  • Most often, plastic countertops mimic the natural textures of wood, stone or ceramic mosaic, however, there are simply colored single-color slabs
  • Most often, plastic countertops mimic the natural textures of wood, stone or ceramic mosaic, however, there are simply colored single-color slabs

However, the drawbacks of the table top from the chipboard are, it is:

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  • Artificiality of the material, visible to the eye and to the touch;
  • Toxicity at the open ends (however, as a rule, for the manufacture of countertops use EAF class E1, releasing formaldehyde in small amounts);
  • Swelling of the plate when moisture enters the areas with a damaged plastic layer;
  • Presence of appreciable seams (they are closed by special profiles), if the kitchen is angular as on the photo below or longer than 3 meters.
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If you compare the chipboard with other popular materials only on the performance characteristics, it turns out that the "plastic" is second only to the agglomerate (composite material from natural stone and polymers) and confidently defeats wood and natural stone (if you see the table below from your mobile device, turn the screen in horizontal position):

Tree Agglomerate A natural stone Acrylic stone Chipboard
Scratch Resistance 2 3 2 1 2
Resistance to pollution 2 3 2 3 3
Resistance to cracking and chipping 2 3 2 3 3
Resistance to flame and high temperatures 1 2 3 2 2
Resistance to the influence of caustic acids 1 3 2 3 2
Impenetrable to moisture 2 3 2 3 2
Shock resistance 2 3 1 2 2
Color fastness 2 3 1 3 3
Total points 14 23 15 18 19
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* 3 - excellent, 2-satisfactory, 1-bad.

7 Tips for the Buyer

Tip 1. Choose a worktop with a seamless edge

Previously, the ends of the kitchen countertops from the chipboard were covered with decorative edges, which were peculiar to be peeled off due to moisture and dirt entering the seams.

Plastic worktop with melamine edge

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Modern countertops often (but not always) have seamless front ends wrapped in plastic postforming. Sometimes the plastic coating reaches only the bottom edge of the butt (the joint is treated with a sealant), and sometimes wrapped on the back side. The latter option is preferable, since in this case the seam remains hidden and hard to reach for moisture and dirt, and in the case of large leaks a drip tray is provided in it (see Fig. photo below), which will not allow moisture to seep into the thickness of the plate. By the way, the drip tray is not present in all the worktops, so we recommend that you always check its availability.

Postforming tabletop, as a rule, has a rounded edge

A drip tray is a groove in which, in the event of a leak, water will collect, preventing moisture from seeping into the core

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  • The postforming worktop is suitable only for kitchens with a right angle, rather than curved ones. The edges of the rounded countertops are covered with edges made of plastic, melamine and even aluminum. Most often, the edge is selected in a tone to the table top, but if desired, it can be made contrast.

Tip 2. The thicker the plastic layer, the more reliable the material

Wear resistance and durability of the table top mainly depends on the thickness of the plastic layer. Most often domestic and Polish producers make a layer of melamine thick, mm, and the producers of Germany and Italy mm. Such a protective coating will not get burned or deformed from short-term contact, say, with a hot frying pan.

Tip 3. The thicker the chipboard, the more solid it looks

Plastic countertops can have a thickness, cm, cm and less often - 4 cm. The thicker the plate, the more kind it looks and the more it resembles a stone or wooden countertop. In addition, a thick chipboard allows you to stand on the pedestals, for example, to tidy up in the upper lockers of the kitchen.

  • For a headset of non-standard height, you can order a more solid tabletop 6-10 cm thick or, on the contrary, thinner - up to 12 mm thick. True, the cutting edge of such a non-standard plate will be closed not by postforming technology, but by the usual edge.
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  • Thick plastic countertop with contrasting edge
  • Thick plastic countertop with contrasting edge

Tip 4. A smooth semi-matt tabletop of light color is less than a dark, glossy and structural

When choosing a plastic worktop in color, keep in mind that on a dark background there will be very noticeable tiny pollution, for example, water droplets, dust, dirt, stains after cleaning, crumbs and grains. If you really want to install a dark countertop, we recommend choosing a plate with pronounced light impregnations or veins, for example, with a granite texture as on the photo below or marble.

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Also, we recommend avoiding tabletops with a pronounced structure (for example, repeating the relief of wood), as well as with a glossy coating. The first option is harder to clean, and the second - is prone to quickly get dirty fingerprints.

The top of the chipboard with the structure is cleaned somewhat more complicated than the smooth surface

Glossy plastic countertops are less prone to scratches, but it is more difficult to care for, as it is very visible fingerprints

Tip 5. Ideally, it is worth buying a countertop of increased depth

The standard depth of the kitchen counter is 60 cm, but ideally it is worth choosing or ordering a plate of increased depth - 63-65 cm. So you will not "beat" your feet on the protruding furniture handles.

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  • Sometimes for the arrangement of the kitchen requires a countertop of even greater depth. For example, if you need to bypass the vent or build it into the sill. In this case, it is worthwhile to look for factories that manufacture slabs up to 120 cm deep.

See also the material: Dimensions of kitchen countertops from chipboard, solid wood, artificial and natural stone. What you need to know before buying?

Council 6. Observe the rules of use and care

  • If possible, stains, especially liquids, should be removed as soon as possible with mild cleaning agents and a cloth;
  • To remove old dirt, they must be treated with a cleaning agent and leave "soaked" on some time or treated with a liquid detergent for cleaning and polishing furniture (except for glossy surfaces);
  • Oily dirt (oil, grease, wax, etc.) should be removed with organic solvents;
  • Keep in mind that glossy countertops can not be treated with polishing agents, as well as by means of oils and wax, otherwise the surface will cease to shine;
  • Always use a cutting board to avoid scratching;
  • Do not place hot pans and pans on the laminate top for more than 20 seconds. The utensil, which has just been removed from the stove, should be kept away from the chipboard, because even the best quality plastic will withstand contact with dishes with a temperature of 230-240 degrees, while hot dishes can reach 250 degrees.

Council 7. The worktop should be combined with the elements of the kitchen interior

Most often, the kitchen countertop is selected in a tone to the apron or facades of the headset (see Fig. photo-example below). Also, you can navigate in the choice of color and texture on the windowsills, floor, table top of the dining table.

Table top made of plastic in tone set

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  • Kitchen top in the tone of the table
  • Kitchen top in the tone of the table
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Read also:

  • . The choice of kitchen countertops - the advantages and disadvantages of popular materials.
  • . Guide for choosing a wooden countertop.
  • . Stone countertops in the kitchen - practicality and natural charm.
  • . Self-installation of kitchen countertops - from sawing to tie-in.
  • . Kitchens with facades from MDF - 10 tips for the buyer.
  • . Apron made of plastic - information for the buyer.
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