When you’re tackling a kitchen renovation, choosing the benchtop can be one of the hardest decisions. Here is a quick run-down of the features of a few of the more popular options.
Stone: Let’s start at the top. Natural stone is beautiful, but it’s expensive; you’re looking at a couple of thousand per square metre. It might be worth it if you want that unique, wow factor, but bear in mind acids such as citrus juice can scratch it and it can stain, so you need to seal it regularly.
Engineered stone, such as Cesarstone, is about less than half the price of real stone and can look just as good, although you won’t get that one-off look. The range of colours is greater, it can be easily cleaned and is harder than natural marble.
Metal: Not as common, but great if you’re after an industrial look, brushed down aluminum, copper and stainless steel can be an eye-catching and practical option. It’s getting close to natural stone in terms of cost, but is durable and stain-proof. Downside is that it will show up streaks and fingerprints and is easily scratched, as anyone with stainless steel appliances will know.
Timber: Timber is always on trend and at around $1000 per square metre, it’s at the same pricepoint at engineered stone and metal, but the piece will be unique. You can get cheaper, composite options at Bunnings and IKEA. Consider a reclaimed hardwood as an environmentally friendly choice. You can seal it with a food grade product and sand any scratches away.
Postformed: No – don’t think about your parent’s kitchen. Laminated products have come a long way and are an excellent budget option. From around $150 per square metre, postformed bench tops work best for straight benches. You can recreate a stone or timber look, or choose from a wide range of solid colours. Some are treated with anti-bacterial and anti-fungal coatings.