Choosing the right benchtop – popular trends to consider
Granite is one of the hardest materials available for use as a kitchen bench top, providing durability and character to kitchen surfaces. As with all natural materials however, granite does require regular maintenance. If looked after and maintained correctly, your granite bench top will remain looking beautiful for many years to come.
Granite is a more cost effective option in comparison with top of the range engineered stones and will also cost less than a synthetic solid surface bench top yet is still considered to be a premium product.
The luxurious and soft look of marble is a stunning addition to any space however, it needs extra care and maintenance in the kitchen. Marble, being a softer, more porous stone, has a tendency to stain, scratch and even crack. With regular maintenance and sealing, staining can be minimised but may still occur.
Although a marble bench top can be more cost effective than some other options, you also need to consider the added cost of maintenance over your kitchen’s lifespan.
There are numerous varieties of engineered stones available today, each made from different natural materials (such as quartz and marble) in combination with resins or polyesters. The most popular form of engineered stone for use in the kitchen is a quartz based product.
Quartz based engineered stones are best for the kitchen as they provide durability, ease of maintenance and are available in an immense array of both classical and modern colours. Most engineered stones offer a range that although are quartz based, simulate the look of natural stones such as marble. Marble based engineered stones are softer than quartz so therefore are usually used in bathrooms.
Laminate has come a long way in the last decade or so with a broad colour palette available and many choices in terms of finishes, patterns and textures. Although there are benefits to a laminate bench top, keep in mind that it can easily scratch and is difficult to repair. On the plus side, joins are not as visible as they once were in a laminate bench top and can provide an inexpensive and stylish solution.
Synthetic Solid Surface
Solid surface bench tops are a popular option as they can be shaped and moulded easily, do not show joins in the slab and are available in an ever increasing range of colours and patterns. Solid surface tops were originally created as worktops in laboratories and provide one of the most hygienic of kitchen bench top surfaces available. Any cuts and scratches can be easily repaired (it is advised that you keep any off-cuts of your new solid surface bench top as these pieces can be used for repairs).
Although solid surface bench tops can be quite pricey, they provide many years of life in the busiest of kitchens.
Timber bench tops add a touch of country charm and warmth to a kitchen design; they are popular for breakfast bar tops and work well when paired with marble (or an engineered stone marble alternative). It’s important to note however, a timber surface requires regular sealing and is not scratch resistant. Price will depending on the type of timber species selected.