Published on February 25, 2020

When you’re designing your forever home, the question of how long it is going to last comes up a lot. Staying power is everything, especially in high-traffic spaces like the kitchen. Never want to pick up a sledgehammer again? A new breakdown of the typical life expectancies for common household fixtures reveals some popular countertop materials expire sooner than you’d expect. 

The report found that natural stone (think: granite), engineered quartz, and tile counters will look good for 100-plus years. It’s trendy options like laminate, which usually lasts 20 to 30 years, that could pose a problem down the road. Given that the surface is a popular choice for remodelers right now (Reserve Home founder Mallory Fletchall recently installed IKEA’s marble-effect countertop in her Brooklyn kitchen as an affordable alternative to the real deal, while Duke Studios proved it looks ultra-contemporary with plywood cabinets), we figured a friendly PSA was in order.

The upside: There are ways to keep it looking good as new long-term. These surfaces are fairly low-maintenance, according to Formica’s care tip site. Trick number one: Stock up on cutting boards—you’ll want to avoid chopping and slicing directly on the surface so it doesn’t scratch or crack. Cookware still hot from the stove is also off-limits, so keep a few trivets around for when you need to set something down. Also, trade in your steel-wool cleaning pads for soft, simple cotton cloths. In most cases, all you need is a mild household cleaner and a damp rag to get rid of lingering grime. Wipe it down often and you’ll live happily ever after. 

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