What does your kitchen benchtop say about your home?The kitchen is one of the most important rooms for any family. It’s where we break bread, nourish ourselves, and enjoy meals and conversation with our friends and loved ones. And if your kitchen is old, dingy, or dark, it can negatively impact your family’s experience (not to mention your home’s resale value). But we don’t all have money for a complete kitchen remodel – or if you do, you may not know where to start or where to focus. A great place to put your attention? The benchtop. Getting a new, updated kitchen benchtop can not only increase your resale value, but also instantly freshen up your kitchen without breaking the bank. Here are your options and the important details to keep in mind.
What are the top kitchen benchtop options?First thing’s first: what are your kitchen benchtop material options, and what are the pros and cons of each choice? Our top picks include granite, marble, and Stellastone®. Why? We’ll break down each option for you right now.
Granite benchtopsA strong and beautiful natural stone, granite is one of the most popular kitchen benchtop materials thanks to its:
- Stunning variety of colours and styles to choose from
- Easy-to-maintain surface, which just needs to be cleaned with soap and water
- Durability against abrasion, stains, bacteria, heat and acid
- Versatility, as it can look both modern and classic
- Availability in either polished or brushed (leathered, matt) finish.
Marble benchtopsIn the same vein, marble is a timeless, elegant, and luxurious natural stone option that’s often used thanks to its variety of colour and pattern options. That said, if you’re looking for a super low-maintenance option, marble may not be the choice for you. It can require more significant upkeep than the other options because the mineral content of marble is the same as the limestone it came from, and both of these stones are made of calcite, (calcium carbonate). Calcite is also chemically reactive with common acids, such as those found in lemonade, wine, and colas. When acidic liquids land on a marble slab, a tiny amount of the stone is dissolved, or “etched.” This doesn’t affect the integrity of the stone, but it does leave a slight change in the lustre of the stone. On a polished stone, an etch looks like an unpolished area. Etches can be polished out, or they can be left alone and considered part of the natural patina that marble will acquire over time. A common misconception is that marble is more porous than granite. The metamorphism that bakes the stone also knits the minerals together tightly. Porosity for marble is similar for that of granite. That said, the porosity of all stones varies, so check the stone specs and do your own tests with a sample of stone. Using a good quality impregnator sealer on marbles can reduce the likelihood of staining, however it does not make marble any less prone to etching.
Stellastone®Stellastone® is an engineered stone made by mixing natural quartz and with space-age polyresins and pigments. It’s available in a large range of colours and patterns, and it’s appreciated by many families thanks to its:
- Ability to deliver brighter whites and uniform patterns.
- Heat resistance
- Scratch, and spill resistance
- Variety of colour options
What are the most important characteristics of a great kitchen benchtop?
#1. DurabilityThe first thing you should consider is your kitchen benchtop’s durability. Kitchens take a lot of day-in, day-out abuse as you chop things, place heavy bowls, lug up grocery bags, cook, clean, and more. That doesn’t even cover any impact that could come from children running around, spills, and things falling on the counter. If you have a hectic lifestyle – or you think you might at some point in the future – then benchtop durability should be top of mind
#2. Heat resistanceAgain, if you’re cooking, cleaning, and working with a lot of pots and pans in your kitchen, it’s important that your benchtop has significant heat and burn resistance. Otherwise, you could end up with divots, burn marks, or melting on your counter (and once you have these issues, they’re nearly impossible to fix seamlessly). Materials like granite have a greater heat resistance than their engineered counterparts. Stellastone® will offer a milder heat resistance. Use of heat trivets on any of the products are highly recommended. Why tempt fate.
#3. BeautyNext, you’ll want to consider the aesthetic appeal of your countertop. What is your home’s overall aesthetic? Do you want your kitchen to look bright, sleek, modern, classic? These are important considerations to keep in mind when choosing your benchtop, as your benchtop will play a huge part in setting the tone for your space. Marble, for example, is known for its unique beauty and luxurious appearance and many of the granites have unique patterns which can make great statement pieces. Stellastone can provide a more uniform approach.
#4. ColourYou will also want to consider the colour options that you’re looking for. Marble and Granite, for example, can come in various colours. Granite is also available in dark tones, medium tones, and light tones. Click on the links to see the colours. “Help, I can’t choose a colour” >>> Click here for the best stone benchtop colours
#5. MaintenanceFinally, it’s important to consider the amount of maintenance that each benchtop material requires, and to pick the material that works best with your lifestyle. Marble, on one end of the spectrum, is a high-maintenance, luxury material best suited for people that aren’t particularly prone to spilling on their counters or scratching them. Granite and Stellastone, on the other hand, are more durable benchtop options.
How can I find a reliable kitchen benchtop installer?As we mentioned, the kitchen is the heart of the home – and the benchtop is the heart of the kitchen. It’s important, then, that your benchtop is professionally installed and built to last. You will want to find a professional with:
- The right qualifications (to help secure you against any unforeseen issues or fraud)
- Special skills and specialisation needed to get the job done right
- Reasonable and honest pricing