If you’re renovating your kitchen, there are lots of decisions to make. One of the most important is your choice of benchtop. As a major feature, looks are important but there are also practical considerations. Here’s a look at some of the options.
Laminate is the most budget-friendly benchtop option. It also has the widest range of colours and finishes so you’re sure to find something to suit your décor. Some laminates imitate more expensive materials such as marble, stone and timber so you can get the luxurious look without the price tag. Laminate is easy to clean but can scratch, so always make sure you use a cutting board and be careful with hot pots and pans.
To add a natural colour and texture to your kitchen, you can’t go past timber. The various species of timber also give you a wide range of colour options. Choose from the dark tones of walnut, through to the light and creamy colours of ash. For a different look, there’s bamboo, which has a distinctive grain pattern. Timber needs to be sealed to prevent staining. This can be done using a durable polyurethane or kitchen oil for a more subdued finish. Price wise, timber is at the mid-range of benchtop options.
This is the most popular choice for kitchen renovators. It’s made using natural aggregates that are compressed with resins to produce a highly durable and attractive surface. Colour range from crisp white through to darker colours reflecting the natural look of granite. Stone also gives you more design options than other benchtops. The waterfall edge, where the benchtop seems to flow down the sides of the cabinet, is popular on island benches.
If you like the look and low maintenance of stone but not the cold feel, then a solid surface benchtop is for you. When it’s installed, the joins are invisible so it has the appearance of a solid slab of stone. They can also be repaired by the manufacturer. Scorch marks, scratches and chips can all be fixed, so your damaged benchtop is as good as new. The sink can be seamlessly incorporated into the benchtop, so there’s nowhere for dirt to build up (and one less decision to make!)
Laminate and timber can both be installed by the competent DIYer. You can pick up lengths of these benchtops off the shelf from larger hardware stores and cut them to fit. Even easier is a cut to measure service. You take the measurements of your benchtops and the supplier will cut and edge them, including professional joins. You just have to fit the pieces together. Stone and solid surface benchtops are both professionally installed.