LESLIE: Carl in Virginia has a countertop question. What can we do for you?
CARL: I would like to know the type of material that might be a good substitute between a Formica on the low end and a Corian on the high end, as far as price goes. What alternatives are there in between?
LESLIE: In between, a great choice is tile. It can be any price that you want per square foot, depending on the size and what the tiles made out of. You can go with a ceramic tile or you can even go with a 12×12 granite tile, that when you butt them together you almost get no joints; you can barely even see them. So it really depends on what your price point is.
TOM: There’s also solid surfacing material, Carl, that’s like Corian but it’s thinner. And it goes on … it’s a little bit thicker than Formica, but it allows you to repair scratches because the color goes all the way through.
CARL: Because what I was concerned about was any type of leakage. Just like with Formica, eventually the water gets around the seams and gets underneath and I know with the newer materials that won’t happen. And it also seems to me that those newer materials are extremely high priced.
TOM: Well, if the Formica or the laminate countertop is built properly, if you’re using good quality medium-density fiberboard, it can take a lot more moisture than the old particleboard substrate used to. And I think that’s what you’re talking about. When the water gets around the fixtures – like around the valves and the faucet around the sink – then the old particleboard substrate that the laminates used to be glued to would swell up. But the new stuff doesn’t do that. It’s really much more durable, today, than it ever used to be before.
CARL: Okay. I wasn’t aware of that. I just assumed it was still glued to a particle type board.
TOM: No. There’s a different – there are different types of substrate that could be used now, that are specifically designed for laminate, that doesn’t swell when it gets wet. Okay, Carl?
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.