Since there are so many types of benchtops, it can be hard to find which one is right for you and your family. After researching multiple companies offering kitchen renovations in Melbourne, we have found there are many factors to consider when choosing your new kitchen. The cost, whether the materials are environmentally friendly, the maintenance, how you like to cook, and how easily is will mark and stain. In order to make this step a little less complicated, we’ve put together a list to help you on your journey to rejuvenating your kitchen.
Laminate is made of plastic coated synthetic materials making it the most economical bench top type to renovate with. Laminate is one of the most popular materials to use due to its cost, ease to use during DIY projects, and any design can be printed onto the plastic top. Since laminate is a thin layer of plastic, it is moderately durable. It shows up scratches and dents easily, is not heat resistant, and is difficult to repair. Aside from that, it is in many a kitchen around the country due to its accessibility.
The most luxurious and expensive benchtops are marble and granite. These materials are both very heavy and require special structural support. Since these items are mined materials, they are not environmentally friendly and have expensive importation fees. The history and opulence of marble and granite often outweigh the disadvantages for people who choose granite. They need constant care and regular sealing, can be difficult to clean, and can harbour bacteria and pathogens in cracks and crevices if not properly cared for.
Marble is less durable, very porous, and more prone to scratches and staining, especially when acidic substances like orange juice are not cleaned immediately. Granite is much easier to keep sanitised as you are able to use a regular household cleaner whereas the delicate nature of marble requires soap and water or a little bit of diluted bleach. As these are natural materials, they expand and contract in response to temperature change. Therefore, it is recommended you do not place hot or cold products on these surfaces.
Engineered stone benchtop go by many names depending on supplier and manufacturer. These benchtops are usually created with 93% crushed stone and 7% bonding agent, making engineered stone considerably less porous, more hygienic, and more environmentally friendly than natural stone.
Like laminate, you can choose from a variety of designs which makes this the second most popular synthetic benchtop! It is quite durable, though if a spot is regularly knocked it will chip but it is very simple to repair. You cannot place hot pots and trays on engineered stone however it is such a durable surface you will hardly be disadvantaged by this.
Timber benches are one of the most versatile materials, it works very well with stainless steel appliances as it counteracts the cool steel with the warmth of timber. Timber ages gracefully, however, it marks and burns easily. Therefore, it requires constant maintenance, either with a timber oil for a matte look, or polyurethane for a beautiful shine.
The great thing about timber is it is able to be sanded back and repolished if you want to rejuvenate the surface, the use of wood oil makes this process painless. Most people choose to use locally grown wood to lower the costs.
If you love cooking, stainless steel is the benchtop for you! All the gourmet cooks out there will love the durability of stainless steel and the fact that you can put hot pots and trays on the surface without marking. It is the most hygienic out of this collection as it isn’t an absorbent surface and is very easy to clean, though you will most likely have to invest in a proper stainless steel bench cleaner. Unfortunately, a stainless steel benchtop is an expensive material, it will scratch easily, and show fingerprints as it is a reflective surface.
Have a look around different display kitchens a find which one feels right for you, each benchtop has its benefits and disadvantages. If you take care of your specific material, you will have a long lasting benchtop for your home. Each material matches different sinks and fixtures so talk to your kitchen specialist to help you decide which materials will match with what.