When you’re planning a new kitchen, you face many different choices and one of the biggest is the benchtop. In some countries kitchen benchtops are known as worktops for a good reason – they’re probably the hardest working surface in the kitchen, so choose carefully! Remember you’ll be preparing, chopping, cutting, mixing, spilling, cleaning and maybe eating on it many times every day. Appearance alone might not be the best way to make your decision.
Fortunately, benchtops are now available in many different materials to suit your cooking and cleaning style. And, the range of finishes is huge so you’re sure to find the right mix of style and function.
To help you make your decision, we’ve listed the main materials available and the factors you should take into consideration. And, if you would like some professional advice on the right choice, our kitchen design experts at Houseace can help.
The main factors to consider are function, appearance, maintenance and cost. Function tops the list because the kitchen benchtop is where you do all the work. If you’ve got a large family or you entertain regularly, your benchtop will have to be hard-wearing. Some benchtops also function as eating surfaces, particularly if you’ve got a kitchen-diner, so you’ll want a surface that’s easy to maintain.
Appearance is equally important. The benchtop surface colour and finish has to harmonise with all the other kitchen elements – walls, cupboards, appliances and flooring. And, it has to be hard-wearing to maintain the appearance. With wear and tear, scratches and stains, the showroom appearance can soon fade.
Health and hygiene are essential in the kitchen, so the surface must be easy to clean and maintain. Some materials might react badly to common kitchen cleaning products. Surfaces that are easily scratched can harbour dirt and be difficult to clean.
Kitchen benchtops vary widely in cost from basic laminates to top-of-the range stone materials. Installation costs will vary too, particularly if you need complex island shapes or special cuts for sink inserts or awkward corners.
Laminates are a practical, affordable choice. They come in many different styles and colours, and they are easy to clean. But, be careful, laminate kitchen benchtops can be damaged by heat or scratches. Cost averages $50/$100 per square metre.
Acrylics are increasingly popular, with Corian one of the best-known brands. Like laminates, they are practical and very easy to maintain, but are also easily damaged by heat or scratches. Corian kitchen benchtops are easy to install without seams and they can be repaired. Typical cost is around $1,000/$1,300 per square metre.
Engineered Stone takes you into the realms of stone benchtops at an affordable price. They are very durable, don’t get damaged by heat or scratches and are easy to clean. But, avoid excess heat and clean up stains quickly. Engineered stone kitchen benchtops cost from $300 to $800 per square metre.
Granite is a very attractive surface and not too expensive. It is hard wearing, easy to clean and doesn’t get damaged by heat or scratches. However, granite kitchen benchtops have to be sealed regularly and they require specialist installation. Typical cost ranges from $700 – $2,000 per square metre.
Marble is considered a luxury surface, although it falls into a similar price range to granite. It is simple to clean, but must be sealed and can be easily damaged by stains, chipping or cracking. Marble kitchen benchtops have to be installed by experts and this can add to their cost, which ranges from $800 – $2,200 per square metre.
Stainless steel is an affordable surface material that is widely used in commercial kitchens, but is popular with owners who want a contemporary look. Stainless steel kitchen benchtops are extremely durable, easy to clean and are not damaged by heat, stains or chemicals. However, they are easily scratched and require specialist cleaning products. Costs average $900 – $1,100 per square metre.
Timber is a popular choice for people who want a natural look to their kitchen. Although they are easy to maintain, timber kitchen worktops have to be sealed to avoid damage from heat, stains and scratches. Costs vary with the type of wood, but expect to pay $500 – $1,500 per square metre.
Concrete is a choice for anyone that wants an industrial look to their kitchen. It’s obviously a tough, durable surface material but is prone to dents and chipping. It must be sealed to prevent damage from heat and stains and it has to be installed by a specialist to avoid cracking or damage. Polished concrete kitchen benchtops range in price from $1,000 to $1,800 per square metre.
With so many options to choose from, you’ll be glad to hear that we can provide a comprehensive range of all the surfaces listed in a wide range of finishes. And, we’ve got the specialists to handle any kitchen benchtop replacement including the more difficult materials. All the Houseace team are fully qualified and vetted experts in their trade. They will transform your benchtop with utmost care, as though it were their own.
Why not read our customer testimonials and find out why Houseace is trusted by thousands of Australians for benchtops or complete kitchen renovations, or give us a call today on 1300 304 367. Get a free online kitchen benchtop replacement quote in just two minutes!