Choosing A Kitchen Benchtop
If you’ve ever renovated or built your dream kitchen from scratch, you’ll know that one of the biggest decisions you make is Choosing A Kitchen Benchtop.
We hear you, it can be an almost agonising decision, so we’ve pulled together a few of the most common kitchen benchtops to review, and hopefully help make the decision easier for you.
From materials, pro’s & con’s and styling, to hot design tips – we’ve done the hard work for you.
Read on, while we take you through Choosing A Kitchen Benchtop the ABI Way!!
Islands in The Stream
When you’re choosing the material for your kitchen benchtop, there are quite alot of factors that will go into making your final decision.
Are you having a large island bench, is you benchtop larger than the marble slabs available, do you want something low maintenance, is cost the main factor?
Like we said, lots to consider! But we’ve got the pro’s and cons of our top 4 kitchen benchtop materials,. With some tried and tested options, and one you might not have considered before…
So if you’re dreaming of a new kitchen, read on and see if any of these options tickle your fancy!!
One of the most popular benchtops over the years has been marble. It has seen a huge resurgence in recent years, and we couldn’t be happier.
It’s easy to see why we are so drawn to it. It’s natural, it’s luxurious and it’s 100% unique. No two pieces of marble are exactly the same, which add’s to it’s beauty. It also comes in various colours from clean whites, pinks, and grays, to the darkest onyx black, mother nature decides!
When it comes to using marble as a kitchen benchtop though, there are a few pro’s and con’s. Let’s take a look at what marble has to offer…
- Luxurious – There’s no two ways about it, nothing shows elegance better than marble
- Natural Material – It has a beautiful, tactile finish that is hard to beat
- Unique – As mentioned earlier, it’s 100% unique and no one else will have a kitchen benchtop exactly the same as your
- Can be shaped/sculpted – If you’re looking for a unique profile to your benchtop, marble can provide this as it can be shaped and sculpted to almost any shape or design
- Undermount Sinks – You can create a modern look as you can undermount your kitchen sink when using marble
- Expensive – Due to the fact it is mined & imported from overseas, marble is very expensive compared to other options
- Porous – Even once chemically sealed & polished, it is still prone to staining and etching so you need to be very careful
- High Maintenance – Every 2 years marble needs to be re-polished & sealed which is expensive. If you’re looking for a low maintenance kitchen benchtop, maybe marble isn’t the perfect option for you
When it comes to styling a marble kitchen benchtop, sometimes less can be more. You don’t want to load it up with a lot of pieces, as it will detract from the beautiful, natural look of the marble.
Try and keep it minimal with a few key pieces, and tuck everything else into cupboards. Allow that marble be your showstopper!
Next cab off the rank is Engineered Stone or Quartz. If you love the tactility of marble, but not the expense or maintenance, then this is the next best thing.
Like most building materials, engineered stone has come a long way in recent years and is one of the most popular kitchen benchtops at the moment. And for good reason, so lets explore the good and bad of engineered stone:
- Available in many colours/finishes – there are more and more colours and finishes coming onto the market each year, so there’s sure to be something to suit your project
- Durable – it’s heat, scratch and stain resistant and should look amazing for many years
- More Cost Effective – definitely cheaper than marble with a similar look & feel
- Lower maintenance – little to no maintenance is required and can be cleaned with almost any day to day cleaning products
- Relatively expensive – while it’s more cost effective than marble, it’s still quite expensive compared to something like laminate
- Slab Sizes – you can get larger slabs than marble, but you may still have joins on an extra large benchtop
- Breakages – things like glasses and plates are more prone to breakage as this is a hard, stone-like material
When you’ve finished creating your dream kitchen, you might be tempted to go hard on of styling. But try and pull back a little…all kitchens need to be functional yes, but unless your kettle or toaster is a cool designer piece – we would recommend leaving it off your benchtop.
Try instead just having a few essential pieces out on display. Maybe a textural fruit bowl, an earthy timber chopping board and maybe a cute, detailed potted herb. The engineered stone will need some softening, so add a couple of things at a time and play around until you’re happy!
Get The Look – ABI Brushed Nickel Elysian Kitchen Mixer
Who would have thought years ago, that we would be using concrete for something like our kitchen benchtop! Concrete was something for your driveway and floors of industrial sheds.
Well, have we got news for you – concrete is the latest ‘IT’ product in the world of kitchen design. And it’s a great option to use for your kitchen benchtop. Here’s a few of the top reasons to use, or not to use concrete:
- Can be formed to any shape – gives amazing design flexibility so you can create a unique, bespoke piece of ‘furniture’ in the kitchen
- Relatively cost effective – compared to marble this is still more cost effective, but can creep up, as it is a custom product
- Great Durability – nothing is indestructible, but concrete is pretty darn close
- Integrate – you can integrate your kitchen sink, dish drainage and even a hold for an undermount bin – love that!
- Prone to Cracking – this is less common nowadays but can still occur, however they can be repaired
- Porous – it requires sealing upfront, and then every 1-2 years to keep it food safe and looking great
- Medium Maintenance – your benchtop will need to be polished with a special concrete wax around once a month to keep it in tip-top shape
Design Tip – Thought concrete was just for modern industrial kitchens – think again! Designers and architects are using kitchens is slick, modern, high-end homes for a streamlined look. And because it is polished, it creates a seamless, smooth, shiny finish that is absolutely stunning.
Last but not least, we’re going to explore the tried and tested world of laminate kitchen benchtops. There are some great reasons why this type of product has been used time and time again, and continues to grow in popularity.
Gone are the days where you were limited to white laminate. If you’ve been anywhere near a kitchen design centre, you’ll know that laminate is available in an astounding array of colours and textures now. It give us all so much more choice and design freedom, so let’s check out the good & bad of laminate kitchen benchtops!
- Amazing choice of colours & finishes – you’ll be shocked at the amount of suppliers and options available in regards to colours and finishes. From woodgrain to matte marble effects, there’s something for everyone
- Very cost effective – the most cost effective out of our 4 options, it’s a relief for the budget
- Readily available – with a large amount of suppliers and options, lead-time shouldn’t be a problem
- Low Maintenance – there is no ongoing maintenance with laminate, just your usual daily cleaning should do the trick
- Can scratch easily – laminate will scratch and show some marks. Always use a chopping board here!
- Limited thickness – due to the manufacturing process it’s is only available in a couple of thicknesses
- Not Heat Resistant – don’t go putting a hot pot directly onto this material, it has the possibility of scalding or causing permanent damage
- Repairs are difficult – if you do put a chip in the laminate or damage a corner, there are a few options of repairing it, but they can be costly and unsightly
Get The Look – ABI White Elysian Kitchen Mixer
On the Chopping Block
Let’s put it this way, you don’t have to choose one of these particular kitchen benchtop materials, but you need something.
Sometimes the process of elimination is the way to go. Definitely rule out a couple that you don’t want, and focus on the options that you are interested in.
Once you think about your lifestyle, kitchen design and style, you’ll be sure to choose the perfect material for you and your family.
If you’ve used any of these materials recently, let us know if you have any other helpful hints for someone choosing their kitchen bench!