Faux Marble

Kev and I had to make a trip to Home Depot for some epoxy yesterday, and (as usual) we wound up looking at flooring, and tile, and counter tops while we were there, too. We’re both kind of in permanent “look-out mode” when it comes to interesting new design solutions, and we love discovering useful/affordable/neat-looking home stuff!

We managed to make it out of the store with only the epoxy yesterday, but we were totally blown away by one of the counter top materials we saw while we were there, so I wanted to blog a little bit about it here today. It’s called “Calacatta Marble“, and I’m not even kidding, as I walked up to it in the store I was saying to Kevin, “Ooh! I love marble counters!“. It wasn’t until I reached out to touch it, that I discovered it was actually Formica!

Here are some pics I found of it online…

Pretty lovely look-a-like, huh? It was $16 sq/ft. (installed) at Home Depot, which is obviously waaaay more cost effective than real marble, which usually costs between $60-$100 sq/ft.

This next photos shows an island topped in of one of Formica’s faux granite patterns, but can you imagine how pretty that Calacatta Marble would look with this kind of edge…

Me likey the thought-y.

And did you know that you can even use undermount sinks with Formica now, too? Check it out…

Way to increase the realism factor, Formica!

Anywho, I know laminate’s not for everyone, but for a lot of folks it’s the right choice, so I thought I’d pass this info along today in case anyone was looking for a “marb”elous-looking, low-dough faux-mica!

And speaking of spectacular faux counters…check out this amazing concrete creation I found on a Gardenweb thread yesterday. Here’s the before pic…

And here’s the (concrete) after…

(note: the homeowner mentioned that they hadn’t quite finished remodeling when that pic was taken.)

Can you believe that’s a concrete countertop!? Unfortunately I couldn’t track down the lady who posted the pics, but she did say in the comments on that thread that they started by cleaning and scuffing the original laminate surface really well. Next, they applied two layers of a “special mix of concrete” with drying time in between each layer. (Her husband owns a concrete business, and has extensive experience with the stuff.) After that, they created the veining by applying concrete stain using a variety of feathers, sponges and brushes. They finished the surface by grinding, sealing, and polishing it.

Pretty incredible, huh?

PS- Here’s a video Formica put together about how they’re able to create their new line of realistic-looking stone counters- which, by the way, is called 180fx. Pretty interesting stuff!

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Comments

  1. says

    Very cool! I’m dying to do our kitchen over but we’re on a shoestring budget. I love the look of these counters. We currently have slate and they are so porous. Constantly having to oil them with mineral oil.

  2. says

    WOW – We replaced our counters with a Corian-type, solid surface. It looks great – I didn’t want granite at the time because EVERYONE was using it. It looks like granite anyway, doesn’t need a lot of maintenance, and was a heck of a lot cheaper. But this stuff looks FAB! I couldn’t wait to pull out the cr*appy yellow (harvest gold, barf) Formica that was original to my 70’s ranch. This stuff is such an improvement. I guess Formica was wanting to jump back into the market, as they were getting a ‘bad name.’ WOW!

  3. says

    BE still my beating heart! ok now thats a price point I can jump on!…our counters are 18 years old and I think a little Home Depo trip or a big sanding job is in order!
    Thanks for sharing this Kevin & Layla! Amazing information!

  4. says

    SHUT. THE. FRONT. DOOR! I don’t love the feel of formica and am leaning towards an engineered stone….but OH. MY. GOSH that looks incredible! Is it that pretty in person?

    • Layla says

      YES! Like I said, I was literally saying “Ooh! I LOVE marble” as I was walking up to it in the store. Definitely fooled me!

  5. SuzyMcQ says

    Wow, what an incredible alternative! I have a comment and a question. On the image with the stove/range of my dreams, I think the countertops don’t look like real marble because of their thickness. Marble generally would not be that thick, would it? My question: Could you make the Formica countertops thinner to mimic real marble, or does that make them “unsturdy”?

    • Layla says

      Hey Suzy! Check out the first and fourth Formica inspiration photos in this post. I like those edges better, too! :-D

    • says

      We had countertops very similar to the ones in the 4th picture. We have the beveled edge. It costs a bit more, but it looks great. We replaced our white Formica countertops for this style. It’s a great product for the price.

  6. Morgyn says

    WOW! We need to re-do our counters..I LOVE the look of marble-hate the cost! I’m definitely going to be looking into this..btw random but Where are the curtains in your dining room from? I LOVE them!

  7. Heather K says

    I’d be really interested to hear more about the concrete counter top. We just bought our own little cottage and they hadn’t done much in the last 46 years to it before we bought it. We have the original wonderful yellow speckled Formica still. At least it goes well with my red Kitchenaid ;)

  8. says

    Wow the faux marble countertop is gorgeous, just a really convincing fake, and great colors. The cement one was pretty fantastic too, but since they were experts I wonder how easy a diyer would do with it? Thanks for sharing, pretty inspiring stuff!

  9. says

    Your post is so timely as I’ve been saying to my husband that I would like to put marble on our island…we did a major remodel about 6 yrs. ago and at the time the budget allowed for laminate. Not being a huge fan to start with, we did find a granite looking laminate. It’s fooled everyone that comes to our house…it even has a bit of a texture to it. Recently, relator friends visited and they we’re even fooled. So thanks, for sharing info.about the marble laminate…we still don’t have real marble in the budget…this may do the trick!

  10. says

    This is a timely post. We have a rent house that needs serious kitchen updates but the cost of granite (and the care of it) is too much. We saw the newest Formica products and were sold. I’d rather spend the money to repair this than for new granite for a rental! Thanks so much for sharing!

  11. says

    OMG! LOVE that. I have always loved marble but thought it was 1) out of my price range 2) much to fussy to maintain. But seeing this has really changed my mind. I love the look, it is in my budget and easy to maintain. SWEET! Thanks for being a lookey-loo. Haha! Lookey-Loo Layla is kinda catchy! ;-)

  12. Sandra says

    I have loved white marble forever and since we are about to do some upgrades (budget concious) in our kitchen I was thrilled to see the Formica option. We knew we would have to use Formica or one of the less expensive countertops and this one is definitely worth looking into, thank you!

  13. Michelle says

    Really appreciate this post. We’ll be updating our builder grade kitchen and I’ve been in love with marble forever but my husband it not in love with the price. Might be a nice compromise in order.

  14. says

    When it came to our last home kitchen reno we used the formica granite look and feel. It was very inexpensive and I loved it! I used real slate tile as the backsplash to bring in natural stone. Right now we have renters in so I’m thankful we didn’t spend a ton on granite.

    I’m so glad to hear you mention this. Not all homes need granite, but most of all not everyone can afford to put that much $$ into counters.

  15. Pammy says

    LOVE, love, LOVE concrete countertops, but I’ve never seen one that looks like marble – and THAT countertop turned out GORGEOUS!!!

  16. says

    It looks gorgeous! I would wonder though, how long it would stay looking so nice? Of course, everything wears, but I imagine marble would wear differently than formica. How long before it would really start looking fake? It’s a gorgeous option though, especially for people who don’t like marble or granite because of how cold it is. My SIL was uninterested in either when they built their house because of how loud it sounds when you set a glass on it. A really convincing fake? Problem solved!

    • Layla says

      Hi Nette! :-D
      I guess it would wear like any other Formica? The Formica that’s on the kitchen counter here at our house was installed by the previous homeowner in 2003, and it still looks brand new! The pattern/color wouldn’t have been my first choice, but we sure have enjoyed how durable it is. We’re pretty rough on it! :-D

  17. says

    That is a really impressive material. I had no idea they were doing that with counters now. I’m a butcher block kinda-guy myself (it just has a warmth and glow to it that you don’t find in marble, IMO). I know it’s inferior in a lot of ways (cleaning, longevity, etc) and that marble, etc has the greater re-sale value by far, but if I’m buying I’d rather go butcher block and then spend the leftover money to upgrade elsewhere. The faux-marble might be a nice compromise, though. Looks great.

    I recently installed the new faux-ceramic tile (Traffic Master Ceramica Resilient Vinyl) for my bathroom floor after seeing it in two other houses. I absolutely love it. They go down like real tile – you grout them and everything – and I swear they look exactly like ceramic. Like you, I had to literally feel them to realize they weren’t actual ceramic tile. At $1.10/sqft (and with a Lifetime warranty you’d never get with real tile), I think they are a steal.

    I’d also highly recommend these for people that live in colder climates – as they don’t get cold under-foot like real tile does.

    I don’t know about other people, but I’m really loving this faux-material resurgence. Super cost-effect, highly comparable substitutes.

    [wow - long-winded comment. Sorry!]

  18. Jamie says

    Yay! I noticed that this month’s BHG had some faux marble countertops in it, but I could definitely tell that they were not the real deal. I like the edges on some of the ones you listed. I love the idea of marble, but not necessarily the durability and difficulty of caring for them. Must investigate further. , ,

  19. colleen says

    well few yrs back we redid our kit. i had laminate counters that were lifting oh that was FUN yeah right. so couldn’t get on the granite band wagon[ didn't want the popular expensive choice] soooo went with butcher block. it was less expensive than anything and my cabinet guy+hubby installed. still looks good . i do like the look of this but make sure you figure in the cost of install.

  20. karen says

    I have a feeling that formica 180fx is really going to take off!!
    I’m getting the real deal…etching and all…

  21. says

    Wow! That’s actually a pretty cool solution for budget pinchers such as myself. We’re in a rental for the next year or so and I am ALWAYS in “look out mode”. I buy things for a house we dont even own yet. How bad is that? lol The Hubs and I are big DIY’ers & know the next house we purchase will be a fixer upper per choice.

    Anyway, I too like the more curved and molded edges. It adds a bit more dimension and interest. Not to mention more realism. Have you seen the paint treatment you can put on your countertops that make it look like granite? Very interesting.

  22. Angela Fritz says

    Man! This is great news!!!
    We have two small kids, both in private out-of-pocket therapies for various things. Any money we’d like to spend on marble countertops goes to them! But this.. this is good stuff. Right now we have an 8 year old, neglected laminate countertop that’s peeling off the particleboard (or whatever’s under there). I was entertaining those oak countertops from IKEA.. but this might be a good solution too! Thanks for blogging about it! I’m always looking for ways to make our newly-acquired first house more like a home!

  23. Tracey says

    Ha! The picture of the island with the granite-looking formica is the style my hubby and I landed on for our new countertops! ;D Love the marble, too! I used to work at a concete and masonry supply house and we stocked all the products that contractors use to make countertops. We even put on a few demos of them making counters and bowls. It was so exciting to watch and see what each guy came up with. It’s truly an art form and the final product can be absolutely gorgeous! I used to make all the brochures for the company and the tagline I came up with was, “Concrete doesn’t have to be gray and boring anymore!” So true!

  24. says

    That’s insane! When I saw that before picture I thought “hey…wait a minute…I’ve been in that kitchen!”. And yes, it’s true, her husband is awfully good at the whole concrete thing…they’re friends of ours…how cool that she made it to your blog! :)

      • amy@maison decor says

        Hi Layla, I have to say we LOVE this countertop but made one big mistake~we ordered the edge that showed the telltale line. At the home center the brochure showed this edge but you could not see any line~and I wanted the thick square slab look..anyway it arrived and my heart sunk. So the solution was white paint along the edge and it was a huge improvement. However when I order it again for the master bath, I will get a preformed edge, not the “custom square edge” .

  25. says

    Oh my goodness! I love!! We’ve been renovating our laundry room and found an inspiration pic that had marble countertops but there was no way I was spending that kind of money when my kitchen counters are still formica! haha :-) I couldn’t find it on Home Depot’s website though. What did it feel like in person? And do you have to have Home Depot install it? Only problem I’d run into is that we have a mudroom sink on the other side of the room that literally only has maybe two inches of counter surrounding it – not sure what I would do with that? Thanks so much for the idea Layla – I might just have to make a trip to Home Depot today! :-)

  26. says

    I’ve always dreamed of marble counter tops but they just aren’t in my budget. I love the idea but think I have to see it in person to see if I love it in real life. I will be heading to Home Depot soon to check it out. Thanks for the heads up.

  27. says

    Layla,
    I did the same thing at HD!!! It was so beautiful, and looked like the real thing. I may put it in my laundry room. If I do, I’ll send a pic.

    Cindy

  28. says

    Oh my goodness, these counter tops look fabulous. I have heard of them before, but never seen photos of the finished product. Love it. The hubs will love it too when we get to start tearing into the remodel of our new home. I keep rambling on about marble counter tops and he says no way not in budget. I told him don’t worry I will find some alternative;) Thanks for sharing!

  29. terrillr says

    I LOVE this! I’m one of those weird people that actually prefer formica for the most part. I seem to have champange taste with a beer maintenance/cleaning personality! I love the real stuff, but also know I won’t maintain and clean properly for the long term. I’ve always like formica cause it’s easy to clean, and I’ve never had problems with burning, cutting, staining, etc. I’ll have to look for this.

  30. Lisa says

    I love it! And the blue glass tile backsplash in the photos is what we have in our kitchen. BUT, are you certain in was only $16/sf installed? I called our Home Depot and was told it is $29/sf!

  31. says

    Hey, Lay! They are always coming out with new & improved products! I have not seen this marble faux look, but I would totally be open to something like that. Granite & marble is so darn expensive. When I get my little fixer upper, this might be just the thing I need to look at. Love it!

  32. says

    I like the look of that first pic! And the price!! :)
    I thought of you guys last night as we were putting up a curtain rod by candlelight after our power went out! I caught myself wondering if you guys had ever DIY’d in the dark… it’s pretty hard core, I have to say. LOL

  33. says

    I LOVED this faux marble when I saw it at the kitchen show last year. The best thing about it is that it goes on for 5′ before the pattern repeats which is unusual and helps it looks real. It gives those on a budget an absolutely fabulous alternative to the real (expensive) thing. Love it too!!!

  34. Beth says

    Oh the word formica makes me think of old restaurants!! and my childhood home, and now I actually want some! I love all the options they have now. They have uppdated for sure… and my kitchen is in need of an overhaul!!!

  35. says

    The concrete solution is so creative and unique! I haven’t seen that before. Laminate has come a long way, The really pattern-y colors, like the color on the 180FX brochure picture, can get tricky if you have a seam in the corner with the direction change. IDK about undermounting a sink with laminate. Excessive water + particle board= possible disaster but it looks cool!:)

  36. LoriB says

    I have the granite looking formica you show in the pics, I love it the only downfall was the builder used a golden oak edge instead of the continuous one that makes it look like actual granite. It’s also much more stain resistant, I did manage to scratch it by accidently dragging a sharp edge across but I’m the only one who sees it because it blends with the veining.

  37. says

    Thank you!!! I am working on a complete kitchen remodel for a client and she has champagne taste and a beer budget. I had heard about this but I had not seen it. It is amazing and I will order my samples tomorrow so I can present them at our next meeting. I love the look of the Calacutta Marble and I think she will too. She will be concerned about durability and I will need to ask questions about that and maintenance but this is a great option.

  38. says

    Hey Lay! I picked that calacatta formica out for our beach cottage kitchen last summer! Can’t wait to have it installed! Great post :)

    Erin

  39. says

    I went to Home Depot today to see this person and didn’t find it. The Formica countertop display didn’t include this and the representative didn’t know what 180fx was–she also said, like the above poster, that installing their “nice” formica options for $29 a sq foot, not $16. So strange! I wonder if they’re rolling it out regionally? I’m located in Texzs. So strange!

  40. says

    great post on a great product. we just did our laundry room and used this marble with an ogee edge for the counters. I love it and the price is so do-able.

  41. Kate says

    Great Timing! I’m redoing my kitchen – on the cheap – as I am unemployed right now. So I have time to take down walls but no money to replace them. Ha! We’re using demolition cabinets, etc. This is GREAT!

  42. Penny says

    Holy fake-marble Batgirl!! That does look real, I’m gonna have to go check it out this weekend. I’m trying to help my decor challenged brother decorate his house from 450 miles away & this would be perfect for him! Can ya tell I’m excited? Thanks for the tip!

  43. says

    I discovered that Formica had these granite/ marble look alike counters a year ago and my husband and I fell in love with it. We would love the real thing but would be impractical in our townhouse where we wouldn’t earn the money bag. A laminate alternative is a better investment for us. We hope to use it in our kitchen sometime soon!

  44. says

    I have granite look Formica in my kitchen and unless you walk right up to it and touch it, you can’t tell it from granite. It’s about 7 years old and holding up nicely. It does have scratches (as most Formica will) but you can’t really see them.unless you are looking for them. I would be glad to send pics if anyone wants to see it.

  45. Melinda says

    I ran to the phone and called the closest Home Depot – the girl was a snot and she didn’t know anything about this calacutta marble formica. So I called the next closest and it is only available for special order and is $25 for product and install per sq foot. Darn, I was ready to get the ball roliing !!

    • Stephanie says

      I called a local place that installs it – not only do they sell it by the LINEAR foot, which is different than square foot, the installation was a one time fee. That being said, I’d call local places to see if they are cheaper than the big box stores. I found them by going to the formica180fx website and there was a link that said something like find a dealer near you…

  46. Jeff says

    If you’re looking for faux marble for bathroom surfaces (showers and vanity tops) you’ve gotta check out Tyvarian (tyvarian.com). They use digital images of real stone combined with cultured marble.

  47. Charlene says

    Wow, thats great. Is funny I will be redoing my kitchen and I think I will be going for that counter. Great post. All the way from Canada

  48. Heather says

    I am so disappointed. I fell in love with the look of these counter tops and immediately called Home Depot. They told me $18 sq/ft and $30-ish sq/ft installed (depending on edging design). Could that be true? Would it vary that much from state to state?

  49. pam says

    I checked on this yesterday – I am outside Dallas. They said it would be around 35 per linear foot installed with a waterfall edge. Still a lot cheaper than other options –

  50. Lisa says

    Thanks for showcasing the mini makeover we’ve done in our kitchen :). The concrete overlay was a perfect solution for our kitchen. We needed something cost effective since we hope to eventually completely renovate. It has held up beautifully and I love how it looks in our ‘new’ kitchen.

  51. says

    I”m SO happy you posted about this! I’ve been dreaming of a marble counter top for years — but the price would be outrageous in our kitchen with LOTS of counter top space. THIS is perfect!

    Oh, and at our previous house (over 10 years ago) we had a Formica counter top installed with an undermount sink and it was amazing!

    I might have new counter tops sooner than I thought!
    Thanks!

  52. Tanya W says

    My husband installed the in stock (gasp!) Formica 180FX countertops in Antique Mascarello from Home Depot about 6 months ago and I couldn’t be happier. Not everyone has thousands of dollars to blow on countertops and these only cost us about 300. Will we keep them forever? No, but we were able to go with an attractive temporary solution to an otherwise ugly problem. The light marble ones are really lovely! Excited to see future projects from you guys!

  53. tim moon says

    Looks wise this is working for me but I’m concerned about the suggestion that you can fit an undermount sink in a lminate top. That will de-laminate pretty quickly unless you chaps in the USA can do things with laminate tops we can’t do in the UK!

  54. Lynn says

    Formica is SO much easier to keep clean and looking good than granite or marble. I knew if I waited long enough people would start coming around. Hurray for Formica for responding to the market with their great product. Now if I can just persuade every one to quit it with the stainless or black appliances and go back to white, also easier to keep clean and looking good. From a long-suffering cleaning lady.

  55. Coral Young says

    I just had Calacatta Marble counters installed in my new kitchen last week and it is absolutely gorgeous! You can even feel the little pock marks that real marble has. It adds real depth and richness to the whole kitchen. It’s definitely way beyond my expectations!

  56. Brooke says

    This is so great, thanks for sharing! I am considering the 180FX countertop but still haven’t found anyone local who has it as a sample (larger than the 8×10″) I wanted to do a real marble subway tile backsplash, how do you think they would look together? Would it make the countertop look more fake?

  57. Melinda says

    I had our local hardware store designer come and measure for the calacutta faux. She just called and it is $1258 for my tiny amount of countertop !! That is not installed. I ask her what that was per sq. foot and she said $26 ! Wish I lived where you do. Wondering if you were mis quoted.

    • Layla says

      Whoa! :-O The sign on the countertop we saw definitely said “installed”. Maybe they were having a sale at that time. ? Should’a snatched it up then, I guess! :-D

  58. Melissa says

    I went to my local home depot and they didn’t have it and when I showed them an image they said they don’t sell it:( total bummer!

    • Layla says

      Hey Melissa,
      Ours said they didn’t have it when we went back to look at it a few weeks later, too. I made them look reeeeally hard on their computer, and they found it. :-D
      It’s made by Formica, and they can definitely order it!

  59. Melissa says

    I ended up going to lowes and they can order it(: they have to call on Monday but I’m verrrry excited(:

  60. Heather says

    Hi! Just saw this post while perusing your blog. I’m an interior designer in savannah and used the Calcutta Marble in a small home my husband and I only plan on living in a few years. I drool over white marbles but installing them in a home that will sell at a mid level price point here doesn’t really make since unless we were going be here long term to enjoy them. I was a little nervous that theyight be a little laughable (think 4ct diamond earrings working the drive trough at Taco Bell). They turned out beautiful. The finish isnt flat like old Formica. it has a texture that is more believable. The only the only thing my overly scrutinizing eye didn’t care for was that once installed I noticed the end caps where the countertop was not rounded has a strip of laminate to cover the fiberboard backing.the seam, though small showed the fiberboard where true marble would have been smooth. My husband thought I was insane to notice ,but I simply mixed some paint to match and painted the small crease. PERFECT! I love them. I also noticed either Wilsonart or Formica brand has replica stone laminates that are cool to the touch like true stone.

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