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How to Choose the Best Kitchen Benchtop

by Jimmy Tang
How to Choose the Best Kitchen Benchtop

Thinking of installing new kitchen countertops? Are you confused about what will be suitable for the most used place of the house? Well, it’s easy. Read the article to understand what factors you need to consider when choosing a counter for your beautiful kitchen.

Choosing a Benchtop Material

Some materials of countertops only look appealing and catchy but are not ideal for certain households. For instance, white granite countertops are not suitable for a home with a huge family that commonly faces spills, leaks, and accidents.

Moreover, some kitchen countertops are prone to damages, cracks, and chips. If you can’t maintain them, it’s better to avoid installing them in your home. Because of these reasons, first, you need to think about the usage of your kitchen. This will help you determine what material will suit your favourite place in the home. If you don’t have an idea, ask an expert to guide you before choosing countertops.

Laminate Benchtops 

Laminate benchtops are the most popular because they are very affordable and they come printed in a variety of colours and styles. When choosing laminate you have to be a bit more conscious about leaving water around, and that you're always drying wet areas so that the water doesn't seep under the laminate layer and into the MDF boards. We often see that this is the chosen benchtop style for DIY renovators as it's easier to install their own kitchen sink, keeping in mind that it is recommend that you find a topmount kitchen sink if you're using laminate benchtops.

Natural Stone Benchtops 

There are a variety of Natural stone available for your benchtop, the most popular ones being: Marble, Granite and Quartz. The biggest advantage of having natural stone benchtops is that the design and style is determined by nature, you maybe able to select the slab that suits your taste but each slab is different and the veining on the slabs are unique. The cost of natural stone makes it only viable in high-end homes and kitchens.

The biggest risk of natural stone such the risk of having it stained, it's almost irreversible and can happen very easily especially with spills from red wine, vinegar, spices or even your cup of coffee. So you're going to have to be a little more careful if you're going to go down the luxury style of natural stone in the kitchen.

Engineered Stone Benchtops 

Reconstituted stone or also known as Engineered stone is a cheaper alternative to natural, and like it's name describes the stone is engineered meaning it's man made, it's generally a composite of crushed stone bound together by adhesive polymer resin or cement mix. The benefit have engineered stone is that each slab is carefully crafted to mimic the most popular veining patterns of natural stone, so it's generally easier to find a desirable slab because the makers already know what's popular.

These days the manufacturing process has been refined to the point where most people could not tell the difference between engineered stone and natural stone. The best part is it is dramatically cheaper than natural stone, and being a only slightly more expensive than laminate it's a more affordable option to upgrade your benchtop.

It's very common to see engineered stone replicate luxurious marble types such as Calacatta or Carrara and darker luxury marble such as Nero Marquina. Some common brands of engineered stone would be Caesarstone, Quantum, Essastone, Silestone, Stone Italiana and Smartstone. 

Solid Surface Benchtops 

Solid surface has become popular in recent years because of it's ability of make a seamless countertop. It is made up of mineral dust, mostly marble, and mixed with a variety of plastic resin and pigments to give it's colour and texture. The texture of solid surface is very unique and is very different to touch, and most would have a matte finish rather than a bit of a shine or reflection.

The downside of it is that it's extremely easy to stain and is a softer surface (despite the name being solid surface haha), but to counter that you can also run sand paper over it to strip off the top stained layer. Solid Surface is more popular in the bathroom as it's a smaller surface area and also less time spent in the area.

The most common brand of solid surface is DuPont Corian. 

Stainless Steel Benchtops 

Stainless steel benchtops have been inspired by commercial kitchens and cooking shows, as it gives that professional feeling in the kitchen. The reason why stainless steel countertops are popular is because they're a lot more stain resistant, as it is stainless steel they're more prone to scratches as it is not scratch resistant but as it is used more the scratches blend into each other and eventually you won't be able to see or notice the scratches.

Some steel fabricators will create their own stainless steel kitchen sink to go with their benchtops and other steel fabricators will purchase handmade sinks such as Buildmat's kitchen sinks to integrate with their stone benchtops it depends on the cost and craftsmanship of the steel fabricator.

Stainless steel benchtops are extremely low maintenance, and has high durability which is why it is a popular choice. Also keep in mind that most other benchtops are prone to heat damage, stainless steel benchtops are not heat resistant but they won't mark and stain and be ruined if you had to put a hot pot on the surface for a couple of seconds.

Concrete Benchtops 

Concrete benchtops have been very popular lately to go with the minimalistic feel and style, the great part about concrete is that it is generally made to order and are not prefabricated slate for benchtops, this gives you more flexibility in the size shape and thickness of the benchtop.

Concrete countertops will generally have an epoxy layer since concrete is porous the layer is the help prevent water from seeping into the concrete and cracking or slowly eroding it away. Concrete basins need resealing every few years to ensure that it is still waterproof.

Wooden Benchtops 

Wooden benchtops look great but they're hard to maintain as they expand with water, and being in the kitchen where water is used to clean dishes and prepare meals it's not an ideal material to choose for the benchtop.

People that still choose wooden benchtops for their kitchen remodel are already prepared for the extra time and care they need to give to maintain the style.

An alternative is looking at creating a butcher block, this is a sturdy wooden benchtop made of hardwood that is left unsealed and can use for food preparation, some treat it like a built in chopping board. Obviously a removable cutting board is much easier to clean and replace compared to a built in butcher block, so keep that in mind if you're going for that style.

What to consider when choosing a benchtop?

Look for Easy Cleaning 

Cleaning is crucial for your countertop. It helps you to maintain the hygiene of your kitchen. Plus, cleaning will keep your kitchen counter in top-notch shape. Of course, you don’t want a surface filled with stains. For an easy cleaning choice, look for solid surfaces.

Furthermore, quartz surfaces are also pretty easy to wipe and clean than marble counters. Not to mention, marbles surfaces are prone to staining. On the other hand, stainless steel is also an excellent option for commercial kitchens because of its strain resistance ability.

Consider the Appearance 

The ambience really matters when it comes to the kitchen. The modern kitchen revolves around the lavish features and designs that can attract anyone to cook in the kitchen. Marble kitchen countertops bring sheer elegance to the kitchen. On the other hand, granite counters make the ambience look natural and appealing. It has unique and classy patterns that give a natural touch to every piece.

Furthermore, there is a variety of solid surfacing choices that you can choose if you are not merely looking for a natural appearance. Quartz countertops are also great and available in a wide range of colours and designs.

Design of Kitchen Cabinets 

If you want to make your kitchen look like heaven, you need to work on the combinations and contrast of each and everything in your space. If you are thinking of installing new counters while having the same old cabinets, pay attention to the colour scheme of cabinets. For instance, if your cabinets are black, and you choose brown counters, it may make the entire space look unpleasant. It is wise to choose a countertop material that comes in a range of colours. This way, you can pick a colour that can complement your cabinetry.

Think about Your Home Layout 

The kitchen is considered the heart of the home. It should complement the overall feel and theme of your house. It’s a common strategy of interior designers to layout and style each area of the house so that they can complement each other. This is especially important when you're doing the kitchen design and choosing the colour of the backsplash or even the grout that's going to go in your splash back.

It’s important to choose a single style for the entire house, such as contemporary or traditional. Suppose if your home is open concept, this style should be visible throughout your house, including the kitchen. You also need to opt for similar palettes and finishes in your house.

Choose the Colour Wisely 

Colour is an important consideration when buying countertops. You need a hue that can give a tremendous touch to your space and complements other accessories. Make sure to pick a colour that can boost the overall appearance of your kitchen. Different colours have different advantages to them, and they also suit different styles so make sure you've done your research and gathered enough inspirational photos before choosing your style.

· White- the light and clean look of granite help you to make your kitchen look bigger and brighter.

· Beige- it goes well with any light to dark-coloured accessories of your kitchen.

· Brown- they look great in both rustic and country-style kitchens.

· Black- it looks great in a modern ambience that has white-coloured cabinets and also hide stains easier.

Mind Your Budget 

Countertops are not a cheap accessory to install. You need to make a budget before choosing your kitchen counters. You need to prepare yourself to spend a good amount. Make sure to be realistic when you are deciding your budget.

Homeowners that will live in their house generally try to save up more so that they can go for a reconstituted stone or natural stone and would normally take more care of their kitchen whereas for property investors with rental properties they would be more likely do their home improvement project on a budget and choose laminate.

Additionally, look for the options that can best fit your budget and preferences. Also, try to consult an expert to get a better option that meets your budget and desires. However, don’t pick something that is not durable and can’t last long only because you are low on budget. In this case, it’s better to wait until you save enough money.

You must consider all the mentioned factors before choosing the kitchen countertops. No matter how expensive and lavish material you choose, if it does not complement the kitchen and other rooms of the house, it will not give a good overall look.