Made of paper blended with resins and fused to particle board, laminate has been a kitchen mainstay for decades. In the past, it hasn't always had a reputation as stylish, but that's changing: The latest designs on the market mimic stone, butcher block and other pricier surfaces.
Pros: Laminate is one of the most affordable countertop materials, so it's a good choice if your budget is tight. It is low maintenance and easy to clean. It is light weight doesn't require the support of a thick cabinet base.
Cons: Laminate is prone to scratching, burns and, in some cases, staining. With wear and moisture exposure, the layers can peel. Because of the raw particle board core, you can't use laminate with under-mount sinks, and it's also difficult to repair if it gets damaged.
Cost: $10 to $30 per square foot, installed