Renovating your kitchen? One of the biggest decisions you need to make is the type of benchtops you’ll use. Not only does it have a big impact on the overall look, it’s also the hardest working surface in your kitchen, so durability is a big factor. Here’s a rundown of the most common types of benchtop materials.
This is the most popular choice of benchtop for kitchen renovators. Made using natural aggregates mixed with resins, it comes in a wide range of colours, from bright whites to dark greys. You can choose either a solid colour or have flecks of different-coloured stone through it to add interest. You can get the chunky look via a skirting fixed to the edge but the latest trend is a 20mm thick edge for a cleaner, slimmer line. A big advantage of stone benchtops is that they are very durable and easy to clean. The non-porous surface resists staining, scratching and doesn’t need any ongoing maintenance.
If your kitchen reno is on a tight budget then laminate is your choice, but that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on looks. Laminate has the widest range of colours and designs that imitate more expensive materials such as timber, stone and even concrete. That means you can get the look you’re after without the expensive price tag. Laminate is resistant to staining and easy to keep clean but is more susceptible to scratching and scorching so always use a cutting board and be careful with hot pots and pans.
While you may think of timber as being a bit old fashioned, it is definitely making a comeback. You can bring a touch of warmth and character to your kitchen with timber when you’re using colder materials like glass and stainless steel elsewhere in the kitchen. The wide variety of available species means you can go light with the yellowish colours of ash or contrast light-coloured doors with the darker tones of walnut. Timber needs to be coated with either food-safe oil or polyurethane to protect it. Oil needs to be reapplied every year or so to remain effective. While polyurethane lasts longer, recoating involves sanding back the entire benchtop first before applying a new coat.
Solid surface benchtops are an acrylic resin with a filler of alumina. The joins between each piece of benchtop are invisible after installation, so it seems like one big slab of stone. You can also have the sink moulded into the benchtop so there’s nowhere for dirt to collect, making it easier to keep clean. It’s also UV resistant so is the perfect choice for an outdoor kitchen which is so popular these days. Another advantage is that solid surface benchtops can be repaired. Major damage such as heat scorching can be fixed by the manufacturer without the need to replace the whole benchtop.