Complete Kitchens

Kitchen Benchtop Options

In an Aussie kitchen, the benchtop is more than just a surface – it’s an opportunity to make a statement, it’s where functionality meets style. Your benchtop is the canvas that brings your kitchen design together. The choices in material, colour, and finish don’t just define your unique style but also integrate into your daily routine. Hence, it’s important to weight durability and maintenance alongside aesthetics to find the perfect fit.

 

In light of the phased-out use of Engineered stone in Australian Market, with a complete ban set from 1st July 2024, now it’s a good time now for homeowners planning kitchen renovations to explore alternative benchtop materials. It’s essential to find options that offer  both aesthetic appeal and functionality while aligning with individual budget.  

Engineered stone has dominated the Australian market for the last decade due to its durability and affordability as a stone surface. However, it’s time to shift focus. Families may find themselves allocating more budget for kitchen renovations since this popular option will no longer be available.

Fortunately, there are a few established alternatives and upcoming products that will provide homeowners with a variety of choices.

As a kitchen specialist with a track record of manufacturing over 23,000 kitchens in the past 46 years, Complete Kitchens’ design team has the expertise to guide you in selecting the most suitable options to match your budget and individual needs.

Let’s look at some recommended options, considering their respective pros and cons:

Corian (Solid Surface)

Corian, an acrylic solid surface product, can be used similarly to engineered stone, catering to all types of kitchen designs. The durability and hygiene of Corian benchtops make them a reliable choice. 

These benchtops can be installed with seamless joins and moulded to include sinks and splashback, giving your kitchen a flawless, integrated aesthetic. They can be shaped to achieve curved and unique designs.

Additionally, Corian benchtops are renewable and repairable, ensuring a long-lasting investment. They will never permanently stain, any blemishes or scratches can be removed.

Having established its presence in both the commercial market and mid-to-high-end residential kitchens for a long time, Corian stand as a time-tested product.

Corian is also great for challenging sites like apartments, where delivering a stone slab could pose difficulties. The technicians can join the pieces on site without visible joins. 

We confidently recommend it as the premier alternative to engineered stone for kitchen benchtop surfaces, surpassing other existing options on the market.

Learn More about Corian

Granite & Marble

Granite and marble, as natural stones, provide a timeless and luxurious look that will add long-term value to your kitchen. However, they are both costly and requires ongoing care.

In terms of lifespan, granite will typically outlast marble since it’s harder, less porous, and more durable, while marble is considered the softer and more porous stone. Unlike granite, marble is not heat resistant and can stain easily. Both granite and marble require regular sealing to prevent staining, usually once a year for granite but twice a year for marble.

If you opt for the unique beauty of the natural stone, we recommend using granite for Kitchen benchtops since there is a lot of foot traffic in the kitchen space. Marble, on the other hand, can be used for bathroom vanities. 

 

Learn more about Natural Stone

Laminate Benchtops (HPL)

If your primary focus is on budget considerations and a quick turnaround, laminate benchtops emerge as a practical and cost-effective choice that has stood the test of time.

The Laminate benchtops we sourced from Polytec and other premier suppliers, present a diverse range of designs, from solid colours to natural looking timber grain and stone patterns. The High-pressure Laminate used in these benchtops is non-porous, so there is no risk of staining, but it’s not heat- resistance and can be susceptible to scratching. 

Unlike stone materials, which require weeks for manufacturing, laminate benchtops can be installed together with the cabinetry, potentially saving you valuable time during your kitchen renovation project.

 

Sintered Surfaces – Porcelain & Sintered Stone

Sintered Surfaces, such as Porcelain and Sintered stone, are crafted from natural minerals that undergo a high-heat compression process – a technique that naturally takes thousands of years to occur and may result in natural faults.

Renowned for their durability and low porosity, these surfaces exhibit resilience against liquid absorption, scratches, stans and high temperatures.

However, it’s essential to recognize that, devoid of resin and due to their unique production process, sintered surfaces can be susceptible to chipping, especially along the edges, when exposed to heavy impacts or sharp objects. Caution is advised when handling substantial utensils or accidently dropping hard objects on the surface to prevent chips.

In addition, these surfaces may be prone to cracking under extreme conditions, such as sudden, significant temperature changes.

Popular brands of sintered surface products in the Australian Market include Neolith, Dekton, Lapitech and Smart Stone’s Sintered Stone range. It’s important to note that many sintered surface suppliers or manufacturers might not offer warranties to address potential chipping or cracking issues.

 

Stainless Steel

Durable, sleek, and maintaining impeccable hygiene standards, stainless steel benchtops are a mainstay in professional kitchens.

These benchtops are super easy to clean and will withstand a lot of abuse even in the face of heavy-duty cooking tasks. However, it’s important to bear in mind that, while stainless steel surfaces are tough, they are susceptible to scratches over time. Therefore, it’s advisable not to expect that perfect brushed finish to remain unblemished for long.

Given their durability, ease of maintenance, and ability to withstand the demands of professional cooking environments, we highly recommend opting for stainless steel benchtops in commercial kitchens or for professional cooks.

 

Timber 

Timber can add warmth, texture and an organic feel to the kitchen space. Hardwoods such as oak, walnut and beech are popular as they are strong and durable. However, if low maintenance is a priority for your benchtops, timber may not be the most suitable choice for you.

Timber benchtops are more vulnerable to scratches, dents, chipping and staining, or burning with hot objects. Additionally, due to its slight porous nature, it’s not quite as hygienic as other materials and it needs to be regularly resealed to maintain surface quality. In practical kitchen design, it’s important to assess your needs when opting for timber.

Design your Kitchen with CK 

We invite you to visit our Oakleigh South showroom to explore an array of kitchen cabinets and benchtop options on display. Our friendly showroom consultants are ready to introduce you to our products and guide you through our  Kitchen Design & Costing process. Start your kitchen renovation journey stress-free! 

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