Wow! What a lot of choices we have. How to decide? It all comes down to one of two things – cost or look. Maybe a combination of both. Your choice of benchtop ranges from bamboo and timber to natural granite or marble to laminate (that can look like any choice of product) to Engineered Stone. And within each category there are heaps of choices of colour and pattern.
Let’s look at Laminate first. Laminate comes in a huge variety of colours and styles and it can imitate any other benchtop. Laminate comes in a gloss or matt finish and can be formed on your bench with a bull nose edge, a tight or compact radius rounded edge or square edges. Laminate is the least expensive bench top option, and often used in standard volume builds as a way to control costs – you can always upgrade your benchtop selection for a price.
Wooden benchtops can look fantastic. There are a wide variety of colours and styles from laminated wood to a slice of timber. What you choose will influence price! Wooden benchtops require ongoing maintenance, but having said that, you can also have a texta mark or scratch sanded out and refinish the surface.
Natural stone would have to be the most expensive option – but nobody could deny that the cool feel, the look and the colour of natural stone is fabulous. Many of the kitchens we see on tv shows, such as the block, use natural stone for their beautiful kitchens.
The last and at the moment, very popular option, is Engineered stone. This gives the cool feel and look of natural stone at only part of the cost. Engineered stone is a composite material made from crushed rock and an adhesive (usually a polymer resin, but sometimes concrete mix). The most common stones used are quartz and marble. Engineered stone is less porous, more flexible, and harder than many types of natural stone. Less porous varieties are more resistant to mould and mildew than most natural stone types. Engineered stone does not have hidden cracks or flaws that may exist in natural stone.
There are Engineered stone products that look just like granite or marble as well as light patterns in many natural tones and some great surfaces that reflect the composite stone nature. Engineered Stone can come in various thicknesses and different applications. Your Custom Builder could help you with this product. Engineered stone seems to be a top choice in Custom Built homes. A great look and not top dollar!