Designer: Studio McQueen, Our Ascot Kitchen Reno Photographer: Alana Blowfield
How to decide your benchtop material?
Beyond meal preparation modern kitchens are also where much of the action takes place, meaning the materials used here need to be both practical and good looking. Here’s a round up of dream benchtop materials:
Marble & Granite (Natural Stone)
It is a beautiful and luxury and organic material, what I love about natural is you can’t really replicate it. Especially Granite, It glistens in the sunlight and speckles a change colour tone throughout the day.
White marble is high maintenance as it’s also porous material. So will suck up stains on benchtops. Got to be careful with red wine, beetroot, blueberries anything citrus really. Even things like tomato sauce and mustard will stain it and etch the surface. But this gives it’s natural and patina look, people even love or hate this. Over time you can opt to rehone and reseal too to freshen up the marble.
A Granite is much less porous, making it more stain and scratch-resistant and it comes in a wide and gorgeous range of colours.
Approx std cost marble ranges from $800 to $2200 per sq metre and granite from about $700 to $1700 per sq metre and they can come in large slab sizes 3300 x 1950
Quartz Stone, engineered benchtops:
Engineered stone is probably the most popular benchtop specified these days and there’s a number of brands to look at. Essentially they are the same product the engineered stone is made up of mostly crushed quartz and is held together with a resin and it’s available in a variety of colours and finishes polished, matt finishes. the unfortunate aspect to engineered stone is it contains a large portion of silica some slabs consist of 90% of the material. Silica it’s self is not dangerous to the homeowner or once the benchtop’s been installed. It’s the cutting process that the stone mason does where he needs to be vigilant wearing a mask ect as the small particles can be breathed in causing, silicosis.
These are the brands I would specify as there have good after care service and a warranty if there’s any issues after installation someone is available to help.
Approx std cost from $1200 per 3000mm x 1400mm slab for standard colours.
The classic standard range is an affordable starting point for new home builders, or budget conscious renovators, but the standard range are mostly solid colours. If you’re after some texture or marble look slabs look at the super natural range, Supernatural Premium or super natural Ultra Ranges. To see a full range of colours available head to the caesarstone website.
Silestone does have a lovely of colours available, some of the calcatta tones look very similar to the real deal, without all the headache on maintenance. Silestone also has a growing HybridQ range which is a first for manmade engineered stones, reducing the silica levels and adpoting sustainable practices (using recyceled water ect) in the manufacturing stages of creating the product. For the full range of colours head to silestone website by Cosentino.
Designer: Brianna Hughes Interiors , Canada
Why would I be mentioning laminate as an option?… that’s so 90’s. Your thinking the low pressure laminates, which most homes used back in the 90’s, 2000’s builders started offering engineered stone as a standard benchtop material. The low pressure laminate is still an option for laundries, or scullery’s that are not on show. There’s a vast range of colours, and ideal if you’re after a timber look benchtop.
High pressure laminate or compact laminates are an option to look at too. Some benchtops come in 12mm thick, to give you that minimal look and the new Xeoith range from Polytec is a beautiful finish that looks similar to marble / stone and comes in a range of profile edges.
Timber and Recycled Timber:
You really need a cabinet maker to pull this off and to look seemless especially if you have a sink in the benchtop. And needs to be properly sealed Osmo Oil Wood protector. If you can move the sink to a different material benchtop. Re-oilking is a good idea about every 2 years.
Formed Concrete Benchtop:
Concrete benchtops are formed and poured onsite and considering their weight, you may need additional sub-floor structural work for extra support. They do have a raw finish and will need to be sealed before using and finishes can vary from very rough to more smooth and refined, plus they can be coloured by tinting the mix.
Cost: approx $1000 – $1750 per square metre
Can be a very versatile product and can handle more heat transfer than the engineered stones and is highly scratch & stain resistant. It’s a very hardy product and the best part of going porcelain is it comes in multiple thicknesses 4, 8, 12, 20 and 30mm. Perfect for matching a benchtop using a 60mm edge profile and a splashback at 4mm. and can come in a larger format sheet size 3200x 1440 slabs. Which means that your island counter can be in 1 piece and no joins. For more brand information head to Dekton and Neolith, CDK in Perth websites