Kitchen Benchtops

WHICH KITCHEN BENCHTOPS ARE RIGHT FOR US?

 

When choosing kitchen benchtops there is actually a huge selection on the market with different pros and cons. With a various range of products available it can seem a little overwhelming.

 

We’ve put together the following to help you with what is available & explaining the details, pros and cons  of each benchtop type and their relative price point.

 

It is a good idea to start with what your type of lifestyle is currently and what you intend your budget to be.

Quick Reference Guide – Kitchen Benchtops

 

Please scroll down the page for more information & images of the various benchtops.

 

Kitchen Benchtop TypeProsConsPrice Range
$-$$$
Engineered Stone
Caesarstone, Silestone, Roxx, Iquartz, Quantum Quartz
-There is a good benchtop colour selection
-Reasonable heat and impact resistance
-Gives a contemporary look and feel
-Depending on thickness price of these benchtops can almost compete with laminate
-These are less heat and impact resistance than granite and stainless steel benchtops
-Dark colours can look relatively flat when compared with granite
-There is a time delay between cabinet and bench installation
-Choosing thick bench tops can be relatively expensive
$$
Acrylic
Corian, Hi-Macs, Infinity
-There is a good selection of acrylic colour bench tops to choose from
-Similar in price point to granite and engineered stone
-Option of easily repairing or repolishing
-Produces no visible joins so long bench tops are an option
-Delay between cabinet and benchtop installation
-Scratches more easily than stainless steel, concrete and stone bench tops
-Can stain easily if it is a light benchtop colour
$$
High Pressure Laminate
Formica, Wilsonart, Laminex, Bisonne
-This is the most cost effective benchtop product which is highly popular (although other options are becoming as cost effective now)
-Huge Colour selection (over 300 to choose from)
-Bench top arrives with kitchen cabinets so there is no delay in the installation process
-Perhaps this product can be perceived as a cheap alternative bench top in more expensive homes
-These benchtops are more prone to heat and impact damage compared to other products
-The price of other more durable products can be in line with laminate benchtops now
$
Concrete-Can be coloured to suit
-Gives a strong contemporary industrial look
-Very strong and durable bench top
-Similar in price point to higher priced stone
-Good heat and impact resistance bench top
-Can form cracks if not resealed on a regular basis
-Can be an expensive bench top compared to granite
-They can develop small cracks that are cosmetic rather than structural which can add to the uniqueness
-There will be a time delay between cabinet and bench top installation
$$
Natural Granite-Some colour bench tops are very competitively priced
-A good range of colour selection
-Good heat and impact resistance from a benchtop
- Some people find the benchtop surface too hard to work on
-Some colours are very expensive
-Light colour benchtops may show stains if not regularly resealed
-As it is a natural stone, it may chip more easily than engineerd stone
-There is a time delay between cabinet and benchtop installation
$$$
Stainless Steel-Available in a range of different bench top finishes
-Very impact and heat resistant
- Reasonably priced bench tops if used in straight runs
-These can become an expensive alternative benchtop if side joins or welding is required
-Brushed and polished stainless steel benchtops are highly reflective and show all scratches
-There is a time delay between cabinet and bench top installation
$$$
Timber-This bench top gives a natural warm feel to your kitchen
-Can be used as a highlight piece when mixed with other bench top materials
-Relatively expensive natural product for a bench top compared to most other alternatives
-Timber surface of bench top can bruise easier than most other products
$$$

ENGINEERED STONE KITCHEN BENCHTOPS

 

Engineered stone is also know as Caesarstone, Silestone, Roxx, Iquartz, & Quantum Quartz. It’s a man made mixture of chipped up quartz stone and granite mixed with resins to bind the stone together and seal it off. There’s a large range of colours & patterns.

 

The product is abrasion proof, stain resistant but not as heatproof as natural granite.

 

Granite is often used in more classic looking kitchens, while engineered stone is used in more contemporary designs.

  • There is a good benchtop colour selection
  • Reasonable heat and impact resistance
  • Gives a contemporary look and feel
  • Depending on thickness price of these benchtops can almost compete with laminate
  • These are less heat and impact resistance than granite and stainless steel benchtops
  • Dark colours can look relatively flat when compared with granite
  • There is a time delay between cabinet and bench installation
  • Choosing thick bench tops can be relatively expensive

$$ – Mid-range / Good Value

NATURAL GRANITE KITCHEN BENCHTOPS

 

This is a natural stone kitchen benchtop with a high gloss finish that adds natural character to the kitchen, as well as standing up well to heat & abrasion. Granite can be sourced from many different countries.

 

Norway produces some of the highest priced granite because of the costs of mining & processing. It does not necessarily mean that the quality is higher. Some of the more affordable granites are beautiful & first grade.

 

Being a natural product there is variation in the colour & so you generally have to choose your own piece from the suppliers.

  • Some colour bench tops are very competitively priced
  • A good range of colour selection
  • Good heat and impact resistance from a benchtop
  • Some people find the benchtop surface too hard to work on
  • Some colours are very expensive
  • Light colour benchtops may show stains if not regularly resealed
  • Being natural stone, it can chip more easily than engineered stone
  • There is a time delay between cabinet and benchtop installation

$$$ – Towards the upper end of the range

ACRYLIC KITCHEN BENCHTOPS

 

Also known as Corian, Hi-Macs, Infinity. Acrylics have come a long way and they have a huge range of colours, patterns, even some clear acrylics.

 

Acryclic kitchen benchtops are moderately heat resistant but do have a tendency to scratch & mark more easily & has the advantage that it can be repaired in the event of impact damage, with scratches being buffed out.

 

They’re great for longer benchtops & going round corners, as the joins are not visible. Acrylic bench tops are a similar price to engineered stone.

  • There is a good selection of acrylic colour bench tops to choose from
  • Similar in price point to granite and engineered stone
  • Option of easily repairing or repolishing
  • Produces no visible joins so long bench tops are an option
  • Delay between cabinet and benchtop installation
  • Scratches more easily than stainless steel, concrete and stone bench tops
  • Can stain easily if it is a light benchtop colour, particularly white

$$ – Mid-range

HIGH PRESSURE LAMINATE KITCHEN BENCHTOPS

 

While these used to be the cheaper option with limited choices, modern high pressure laminate kitchen benchtops have changed significantly.

 

High pressure laminate is a hardwearing, stain & heat resistant product available in a wide range of colours & decors… mimicking wood, granite, concrete & engineered stone… Or you can just go for plain, simple colours to suit your decor.

  • durable
  • scratch resistant and nonporous, meaning it won’t stain
  • easily cleaned with warm, soapy water
  • comes in a wide range of different colours to suit all tastes
  • supplied in large panels, resulting in fewer or no seams on a larger wall run.
  • installation of an engineered stone backsplash must be done by a specialist
  • not a DIY job

$ – Cheapest of the kitchen benchtops

CONCRETE KITCHEN BENCHTOPS

 

Concrete is extremely versatile when used for a benchtop. One of its main advantages is the ability to form almost any shape, colour and thickness allowing each piece to be totally customised for the individual client.

 

Finishes range from an ultra modern sleek look through to a rustic character filled finish. For that special look, glass or other objects can be embedded to create something truly unique.

  • really unusual
  • great for leaving messages for the family or creating your own artwork
  • suitable for areas other than the cooktop area
  • can be slightly more difficult to clean
  • can’t use plastic magnets near a hot flame

$$ – Mid-range

STAINLESS STEEL KITCHEN BENCHTOPS

 

Stainless Steel tops are obviously very heat resistant and could be described as almost bullet proof. They can be very stylish as well as practical if the right profile and finish is chosen.

 

Stainless Steel benchtops will show scratches & marks, due to his reflectiveness, but over time this adds to the character  of the surface.

 

Stainless steel benchtops can be sourced in a variety of patterns and these are less likely to show scratches or reflect light to the same extent as brushed or polished stainless.

  • Available in a range of different bench top finishes
  • Very impact and heat resistant
  • Reasonably priced bench tops if used in straight runs
  • These can become an expensive alternative benchtop if side joins or welding is required
  • Brushed and polished stainless steel benchtops are highly reflective and show all scratches
  • There is a time delay between cabinet and bench top installation

$$$ – At the upper end of prices

TIMBER KITCHEN BENCHTOPS

 

Timber tops are typically laminated out of strips of solid timber before being finished with either oil or a two pot polyurethane product.

 

There are a wide variety of timbers available ranging from New Zealand natives to Australian and other more exotic overseas varieties. Some softer timbers such as Rimu can be prone to bruising while hardwoods can be extremely impact resistant.

 

If you use an oil finished product a regular application of oil is required but the advantage is any scratches or chips can easily be disguised. Some of the two pot finishes are extremely tough as you would have evidenced in their use in commercial bar and restaurant applications.

 

A good quality timber top tends to be at the top end of bench top pricing.

  • This bench top gives a natural warm feel to your kitchen
  • Can be used as a highlight piece when mixed with other bench top materials
  • Relatively expensive natural product for a bench top compared to most other alternatives
  • Timber surface of bench top can bruise easier than most other products

$$$ – At the upper price end