Choosing a Benchtop Material for Your Sydney Kitchen
With open-plan living now a staple of most modern home designs, the kitchen has become as much a design statement as it is a functional room of the home.
A hub for entertaining, cooking, family admin, homework, and so much more, the kitchen is on display and in use much of the time we are at home. Not only does this leave it susceptible to a high level of wear and tear, but it also means just about every visitor is likely to spend time in your kitchen at some point during their visit.
With this in mind, your design choices for the kitchen need to be as aesthetic as they are durable; particularly for the benchtop, which is used in cooking, serving, eating, entertaining and leisure on a daily basis.
Your design preferences, along with the way you like to prepare and cook meals, will influence the types of kitchen benchtops you consider for your home.
Here’s our rundown of five of the most popular benchtop materials for your kitchen and how to choose the one that’s right for you.
One of the most influential materials in kitchen design over the last decade, stone encompasses materials like marble, granite, quartz, and reconstituted and engineered stone.
Seamlessly integrating into many different design styles, stone has become a popular choice for the character it adds to a kitchen. The natural veins, flecks and tones that run throughout these materials are unique to each piece, meaning you can create a look that’s unique to your kitchen.
While incredibly striking, it’s worth noting that stone can be porous and will need to be sealed to minimise the likelihood of stains and scratches.
2. Polished concrete
Offering the character of stone without the same price tag, polished concrete is becoming one of the more popular types of kitchen benchtops as the industrial design trend grows.
Like stone, concrete comes in a variety of colours and textures, so you can customise the look of your benchtop to suit the design style of your space.
Due to its weight, you may need additional reinforcement under your bench to avoid any structural issues down the track. Professional installation is recommended for this material.
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Continuing our review of types of kitchen benchtops for your project, timber is a popular option with many possible executions.
A timber benchtop can either constitute one long piece of wood or several thinner pieces joined together.
Timber can be used to:
- Soften an all-white palette
- Create a country or traditional design style
- Offer a warm contrast to darker, monochromatic kitchens
While cheaper in cost than stone or concrete (both for the materials and the installation), wood can also involve more maintenance over time.
Although timber can be less resistant to stains or scratches, you do have the benefit of being able to sand and reseal your benchtop after a few years of wear and tear.
If you’re after a low-maintenance, affordable material with a range of styles and finishes to choose from – laminate might be exactly what you’re looking for.
Once considered dated and unappealing, laminate has evolved to offer hundreds of colours and types of kitchen benchtop styles in its range – including stone and marble finishes that look as good as the real thing, at a fraction of the cost.
Relatively easy to look after, the one thing to watch for is any chip to the melamine coating on the surface. If you don’t catch this early, water can seep into the wood inside and cause swelling.
This is particularly important for any joins in your laminate near the sink – working with a kitchen design company with professional installation can help to avoid these kinds of issues, which are more common when using flatpack kitchens.
A ceramic product, porcelain is popular for its durability – fire, heat, stain and scratch resistant; porcelain is a great material to use across your kitchen surfaces.
Available in both glossy and matte finishes, porcelain can be made to replicate the look of everything from marble to timber.
Despite its durability, porcelain can be prone to chips and cracks if something heavy is dropped on the surface.
As it’s newer to the Australian market, porcelain can be more expensive when compared to other options and does require specialist installation, too.