Formica® laminate was invented in 1912 by Westinghouse electrical engineers Daniel J. O’Conor and Herbert A. Faber. They discovered that high-pressure plastic resins could be used to make electrical parts, replacing the mineral mica, thus the name Formica. The Formica Products Company was established in 1913.
Formica originally consisted of layers of fabric bound together with resin; later, it was made with thick pieces of paper laminated with melamine. This tougher substance could resist heat and abrasion, while the paper opened up a wealth of possibilities for printing colours and patterns, which proved key to its success
By 1930, the Company begins to make the shift from industrial applications to decorative laminate products. Colorful, durable and cigarette-proof, Formica® Brand Laminate become a popular choice for the interiors of cafes and nightclubs, as well as railway cars and luxury ocean liners like the RMS Queen Mary. When U.S. entered World War II, The Formica Insulation Company focused on military production until the war’s end.
In the optimistic postwar world of the 1940s and 50s Formica came into its own as a cheap and cheerful surface. It exuded the popular streamline styling of the day, with an endless catalogue of exotic patterns, bright colours. faux wood grains, and the iconic Boomerang pattern.
See more vintage Formica ads on our Pinterest page!
Throughout the company’s history, Formica has developed innovative new products in colors, patterns and finishes that target both the residential and commercial markets. The popularity of Formica endures, whether inspired by a retro or modern design aesthetic, and the new advances in green building has sparked a renewed interest in the uses of Formica laminate.
One of the most popular new trends in kitchen design is the undermount sink. Karran sinks are manufactured in both acrylic and stainless steel, and available in various models from a small bar sink to a large double basin. The traditional countertop rim has been replaced with a unique resin matrix designed for seamless integration in laminate countertops.
Undermount sinks are more hygienic and easier to maintain than drop-in sinks. Look around the edges of your drop in sink and you will see how bacteria can collect where the wet edge meets the counter.
Karran sinks are resistant to stains, heat, impact, bacteria, and scratches. All Karran sinks are warranted against material and manufacturing defects for 50 years.
We highly recommend Karran Sinks and can help you with a step by step instructional video for installation.
Our customer Don sent in these photos and reported on his project:
Setting up the template
The service from Bevel-edge.com was wonderful and after ordering, I got the Karran Edge sink in just a few days. I was the one who installed the sink, but I had never installed an undermount sink and especially never installed an undermount onto a laminate counter before. Everyone I talked to, including the “experts” at the big box home stores told me it could not be done. However, after reviewing YouTube videos and reading instructions, I started the installation. The process is simple in concept, but very labor intensive and in total it took me about 3 hours of routing, chiseling, scraping, and gluing to get the profile into the particle board down to the underside of the laminate. But the result is a beautiful look and 100 times better than a surface mount sink.
Ethan is the resident expert and head honcho of Bevel-Edge. He answers this question from a reader:
We are remodeling our kitchen and so far everyone we talked to about undermount sinks with laminate tops say don’t do it. What gives? I see everywhere online that it the latest thing but industry retailers aren’t sold. What’s the guarantee they offer as to how long to expect undermount sinks not to leak and damage the base board?
As with many new things, change is scary to some. In the past there have been some inferior attempts to market acrylic “transition rings” that would act as a go-between the sink and laminate. These were and are plagued with problems as well as being pretty unsightly. As a cabinet and countertop fabrication shop owner in South Florida for 15+ years, I installed undermount sinks in laminate for many years before these newer sinks became available. We would mount solid surface Corian sinks under the laminate using an acrylic epoxy. This is similar to the way they are installed today. The largest difference with the Karran sinks is that they are made of the same core material- acrylic – but are lighter weight and thus require much less bracing to mount under laminate. Also, the Edge series stainless steel sinks are made in a way that the acrylic ring surrounds the perimeter of the sink rather than sitting on top and thus creates a virtually seamless appearance from the sink bowl into the laminate.
The technology of 4 color printing has resulted in a large array of patterns in laminate. We have added many new Wilsonart and Formica choices in patterns that simulate granite, engineered stone, wood grain and fiber.
The broad color selection allows you freedom to develop your interior design around a favorite hue. Collecting and comparing laminate samples is a lot simpler than searching through the large slabs at the stone yard.
You can order free samples from our site! Simply locate the patterns that interest you and fill out the form.
There are very close facsimiles to marble and granite patterns. The wood patterns in oak, maple and walnut are warm and natural, and like all the laminate, durable and easy to care for. Soapstone patterns have a slight stippled texture, and come in many more colors in laminate than you will find in natural materials.
The low prices of these countertop materials allow you to update the look of your home as trends change without spending a fortune. Bevel-Edge supplies sheet laminate, edging, backsplash and even color caulk to match your pattern choice.
Here are some samples of the most popular choices in these simulated styles:
Ethan demonstrates the step by step process for installing an undermount sink and laminate countertop. Posted below are his answers to to questions from viewers.
How thick does the desk perimeter need to be?
Countertops are usually 1-1/2″ thick around the perimeter achieved by doubling the 3/4″ particleboard or plywood around the edges.
How well does the laminate sheet do near a sink with the water? Is there another step that I need to complete to ensure that the laminate sheet does not mold or get messed up from water damage?
The laminate is sealed to the acrylic sink rim with epoxy so there will be no water infiltration there. The only remaining surface is the edge of the laminate, approx .038″ thick. The Formica laminate (phenolic and resin fused under heat and high pressure) is too dense for water to infiltrate thus there is no additional maintenance required.
You’ve picked the color, added the trim and backsplash, and have a sparkling new countertop to brighten your kitchen. Now how do make the laminate stay attractive for the long run?
Protect: Use hot pads or trivets to prevent burns and cutting boards to avoid scratches other blemishes. Products: Don’t use highly abrasive cleaning solutions on laminate counters. Soft cloths are preferable to any scrub brushes and pads. Here are some recommended cleaning products:
Go Easy: For most clean-up, simply apply soap and water onto the surface with a soft cloth. Don’t over-saturate the laminate, especially around the seams where water could seep beneath and warp the wooden substrate.
Spills and Stains: If you spill drain cleaner on the counter while trying to fix the sink, wipe it up immediately and rinse several times with water. The lye in the drain cleaner can cause permanent damage to the surface.
Hair, textile and food dyes can cause permanent stains. Wipe up all spills immediately with dishwashing detergent or an all-purpose cleaner.
For stubborn spots use a paste of baking soda and water. Let it sit for half an hour, then rub with a nonmetallic, nonabrasive scrubber. For a greasy stain, use a little rubbing alcohol.
Thanks to Dan DeLeon, who wrote us about his DIY counter top project. Please share your pictures and projects with us and we will post them here.
It was much easier to install the sink then we thought. We must have watched your video 20 times and were pretty nervous but it surprised us how smoothly it all went. We’ve had the sink in since the end of June with absolutely no problems.
I am a supervisor at a local plant and I displayed our pictures there, the comments were “I can’t believe it’s not granite” and “I didn’t know you could put and undermount sink under laminate, I want one”. We told them you were the only ones we could find that did the ogee edge, and you had great prices on your undermount sinks and a large selection of models.
After waiting months for the Formica Company to unveil their ogee edging with no possibility in the near future, we discovered you had already done so! Thankfully, as my wife was adamant about the edging. We did everything by ourselves with no professional help. My sister is planning on remodeling her kitchen and she will definitely be coming to you when they start.
Thank you, again, you saved us thousands of dollars, and your customer support is the best!
When we started our business, it was hard to find many options in edging for laminate countertops & the few that were available were of poor quality. We developed machinery and a production system to create bevel edging for Formica and Wilsonart laminate. The response was very positive from cabinet shops, countertop manufacturers and do-it-yourself homeowners. We have continued to expand the choices, this year adding ogee and bullnose styles to the line of countertop edging.
Bevel Edge Trim
Bevel Edgewas our first and is still our most popular style because of its clean lines and modern look. The edge and top surface meet perfectly and the result is a vast improvement over the old standard square edge that exposes a brown line. It is more comfortable to lean against than a sharp edge when you are working at the counter. We manufacture bevel-edge trim in just about every Formica and Wilsonart laminate pattern and finish.
We introduced Ogee Edge in February of this year and it is the most decorative edge choice. The traditional Ogee style combines concave and convex curves giving an elegant S-shaped profile. We see this edge installed often in more traditional style homes. Most patterns of Formica are available in our Ogee edge.
Bullnose Edge Trim
Bullnose Trim is our most recent edge profile. Our take on this popular shape is a modified crescent shape that meets flawlessly with the top laminate surface & is a breeze to install. Our DIY customers really love how easy it is to install and the savings realized from a little sweat-equity. This detail is a great look for more contemporary kitchen designs. As with the Ogee, most Formica patterns are available in our Bullnose profile.
Laminate countertops have made a giant leap forward with the introduction of shaped laminate edges, transforming the landscape of countertop options.
No longer do you have to break into a 2nd mortgage or put a hurt on your credit card debt to have the appearance of a beautiful, stone countertop. It’s no secret that the kitchen as a home focal point has grown considerably over the past few decades and thus, remodeling budgets have grown as well. Unfortunately, some of the options for building that dream kitchen come at an unreasonable price point that just makes it impossible to ever recoup the investment.
Problem solved. The Bevel edge and brand new Ogee edge moldings that we’ve introduced for laminate countertops provide a 2-fold benefit.
Laminate countertops are fairly easy for the average handy homeowner to build him or herself and thus reap the rewards of sweat equity.
Our experienced support personnel are here to answer your questions and guide you through your project. Your project success is fundamental to our business success.
With the improvements to laminate appearance, texture and performance that companies like Formica and Wilsonart have developed, in just a day at home, a laminate countertop can be fabricated to rival the aesthetic beauty of countertops costing 10 times more.
More Options. For many years, one of the deciding factors that drove homeowners to choose a more expensive countertop option was the desire for an under-mounted sink. The practicality and cleanliness benefits alone are worth the additional money spent for this feature. The aesthetic beauty of the sleek appearance is an added bonus and lastly, again, the inherent resale value plays a major factor. Now, Karran USA is manufacturing beautiful Acrylic and Stainless Steel sinks specifically to be flush or under-mounted in a laminate countertop.
Final Answer. So there you have it; beautiful & bountiful options, ready availability, support from our company with over 20 years of experience building and innovating countertops and an investment in your home that actually pays back more than your initial outlay. All of this for hundreds rather than thousands of dollars. Ready to get started? Give us a shout or check out our short DIY video to learn a little bit about the process.
Wow! The brand new 180FX patterns are stunning! Building upon Formica’s huge success of the 9 patterns released in 2010, their new patterns offer homeowners 7 additional patterns to choose from.
As with the previous releases, these latest editions show off the beautiful, full grain patterns that up to now were only visible in solid stone slabs. Paired with a bevel-edge trim, these countertops will be virtually indistinguishable from Granite but with a price tag that can’t be beat!
The collection has been expanded to included:
Black Fossiltone:Mirroring nature’s ancient art, Black Fossilstone is accented with fragments of shells and marine life to create intriguing pattern and texture
Slate Sequoia: Washed in shades of deep, warm brown, Slate Sequoia reflects a modern trend in sensuous saturated color. Ivory and green veining adds drama.
Petrified Wood: Earthy, vivid colors of rust, green, black and ivory create a look of dramatic natural beauty
Breccia Paradiso: A striking marble pattern distinguished by fragments in varied sizes and hues that range from soft gray-green to chocolate.
Soapstone Sequoia: Warm and inviting, Soapstone Sequoia has fi nely drawn veins in white, beige and gray that criss-cross over misty hues of warm and cool gray
Travertine Silver:A perfect match for the elegance of modern architecture, Travertine Silver has a creamy color accented with subtle strokes of silvery gray.
Calacatta Marble:A classic beauty, Calacatta Marble displays exquisite taupe and charcoal tracery on a luminous background of creamy white