Pitfalls of Cheap Granite

At first glance, the lure of granite’s natural beauty captivates many homeowners. The realities of this commonplace material are often distorted and lost in visual appeal. Laminate offers great alternatives at a cost savings to the homeowner. The myths and facts below about granite and laminate shed light to common misconceptions about these products.

Myth 1: Granite is easy to clean and maintain.

Fact: Granite requires regular deep cleaning and sealers. These special cleaners and sealers can cost the homeowner an additional $400-500 annually. In addition, it is recommended to abstain from many common household cleaners and acids to avoid ruining the finish.

Formica® Laminate is easy to clean and maintain. In most cases, a clean, damp, nonabrasive cloth and mild liquid detergent or household cleaner is needed.

Bathroom counter vanity 9302 Fantasy Marble 180fx

Myth 2: Granite is resistant to stains & bacteria.

Fact: Since granite is a natural porous material, some are highly susceptible to bacteria growth from food and liquids. Grease, wine, and standing water can leave stains on countertops which can be difficult, if not impossible, to remove. 

Formica® Laminates are non-porous and stain resistant. This includes the patterns in 180fx® by Formica Group. Digital technology captures the true-scale visual drama of quartz, stone and hardwood slabs with the added benefit of being a non-porous surface.

Kitchen countertops 9305 Silver Flower Granite 180fx

Myth 3: Granite is as hard as a diamond, which means it's hard to scratch from normal day use. 

Fact: Diamonds are used to cut and polish granite. Granite is composed of many minerals including feldspar, mica, quartz, and hornblende. Some of these minerals are in the bottom 25% of mineral hardness on the Moh’s scale (2.5 out of 10), meaning granite can and does scratch. 

Laminate, once thought of as easy to chip and scratch, is more durable than ever. Formica® Laminate is as scratch resistant as many granite and quartz countertops. All Formica® Laminate designs are manufactured with EliteForm technology. This technology features industry-leading scratch resistance so your surfaces stand up to the wear and tear of daily life.

Kitchen island countertop with vegetables 6320 Black Fusion

Myth 4: When sealed, granite can tolerate up to 572 degrees. Hot pans can be placed on the countertop.

Fact: A trivet should be used on most counters, including granite. The shock of the dramatic heat change could crack and split a porous surface instantly.  

It’s common misperception that laminate can’t tolerate any heat. Formica® Laminate can withstand heat up to 275 degrees for short periods of time. However, like all surface materials, a trivet should always be used on your countertops to avoid any possible heat mishaps. 

Laundry room with folded towels 7404 Neapolitan Stone 180fx 


Myth 5: Granite adds resale value to your home.

Fact: Adding granite countertops may help a home sell faster, but it won’t necessarily change the value.  On average, granite only adds 25% of its cost to the overall home value.

Current capabilities have allowed Formica Corporation to create quartz, stone, granite, and wood inspired laminate, which can be found in the 180fx® by Formica Group Laminate Series. IdealEdge® Decorative Edging by Formica Group allows one to create the look of a solid stone top, without the brown seam lines typically associated with laminate. This adds an amazing visual appeal to your home at a great value. Often, styles between homeowners vary, so an expensive granite upgrade may not be the best option for something that could potentially be torn out.

Table top with dishes and plant 7405 Istanbul Marble 180fx

Myth 6: Because granite is a real stone, it’s good for the environment.

Fact: Significant energy and fuel is required to mine granite, or any stone, from the earth.  Many come from China, Egypt, and India, which requires the granite to be shipped long distances.  It is also a non-renewable resource.  Once mined, it is gone. Some less expensive granites have been found to emit radon gas. Some experts question whether it is safe in the home, as radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer.

Formica® Laminate is made from FSC wood and recycled papers, both of which are sustainable. Countertops can be installed with low-VOC adhesives. The carbon footprint of installing Formica® Laminate is minimal due to its lightweight mass and lower transportation costs.  It is also GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified®


Apples on breakfast bar countertop 7403 Nero Marquina 180fx

Exploring your options and setting a budget will help define a solution that is best for your home. 

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