There are lots of things to consider to make sure it meets your needs!
In a simpler time before Instagram and Pinterest, choosing a kitchen benchtop was about deciding between a few standard colours; they were no more than laminated pieces of timber screwed to the top of cabinets.
At Ross North Homes we know firsthand that kitchen design has changed a lot since then, and today benchtops have evolved into signature pieces of art that add class, warmth, personality, and sophistication to a home. With the help of technology, they can now be fabricated from a myriad of different materials such as natural stone, engineered stone, timber, acrylic solid surface, stainless steel, and laminate to name the most popular.
Choice is great, but it can make it hard to decide which is best for your family. Budget is one thing, but you also want to consider the look & feel of the material as well as the wear and tear it can withstand depending on the size and age of your family. We’ve collated some helpful information on common benchtop materials so you can review which might best work in your new home.
Natural Stone Benchtops
Natural stone benchtops are manufactured from natural forming stone that is quarried from different locations around the world. These benchtops, with their natural striations, are a popular choice because of their unique markings, meaning no two pieces are alike. Natural stone products include granite, marble, limestone, travertine, slate, quartzite, sandstone, and onyx.
They are extremely heat resistant, so natural stone benchtops will not melt or blister although it is recommended you still use heat mats for appliances that release heat over a long period of time such as a slow cooker. They are super durable and will last a lifetime with minimal maintenance required but for this reason, they are also one of the most expensive options.
Engineered Stone Benchtops
Engineered stone, also known as reconstituted stone or quartz, is a man-made material constructed from a combination of stone, glass or shells and a silicon resin bonding agent. Much like natural stone, engineered stone benchtops are a popular benchtop choice and widely used in newly built, modern homes.
They are non-porous, meaning that moisture cannot penetrate the material, thus making it very hygienic for kitchen, bathroom, and laundry applications. It is good for the environment as they are made predominantly from the crushed rock so leave a smaller environmental footprint than natural stone products. They are also heat and stain resistant and best of all -repairable. Engineered stone is tough but can chip at the edges if knocked with a heavy pot or knife. The good news is that these chips can be repaired as opposed to natural stone where there is no real way to match/repair the unique colouring/texture.
A popular alternative to stone and made from materials such as MDF board, ply or chipboard, laminate benchtops can replicate the look of natural materials such as granite, wood grain and marble. While they are water-resistant, they can be easily dented/scratched and can be damaged by extreme heat.
They are a cost-effective option and available in a large range of colours and patterns that can mimic the appearance of stone minus the price tag. The colour palette of laminate benchtops available is endless making anything currently fashionable colour or style a possibility in your home, you may just want to note that matt finishes are better for kitchen benchtops as gloss finishes are prone to scratching.
Aesthetically there is no other material that provides such a warm texture and a natural look/feel, and because no two pieces of wood are the same, it certainly creates a unique look for your home which is what makes it such a popular choice for WA families. They create an atmosphere of warmth and cottage charm and because there are so many different colours of wood and types of wood grains, you can create a bespoke look that is unique to your kitchen.
That said, timber requires high amounts of maintenance to keep it looking good and staying hygienic/clean. Timber is also more susceptible to stains, so even water can cause discolouration if not wiped away quickly enough.
If you are looking to make 2021 the year you build a new home, we invite you to browse through our award-winning new home designs in Perth – each contains modern innovation and plenty of invaluable kitchen inspiration! At Ross North Homes we have more than 40 years’ experience building beautiful homes for thousands of WA families, and we’d love to be part of your building journey too.