"Understanding Your Home" by Building Inspector Mark Visser
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Laminated kitchen countertops. Laminated bathroom vanity tops
Plywood: If possible, look for a countertop that has a plywood sub-base which contains little, if any, formaldehyde.
Particle board: Will release formaldehyde gas.
MDF board: Contains 2 to 4 times as much urea-formaldehyde as common particle board. MDF stands for Medium Density Fiberboard which is also used for baseboards and window/door trim.

This product is sometimes referred to as "Formica" or "Arborite," but these are trade names of a manufactured high pressure laminate, of which there are many manufacturers.

Plastic Laminated Kitchen Countertops
Plastic Laminated Bathroom Vanity Tops

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Laminated kitchen countertops. Laminated bathroom vanity tops
Are you ready for a bathroom or kitchen make-over? Installing new laminated tops and countertops sure will help in the transformation especially with the newer more durable laminates.
Laminated kitchen countertops and laminated vanity tops have been used in homes for many years and for good reason. They are easy to install, versatile, dependable, easy to clean and relatively inexpensive compared to other countertop materials. They do not require annual maintenance like all other countertops. Plastic laminates are available in a wide variety of designs, textures, colors, finishings (satin to high gloss) and patterns which include granites, marbles, woods, and metals.
The fasted way to get a new vanity top or kitchen countertop is to have it custom made to the required length and installed by a professional. A person with more experience, and the right tools, can save a bundle by doing the cutting and installation himself. Preformed tops have a raised front edge and backslash.


Plastic laminates are made of several layers of paper bonded together with plastic resins under heat and very high pressure. The top layer of resin-impregnated paper is colored or patterned. The result is a hard, durable material that is water resistant, easy to clean, non-porous, warm, and inexpensive.
For preformed countertops the laminate is glued on and supported by a plywood, particle board or MDF board base (read also health warning below). Laminated vanity tops and kitchen countertops tops are relatively easy to install. The choice of colours and patterns for tops is almost unlimited.

Years ago (1977-1980) the exterior walls of millions of older homes in North America were, with government grants, insulated with Urea Formaldehyde Foam Insulation (UFFI). Improper installations of this insulation in moisture high areas (kitchens, bathrooms) led to the release of formaldehyde gas which could lead to all kinds of health problems. Although the negative effects of UFFI were never proven in court, all installed UFFI was removed, again paid for by the government.
However, our homes are NEVER free from formaldehyde. It is found in particle board used for furniture and countertops, new draperies, carpets and is found in the combustion by-products when operating a furnace, fire place, wood stove or gas appliances.

* Softer than other materials and is easy to scratch, chip or scorch.
* Even a small leak around the sink or faucets will do irreparable damage to the supporting particle board in a short period of time. Damp or wet particle board will also release formaldehyde gas at a faster rate.

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