If The Oregonian considers us experts and calls us for advise on flooring, why wouldn’t you??

Countertops: Porcelain tile and laminate mimic marble’s good looks

Published: Saturday, June 25, 2011, 7:30 AM

When it comes to selecting a countertop, the options are nearly endless — and continue to grow.Porcelain tiles have improved in looks and come as large as 24 inches by 24 inches, meaning you can cover 8 feet of counter and have only three grout lines.

And Formica recently created a laminate that looks like marble — and travertine and granite. The 180fx line is created by taking a photo of the real deal and turning it into a laminate that runs 5 feet without repeat.

With this in mind we asked Lisa Rattan at Pental Granite & Marble to help us compare the marble-like laminate and porcelain tiles to calacatta marble slab. Brandy Marsh with Area Floors provided basic installation costs on laminate and tile, while Aurora Ambrose from De La Tierra advised about fabrication of slabs.

laminatehg.JPGView full sizeSpecial to the OregonianLaminate


The Formica 180fx costs $3 to $3.50 per square foot plus $4 to $5 per square foot to install (this does not include tear-out/disposal fees).

Maintenance: Formica laminate is resistant to impact and scratches under normal use, though it is recommended that owners use cutting boards, chopping blocks and other protective surfaces to avoid damage. Hot objects should not be placed directly on laminate surfaces. Formica should be cleaned with a clean, soft cloth and mild detergent.

porcelianhg.JPGView full sizeBrent Wojahn/The OregonianFormica Calacatta Marble by Formica Group.


The Evolution series of Calacatta Oro runs $11 to $16 per square foot (honed vs. polished) and will cost on average $10 per square foot to install.

Maintenance: Porcelain tile is impervious to moisture, making it quite stain-resistant, but is not unbreakable. Always use a cutting board when prepping food. Grout lines need maintenance in order not to stain. Clean with warm water and mild detergent.

marblehg.JPGView full sizeBrent Wojahn/The OregonianMarble slab from Italy.


Pricing on marble slab ranges significantly. Most wholesalers in the Northwest have gone to a rating system for the stone costs, either A,B,C or 1,2,3 or color charts, says Neil Czelder of Pental, because of the diverse ways of pricing the installed product. That said, once the slab is chosen, fabrication/installation cost ranges from $55 to $85 per square foot or more depending on complexity of the job.

Maintenance: Marble is porous, and acidic foods can stain and etch it. Ambrose with De La Tierra says if you’re the type who can’t relax about your marble acquiring its patina, the material is not for you. Blot up spills immediately; on marble, the polish or hone can be etched by water rings left from condensation on glasses and by acids (e.g. lemon juice, vinegar, etc.). Resealing is required. To see if your marble needs sealing, leave a little drop of water on the surface for 20 to 30 minutes. If the marble darkens, it needs to be resealed. Ambrose also advises against excessive scrubbing or using abrasive or citrus cleaners. For more information on marble, check out the Marble Institute of America website (marble-institute.com).

About areafloors

We are a wholesale flooring store that has been serving the Portland Metro and surrounding areas for over 40 years. Come in today to experience what Beyond the Surface truly means....

Posted on July 11, 2011, in Countertop Talk. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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