A kitchen benchtop is a big decision, and the right choice can have a huge impact on the look, feel, and functionality of your kitchen. With so many options available, choosing the right one for you can feel overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be!
In this blog post, our expert interior designers will outline the most popular benchtop choices, including pros, cons, and costs, so that you can select the perfect one for your kitchen renovation.
Reconstituted stone is a hugely popular choice for kitchen renovations. This material resembles natural stone but costs less because it is made from crushed marble or granite mixed with resin and pressed into sheets.
Reconstituted stone offers a high-end look for a fraction of the cost, making it an extremely popular choice for kitchen benchtops. It’s available in a wide range of colours and textures to suit any taste, from earthy shades to the most luxurious marble. Cleaning reconstituted stone is very easy as this material has excellent stain resistance. Glossy finishes are more resistant to staining than matte ones, and those with a lot of variation (e.g., veining) are also more resistant than a bright white.
The price of this material depends on the colour chosen, its thickness, and the number of visible edges. Overall, it is a cost-effective material with various options and ranges to suit every budget.
Reconstituted stone is not heatproof, so there are limitations on where it can be used as a splashback. For example, it cannot go behind a gas cooktop unless at a distance, as it is deemed a combustible surface.
Sourcing and Installation:
Reconstituted stone is a durable, great-quality material. Because it’s not as hard as natural stone, it’s less prone to breaking during installation. In addition, when you select reconstituted stone over natural stone, you will not need to worry about variations in colour or appearance, as every slab is identical to the next.
Our Burwood East showroom features four different kitchen displays where you can see, touch and even feel a variety of gorgeous benchtops.
Natural stone benchtops are one of your most expensive items in a kitchen renovation, but they can also be one of the most beautiful. Some people choose to use them for their entire kitchen, while others will use them only for the island benchtop or as a splashback.
Natural stone benchtops are excellent for those who want something unique and beautiful, as every slab is different. Nature offers a wide range of one-of-a-kind stunning colours, patterns and textures, but it comes at a price. While natural stone is a bit harder to price, it costs much more than its manufactured counterpart on average.
It’s good to remember that not all natural stone is the same. Natural stone varies significantly in appearance, texture and quality. Some stone is prone to staining or etching (limestone), while others are hard watering surfaces that you can cut on/do anything with (granite). However, as a rule, every kind of natural stone needs to be sealed before installation. As a rule, natural stone is durable and will last for years, but it requires regular care and maintenance to keep them looking its best. Most stones will easily stain when exposed to acids or food, so you must be extra careful when cooking on these surfaces.
Sourcing and Installation:
The range of colours and patterns available is infinite, but searching for a suitable slab can be time-consuming. While it is somewhat possible to browse online, you may find it challenging to find the exact slab you are looking for. You will need to go out and look at samples to ensure that you have found the perfect slab for your kitchen. When it comes to installation, Natural stone is more complicated to install than artificial stone, as it’s more likely to break during the cutting process. Ease of installation is an issue you should consider because if your stone breaks, you can’t replace it exactly.
Porcelain benchtops are manufactured from a base of natural stone. The surface then receives a printed pattern that can mimic the look of natural stone but is not as hard as natural or engineered stone, and it’s also a very tense material. Therefore, we tend to avoid porcelain due to its tendency to chip and break.
If you want something that looks like stone but is more durable, then reconstituted stone is a much safer bet.
Laminate panels are an affordable alternative to natural surfaces and can be used to create a variety of different effects. For example, you can use them to mimic the look of marble, granite, slate, and wood. These benchtops are an excellent option for anyone looking for an affordable, durable and easy-to-clean solution for their kitchen benchtop.
Laminate is the most cost-effective option when you’re on a budget. Laminate is a very durable surface that’s easy to maintain, so it’s a great choice for busy families or rental properties. Laminate comes in a variety of thicknesses, colours and finishes. The colours can be truly stunning, and the textures can vary from plain to rich, so there’s something for everyone.
With laminate, there are a couple of limitations for usage around sinks and basins. For example, it’s best to avoid high moisture areas if possible because moisture can sometimes cause the top layer of laminate to blister or peel off. Also, laminate can look cheap if not done by an expert, a risk you don’t want to take. However, when done tastefully, it can create beautiful results without breaking the bank.
Sourcing and Installation: Laminate benchtops can be easily installed and fitted to almost any shape or size. Choosing a laminate benchtop is also easy. Plenty of options are available, and samples are lightweight and easy to obtain.
When selecting a material for your benchtop, our advice is to listen to the experts. After gathering the correct information, you should consider the pros and cons of all benchtops, focusing on what’s important to you. It would help if you thought about your kitchen and cooking habits, what you want from your benchtop, and how much you can afford to spend. It’s almost a process of elimination around function, durability, aesthetics and budget.
To get you started, you can begin by browsing our gallery of beautifully renovated kitchens and see what stands out to you in terms of colour and style. Then, save it on a Pinterest board to share with your interior designer when you meet at your in-home consultation! Ready to create your dream kitchen? Call us today on 1300 662 838 to speak to one of our experts, or book a FREE in-home consultation with our award-winning designers to start your renovation journey!