Formica Brand 949 SP Review-Using Plastic Laminate on Countertops
Recently I had a Kitchen project that called for the use of Formica 949 SP finish plastic laminate to be used on the counter tops. There are pros and cons that I feel should be explained to top manufactures. This review of the mica was born out of hands on experience of building custom made tops using the material.
The Pattern-Which way do the lines run in this Formica design? As an example, a 4 x 8 sheet would have the lines running across the four foot direction. This means that when you fabricate a counter using this material, the direction of the line pattern runs from the back wall to the front edge of the top. Because the laminate does not have a smooth surface but rather it is somewhat semi corrugated, it is important be careful when filing the material.
Bending the Laminate- We had several different sized radius’s to bend using this pattern. We were able to bend a three inch radius with no problems at all. When we tried to form the material around a 2 1/4” rounded counter corner it snapped. We had to sand the thickness down considerable to get it to bend around the tighter corners on the tops. We did not try to heat the laminate in order to be able to bend it around the small radius edges.
Making Seams-This was necessary for every ninety degree corner and for any other angle that the kitchen counters had in the design. In our situation we had to contend with having a back-splash which had the lines running in a vertical pattern. In order to make the lines on the top match with the direction of them on the splashes we had to seam every square corner or countertop angle.
Brittle-We found the 949 SP to be very brittle. So much so that the edges would have very small razor sharp chips that would get lodged in our hands if we ran our fingers or hands along the edges of the cut Formica.
Once the seams where finished they actually looked like the feathers that you would see on an arrow used with a bow. Because the surface is not smooth but has slight inconsistent ripples we could not match the design in the seam areas of the two pieces. The seams were very tight and looked good, but even after filling them several times with a white putty stick they were still very noticeable.
This particular pattern of Formica is unique and almost looks as if it should be used more on furniture than on kitchen counter tops. The 949 SP finish looks great, but in comparison to other more popular patterns such as granites and stone designs it is not something that I think I would recommend to customers in the future. Using this plastic laminate on this kitchen job took a lot of extra time for fabrication.