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Only your contractor knows for sure: Formica Ideal Edge mimics expensive stone & solid surface countertops with laminate

“…Eliminates the final telltale sign of laminate
– the brown line.”

I am a big believer in the idea that the most significant design shifts tend to come from technological breakthroughs. The advance of laminate kitchen countertops — replacing linoleum and wood in most kitchens in the 1950s — came as a result of the very invention of plastic and then, the ability to manufacture it in long thin sheets with colorful designs laminated on to the top layer.
Originally, countertop edges could not be bent or rolled, so that’s why we always see metal edging in early kitchens. Later, around 1957, the countertop industry developed the ability — called thermoforming — to “roll” the edges and the backsplash in one continuous piece, eliminating the need for metal edging and introducing a big shift in the way kitchens looked. Homeowners who didn’t choose rolled edges chose flat edges, and metal edging faded from use.

Now… 2012… we have another advance: Formica this week is introducing new laminate edging technology that allows us to have more intricate “ogee” or “bullnose” edging profiles on our Formica countertops — complete eliminating the tell-tale brown line that comes from a typical 90-degree edge. And, their new “Ideal Edge” — in these two curvy two designs — can go all the way around corners and ends, adapting to any cabinet or turn-the-corner configuration.

marble countertop with laminate

Don’t want to take out a second mortgage (if you can get one, ha) to afford granite or marble countertops? Now, get the Ideal Edge… combine it with today’s laminates — which are remarkably realistic… and the bankrupt Joneses next door will have to look twice to see the difference. Note: Wilsonart’s “Cascade” edge, introduced in September, seems pretty similar to the Formica Ideal Edge/Bullnose and like the Formica technology, eliminates the brown line. So I’m not declaring Formica gets all the props for the innovation — they just did a good job catching my eye with this announcement, and with sending lots of great photos pronto.

You know my general aesthetic when it comes to midcentury modern and midcentury modest houses: Granite isn’t *authentic*, and in unpretentious midcentury houses, it seems out of place (to me). But, I certainly like the idea off-white-and-gray Carrara (and if it’s not available, okay, Calacatta) marble — in particular in bathrooms, but also on a section of kitchen countertop, or on all of it, depending on how high falutin’ your house and your style is. The beauty part of faux-marble laminate is that it is going to be (1) way easier to maintain than marble (2) way less expensive and (3) a more environmentally sensitive choice. Carrara marble has been around forever in homes — it’s one of the few things that makes my “timeless design” list. Again: I particularly like the idea for bathrooms. The greyish-off white should go with virtually any pastel bathroom, which will likely also be chock-a-block with chrome and likely, gray grout in the floor tiles. Set in a Kohler hudee-rimmed sink, and you are ready to party like it’s 1959 or 1969 or 1979.

ogee edge profile
ogee edge profilebullnose edge profile

Which laminates and edges do I like best?

  • Note, the two Formica laminate designs shown in this story are not Carrara — they are Formica’s Calacatta, which is a larger veined marble, and Formica’s Bianca Luna, which seems to have heavier darker graining. For classic midcentury style, among these two, I’d go for Calacatta with the ogee edge — it’s less honkin’.
  • But, my favorite vintage-style-marble-laminate still is Carrara marble laminate — I recently found three companies with this style. Yes, you can get Wilsonart’s “Carrara Santorini” laminate with the new, seamless bullnose edge.  But, if you want the seamless ogee edge, you have to go with one of Formica’s choices.
  • So… it’s a tradeoff. Get samples. Go see the edges. Agonize and torture DH. As usual.

See more information on Formica’s website here. And, read on for Formica’s complete news release:

Formica Corporation, the inventor of high pressure laminate and the first to pioneer large-scale laminate design, introduces another breakthrough in laminate with IdealEdge™, decorative edges suitable for curved, clipped or 90-degree corner installations. Available in two versatile profiles – Ogee and Bullnose – IdealEdge™ transcends the customary limitations of laminate by eliminating flat edges and brown seams.

“Laminate has benefited from major innovations in the last few years that have revitalized the surfacing material; IdealEdge™ is yet another one of those breakthroughs,” said Brian LaDuke, senior director of marketing at Formica Corporation. “IdealEdge™ profiles are fabricated like a bevel edge, which allows for more installation flexibility, and have the ability to curve and encase all sides of countertops, islands and tables. IdealEdge™ eliminates the final telltale sign of laminate – the brown line.”

Available in hundreds of Formica® Brand Laminate colors and patterns, IdealEdge™ profiles are produced in 12-foot lengths and are customizable to design specifications.

Formica Corporation continues to lead the industry with innovative designs and green building solutions. Formica® Brand Laminate is available with FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council) certification and is GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified® by the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute under the GREENGUARD Standard for Low-Emitting Products, including the requirements for Children and Schools.

In addition to IdealEdge™, Formica Corporation expands its 180fx® Collection with five new lighter, more neutral options. The patterns feature the premium finish Etchings™, a softly polished finish etched and dappled with highlights from tiny fissures reminiscent of those found in real granite and stone, or Radiance®, a high-gloss finish that is punctuated with texture and features holographic facets that refract and reflect light.

  1. Casandra says:

    My countertops were delivered yesterday, and they look like my 4yo did the edges!! None of it looks seamless and there are chips and gaps they filled with caulk.
    Does anyone have any tips on fixing them? It is going to be a fight to get my money returned.

  2. pam kueber says:

    Casandra, on this issue — get back with your contractor and/or Formica to sort out the issue.

  3. Lauren says:

    Hi! I work for a dealer that sells this product. It really is a cool product… BUT the seam is NOT invisible. It is certainly more attractive than that solid black or brown line of the older generation, but it is there & you will see it. It does still have the same issues with water so please keep that in mind & clean up your spills. Being that there is still a seam, it can separate when hit with something. Great product but it does have it limits. Just be sure o understand the product in full before you buy!!!

  4. Theresa Barr-Drew says:

    So are the seams all the way around or just on the edges? I thought the end was the only place they added the edge and therefore the seam is only on the end. The front is wrapped. Am i wrong?

  5. Deb says:

    You can have the counters done without any seams. The “ideal edges” are more for DIY ers. Just YouTube’s laminate counter top construction and there are how -to examples to creating a seamless edge.

  6. Sarah says:

    Cabinetmaker Warehouse online seems to have bullnose, ogee, and bevel edges to match all the various laminates. Made by a seperate company, as opposed to the edges offered by Wilsonart, Formica, etc., Can’t vouch for quality, but they look the same as the “official” edges.

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