Which Kitchen Bench Surface Should I Choose?
So you think it's time to update your kitchen or maybe just a few tired elements need a refresh. This blog will help you decide which benchtop surface is the right fit for you.
There are a few considerations you need to determine before you begin shopping around ...
How often is the kitchen used?
Is the kitchen your own or for an investment property?
Are you after a high-end look?
How long to do want it to last?
How much care and maintenance are you prepared to extend?
What is your budget?
With these questions in mind, let's have a look at a few different options and their pro's and con's.
Laminate surfaces are the least expensive option though the price per square metre can vary greatly between the budget finishes to the higher end finishes. The quality of laminates has improved greatly over recent years, as well as an abundance of finish choices to suit any occasion. Laminates are resistant to staining and very easy to clean but are susceptible to scratching and scorching. Just be mindful of placing hot pans on the bench and always use a chopping board with knives.
Solid surfaces are a non-porous, highly durable, low maintenance, repairable and cost efficient option. Most of these products can resist high temperatures but as for any bench surface really, it's best to use a heat pad or trivet. Prevention of damage is key! Colour all the way through the solid surface means that not only will the colour not wear away or delaminate but scratches or marks can be easily polished and removed. Some solid surface products allow for seamless joins with a myriad of design possibilities. Again, the range of colours available is vast.
Engineered stone is a composite material made of crushed stone bound together with adhesive. If you are after a more luxurious finish, but don't want the cost of natural stone, then engineered stone is for you. It is virtually non-porous and resistant to scratches, chips and stains, easily maintained and durable. The per square metre price is higher than laminate and can vary greatly due to low and high end ranges. For high impact and added interest in your kitchen design, you could choose a thicker slab as a feature.
A little more care and maintenance is required when it comes to natural stone. This is probably not a good option for high traffic kitchens as careless damage may likely be irreparable.
Natural stone is unique with no two pieces alike. For this reason, and the fact that it portrays a pure, natural beauty within the individual markings and tones you are sure to create a luxury feel within your kitchen. Be sure to select a slab which is adequate in size for your installation as matching is virtually impossible.
Bench surface companies are upping their game when it comes to caring for the environment. Some environmental policies you will find companies abiding by are;
Aiming to minimalise environmental impact,
Complying with safety and environmental standards and
Supporting healthier environments through better use of resources.
Be sure to check that the company you are using displays their sustainable practices on their website.
My last piece of advice is always aim for longevity in a product for maximum cost efficiency and sustainability. For a high traffic kitchen it makes sense to install a highly durable bench surface. Be savvy with your recycling methods too ... when replacing an old kitchen, consider on-selling it, donating it or repurposing/recycling as much of the old material as possible.
I hope this information helps you in your endeavour to upgrade or replace your kitchen benchtops.
Feel free to contact me if you need help moving in the right direction - that's what I'm here for!
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