Aside from the stove, the benchtop is probably one of the most utilized areas in your kitchen. It’s where you do a lot of chopping and slicing and everything else when preparing meals. On top of it also set the toaster, coffee maker, blender, and other appliances you use almost on the daily. You simply can’t live without it.
You always want your home to look its best, and when building a kitchen or planning a renovation, it could be extremely tempting to base your design choices on looks alone. This criterion isn’t ideal when it comes to benchtops, though. What good is a gorgeous-looking counter when it does not serve its purpose? Or when it takes too much time to clean and maintain? It’s not just about matching the décor but finding the right mix between form and function.
Choosing a kitchen benchtop
With all the styles and designs available in the market today, picking the most suitable one for your home can be overwhelming. Here are practical tips to help you arrive at a decision you won’t regret in the future.
1. Set a budget
Ask yourself how much you would be willing to spend. A fixed amount will not only help narrow down your options but will also ensure your home improvement expenses don’t go beyond what you can afford.
2. Function is essential
Assess your lifestyle and how you’re going to use the kitchen. Ask yourself these questions:
- Will you have guests most of the time?
- How often will you cook?
- Are you fussy about cleaning, and will you have the time to do it?
- Do you have toddlers who are likely to make a mess?
By answering these questions, you will have a pretty good idea on what benchtop material would be most appropriate.
Below are the common benchtop types:
• Laminate is a popular choice among homeowners because it is very budget friendly and is offered in various designs and colors. But then, it isn’t as durable as the others. If you inadvertently put a hot pan on top of it, the surface will get scorched, damaging the benchtop. It is also prone to scratches.
• Wood will add a homey and warm ambiance to your kitchen space. As a natural material, it is easy to integrate into any décor. While a laminate countertop doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, a wooden one needs regular sanding and sealing because its porous surface easily absorbs spills and stains.
• Marble is hard to beat when it comes to creating an air of luxury to your kitchen, but you will have to pay more to have it installed. Italian marble, which can only be bought from select suppliers like Euro Marble, is of very high quality but can be particularly expensive. Similar to wood, it is natural and has to be sealed periodically.
• Granite, like marble, is made of natural stone but is more scratch and stain resistant. It is available in shades of white, black, beige, coral, and green. The prices of granite kitchen benchtops vary, depending on finish, color, and quality.
• Quartz is also known as engineered stone. Material-wise, it is the “new kid on the block” but is forecasted to replace granite in popularity. It is durable and possesses a luxurious appearance. Because it is not porous, it stands up well to acidic liquids like tomato juice and vinegar.
• Stainless steel is for you if you find contemporary styles appealing. The most attractive quality of this material is hassle-free cleaning and maintenance.
• Concrete is versatile because its color and finish can be customized. However, it is quite sensitive to sudden changes in temperature, and acid spills can easily stain it. To prevent this from happening, seal and wax the surface four times a year.
3. Size matters
Benchtops are sold in slabs of various sizes and thickness. Pick one that you can use comfortably. For example, if you want a work surface in your kitchen that is continuously smooth and free of joins, go for the oversized slabs.
4. Don’t forget about aesthetics
Having whittled down your choices to a select few, you can now put your home design taste to good use. Soft, neutral tones are on trend these days, as are textured finishes and veined surfaces that exhibit character. Not a few homeowners are going for the industrial look achieved by concrete, and designers predict that timeless marble will never go out of style.
Whether you’re a minimalist or prefer the comfy vibe of a country-style space, there is a kitchen benchtop right for you. It’s just a matter of knowing what the pros and cons are and deciding which ones you can work with in terms of cost, durability, function, and style.