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Picking the best benchtops

Picking the best benchtops

Benchtops are the striking feature of any kitchen yet when it comes to choosing an ideal surface it can sometimes be difficult to make a choice. From stone to laminate, marble to steel, timber to concrete, there is plenty to choose from. Yet the decision often comes down to price, aesthetics and practicality, with each benchtop possessing different attributes.

Circumstances will dictate your choice. For instance, a family with young kids may choose laminate as its softness is 'kind' to dropped crockery. However, usage will also determine surface. For example, stainless steel or stone may be used in the "washing / cooking" zone while a different surface such as Corian® may be used in the "prep / serving" zone. Yet whatever you do, it’s critical to understand some of the options at your disposal.

Firstly, there is laminate. It’s affordable, durable and versatile, coming in a variety of colours and styles that even emulate a particular natural look such as granite.

There is natural stone, available in a polished or matt honed finish. It looks splendid, and is cool and ultra smooth on the fingers. Alternatively, you also have the man-made stones like caeserstone®. Easy to maintain, it’s also impervious, making it optimal for food hygiene.

Then there is Corian®, a patented solid surface blending acrylic and natural minerals. Non-porous and stain resistant, it comes in many colours. It can also be welded together to form seamless joints.

For an edgier industrial look, you can opt for stainless steel, which while durable, still needs regular maintenance, as scratching can occur quite easily. Then there is concrete, which over the last few years has become popular with people drawn to the rough tactile surfaces. And finally, we have timber – smooth and stylish, timber has always given endless scope for expressive design.

Circumstances, taste and budget will determine the most appropriate benchtops for your kitchen. Yet if you want some expert opinions on what really works best for you, talk to a designer at Kitcheners who will discuss all the options at hand.

Picking the best benchtops

Picking the best benchtops

Picking the best benchtops

Benchtop comparisons

 Price bracketScratch resistantFragile (chip resistant)Heat resistantWater resistantStain resistant
LaminateThis synthetic cost effective option is made up of several layers. It's affordable, durable and versatile, coming in a variety of colours and styles that even emulate a particular natural look like granitelowgoodgoodmediummedium to badgood
Natural stone granite / marbleGo back to basics and back to nature with these classic surfaces that come in a highly polished or matt honed finish. It's visually spectacular, ultra smooth and cool on the fingersmedium to highbadbadmediumgoodmedium
Manmade stone caesarstoneThis ever-popular man-made stone is low maintenance, as well as stain and scratch resistant. It's non-porous, waterproof and heat resistant, and best of all looks fantastic.medium to highbadbadmediumgoodmedium
CorianThis beautiful solid surface is a patented blend of acrylic and natural minerals. It's non-porous and stain resistant and comes in many colours, both matt and gloss. It can also be welded together to form seamless joints.highmediumgoodmediumgoodgood
Stainless steelGreat for that cutting edge industrial look and feel, it is highly durable. However you must maintain it regularly, as scratching can occur quite easily.highbadgoodgoodgoodgood
ConcreteThere has been a surge in popularity overseas of concrete, in particular concrete benchtops.highgoodmediumgoodgoodbad
TimberSleek, smooth, stylish timber has always given endless scope for individual expressions of design. There is warmth and richness to wood that is unique and will always compliment and enhance any interior.medium to highmediumgoodmediummedium to badgood