At a time when home improvement projects are on the rise, a new study by Formica Corp. found that 93 percent of interior designers say homeowners confuse key differences in the surfacing materials they commonly request and use in high-traffic areas within the home.
The survey – which was deployed to gauge consumer knowledge about the differences in laminate, granite, marble, quartz and other surface materials like acrylic solid surfacing – revealed a significant gap between what homeowners say they want for their kitchen and bath surfaces and their knowledge of the desired material.
- When choosing a countertop, 56 percent of designers say ease of care is an important attribute their clients ask for. 85 percent of homeowners also say it would be useful to have a nonporous surface, yet granite and marble are top materials homeowners are considering (42 percent and 27 percent, respectively).
- In fact, 70 percent of homeowners do not realize that marble requires sealing in order to protect against common everyday household problems such as staining, and 63% don’t realize granite requires sealing maintenance.
- When asked, 95 percent of homeowners could not name the primary components of laminate, which are treated layers of Kraft paper and a decorative sheet pressed together under high heat.
“There has always been a knowledge gap about surfacing materials – especially within the home – but these findings give more context to that reality with new and important details,” says Gerri Chmiel, residential design lead at Formica Corp. “There is clearly a need to push consumers beyond what is trendy and educate them about materials like laminate and solid surfacing, what they’re made from and how new technologies provide everything from artisanal designs to enhanced durability through nonporous and seamless properties.”
Other key findings reveal that the renovation push will continue and kitchen counters are at the top of the list:
- 71 percent of consumers are planning home improvement projects within the next year.
- 63 percent of homeowners wish they could replace their kitchen countertops – and if given the chance, 59 percent would go with a completely different material than they currently have.
These findings further demonstrate the importance of educating consumers about the full range of options available from leading surfacing providers. Technological advances have made it easier than ever before for designers and homeowners to find beautiful, durable surfaces, but there is a knowledge gap about the ones that are suited to their specific design and lifestyle needs.
This study was conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of Formica Corporation among 1,000 nationally representative U.S. adult homeowners, and 250 U.S. interior designers, both residential and commercial, between March 22 and March 30, 2021. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 6.2 percentage points for interior designers and 3.1 percentage points for homeowners from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.