Benchtop Basics

by Creative Style Interiors

The kitchen benchtop is one of the most used surfaces in any home. It needs to not only look fabulous, but also be durable enough to withstand the various foods, liquids, utensils, tools and general ‘stuff’ that will inevitably end up there through the course of an average day.

We’ve taken out the hard work of choosing the right type of surface for your kitchen benchtop, by compiling a list of advantages and disadvantages for each one.

Natural Stone

Natural stones such as granite and marble have been popular for centuries because of their beautiful patterns and ‘rich’ nature.

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Looks luxurious
Natural material
Patterns are unique with no two pieces ever looking exactly the same
Heat resistant. Granite is also more scratch resistant
An edge profile such as a bevel can be chosen to suit your décor style

Costly
Marble is extremely porous and will absorb stains and smells. Granite is less porous but can still absorb oil-based stains
High maintenance- requires regular sealing to prevent staining
 The ‘classic’ look of marble or granite may not appeal to you or suit your décor

Glulam

While glulam or timber benchtops are commonly associated with Scandinavian & traditional design styles, it can look striking in a contemporary kitchen when paired with manmade stone for example.

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Great for an updated Mid Century Modern or Scandinavian style kitchen
Get the warmth and strength of timber
 Can easily be sanded and re-polished with polyurethane or wood oil

If a glulam benchtop isn’t sealed correctly, it can become a haven for germs
Requires regular maintenance to keep it looking good as it can scratch, stain and burn easily

Man-made Stone

Man-made stones such as Caesarstone and Quantum Quartz have many of the qualities of natural stone, but can be much more durable and economical for use in the kitchen.

Can now mimic the look of natural stone, as well as having more contemporary patterns
Range of price points to suit many budgets
More durable and scratch resistant than most natural stones
Highly heat resistant
An edge profile such as a bevel can be chosen to suit your décor style

Can be costly
Beware of chipping the edges on thinner profile stones
Comes in a maximum length of 3,060mm that can’t be exceeded. Anything beyond that length will require a join

Laminate

Laminate is a synthetic material designed for use in residential and commercial spaces as benchtops, doors, wall panels and splashbacks.

 Choose from an almost limitless range of colours, finishes, patterns and effects to suit your kitchen décor
 Laminates are a very cost-effective option, being economical when compared to other benchtop materials

 Can be more easily damaged – scratches and heat marks
 Laminates are only available with a curved or square edge profile
 Can look cheap

Solid Surface Materials

Solid surface materials like Corian means the colour runs all the way through the material, and are another alternative to laminate or stone.

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Mimics natural stone and other effects, as well as a wide range of colours
 Seamless, and not restricted to a maximum length, other than weight and what access will allow
 Cuts and scratches can be polished out
Sinks can be integrated and it can be moulded into unusual shapes
Lighter than stone but heavier than laminate
 Non porous and stain resistant

Options for finishes and colours are less varied than natural stone or laminate
Not heat resistant above 100°C (212°F)
 While not common, it can crack badly

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is most often used in commercial and industrial kitchens because of its ability to be easily maintained.

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Perfect for a contemporary or industrial style kitchen
Easy to clean
Stain and heat resistant
Won’t absorb bacteria and germs
Sinks can be integrated

Can scratch easily and is difficult to keep looking ‘new’
Corners can be quite sharp if welds fail at all
Can look clinical & sterile- like a laboratory

 

TIP: Tile benchtops aren’t all that common anymore, and I don’t recommend them as a good option for a kitchen bench because the porous grout makes it difficult to keep clean and germ-free

 

If you decide you need some professional help and advice in choosing the perfect benchtop for your kitchen,  feel free to call Jenny on 0416 190 792 or email jenny@creativestyle.com.au.

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