Kitchen benchtops: The real-world road test

Kitchen benchtops: The real-world road test

Where once the front parlour was the statement-making room of the house, now the kitchen claims the most attention in our modern open plan homes. Even in the grandest of homes, the kitchen is still the room where family and visitors congregate to chat, graze and connect.

And the kitchen bench is where all the action takes place – it is, without a doubt, the hardest working fixture in the house. It’s the place where cups of tea are made, homework is debated, bills are paid, plans made, and of course where family meals are created.

While it has to be highly functional, there’s no reason why a kitchen bench can’t also score points for good looks and style. And a smart and practical kitchen benchtop could potentially add thousands to the value to your home. So when it comes time to replace your kitchen benchtop top it pays to spend a little time comparing the material options.

Luckily, we’ve done the hard work for you:

MARBLE

It’s good because:

Elegant marble instantly adds a level of sophistication and style to any kitchen space. It’s hard-wearing and durable and adds instant value to your home.

However be aware that:

As a natural product, marble is subject to variation – the pattern you see in the catalogue may not be the pattern you end up with in your home. Marble is porous - the protective coating used on some marble surfaces can sometimes be damaged by acid foods like lemon juice.

Your kitchen design will require extra planning as marble is considerably heavier than other common benchtop materials. Extra support will be needed so consult with your builder before you order.

And remember marble can scratch and even crack so extra care and maintenance is needed.

 

LAMINATE

It’s good because:

Laminate comes in colours and patterns to suit every kind of interior decor. Laminate is inexpensive and easily adaptable to a variety of shapes and configurations. It’s also very hygienic and easy to clean.

However be aware that:

Cheaper varieties of laminate may not be sealed properly allowing water to get beneath the surface and create swelling. And some kinds of laminate tops do not take well to hot saucepans being placed on them.

 

WOOD

It’s good because:

Wood can turn an ordinary kitchen bench into a stunning design feature. Wood adds warmth and a feeling of ‘home’ to any kitchen.

However be aware that:

As a natural product, wood is subject to variation – like marble, the grain you see in the catalogue may not be the grain you end up with in your home. Water left for long periods can affect some polyurethane coated timber tops. Like marble, wood is porous - uncoated timber tops can be stained by things like lemon juice or wine.

You will need to re-polish wood occasionally to remove scratches and other marks and be aware that cheap varieties can be prone to ‘cupping’.

 

METAL (STAINLESS STEEL/ZINC)

It’s good because:

Metallic finishes create a ‘wow’ factor in homes with a modern, minimalist interior design. Metal is extremely hygienic and easy to clean and its light and easily adaptable to a variety of shapes and configurations.

However be aware that:

Metal, especially zinc, can scratch easily. Metal can also create a clinical ‘hospital’ feel if not tempered by warmer design features.

 

NATURAL STONE (LIMESTONE/GRANITE)

It’s good because:

Stone adds dramatic flair to any kitchen while still retaining a natural feel. Stone is extremely hard wearing and durable and comes in a range of colours and patterns to suit a range of decors.

However be aware that:

As a natural product, stone is subject to variation – the pattern and/or colour you see in the catalogue may not be the pattern and/or colour you end up with in your home. The protective coating used on some marble surfaces can sometimes be damaged by acid foods like lemon juice.

Your kitchen design will require extra planning as stone is considerably heavier than other common benchtop materials. Extra support will be needed so consult with your builder before you order.

 

ENGINEERED STONE

It’s good because:

A blend of natural stone and a resin binder, engineered stone comes in a variety of colours and patterns. It’s hard-wearing and durable and less expensive than some natural stone products. It’s also easily adaptable to a range of shapes and configurations.

However be aware that:

The protective coating used on some engineered stone surfaces can sometimes be damaged by acid foods like lemon juice and also oil.

 

POLISHED CONCRETE

It’s good because:

Polished concrete is hard-wearing and durable and adds an edgy design element to your kitchen.

However be aware that:

The protective coating used on some polished concrete surfaces can sometimes be damaged by acid foods like lemon juice.

Your kitchen design will require extra planning as concrete is considerably heavier than other common benchtop materials. Extra support will be needed so consult with your builder before you order.

 

For more tips on renovations that will maximise the value of your home, call one of the friendly team from PRDnationwide Burleigh Heads on 07 5535 4544 or drop a line to burleigh@prd.com.au.