As both a cook and a designer I often get asked about which materials are best for kitchen benchtops. My answer is always honed marble (my personal favourite varieties are statuary or Carrara) or soapstone. I really enjoy their mellow appearance set against the polished fixtures of my kitchen and its semigloss-painted cabinets.
Benchtop Options to Avoid
Here are some benchtop options to avoid
Concrete has many disadvantages, some of which can be extremely expensive and time consuming. Concrete must be sealed or it can be damaged by water. If it does get wet, not only will it stain, it may also harbour bacteria, making it unsanitary and dangerous to prepare food on. Concrete benchtops are also rather expensive, and can cost more than granite countertops.
Despite its outdated appearance, Laminate benchtops are still found in many homes today. However, because it is less durable than other benchtop materials and can be damaged by common kitchen items and liquids, it is a poor option for the long term.
Because Laminate is primarily compromised of wood, it can warp over time and ruin the benchtop. The exterior layer of Laminate can detach from its wood base if exposed to liquids and steam over time. This means that laminate in the bathroom is highly discouraged.
Lastly, because of its low price and wide availability, it does not add resale value to the home.
Solid Surface Benchtop
Solid Surfaces are another benchtop option to avoid. Made of acrylic polymer, it is prone to damage from heat.
It’ll require more maintenance than natural stones like granite and marble. Cracks and scratches in Solid Surfaces are inevitable and permanent.
Size is a factor as well. Slabs of Solid Surfaces are also only 30” wide, so large islands, peninsulas, and unique shapes will require visible seams. Solid Surfaces are quite expensive, especially considering its limited lifespan.
Butchers Block Benchtop
Butcher’s block is another benchtop material that has some significant disadvantages.
Wood benchtops must be sealed or water and other liquids can seep in, weakening its composition and creating a perfect storm for bacteria growth.
Since wood is softer than natural stones, or even tile, it is more susceptible to dents and scratches, especially around sinks. Although butcher’s block is typically thought of as a cutting board, it is remarkably easy to permanently scratch. These abrasions can be sanded out, however it is a time consuming process.
Now that we’ve covered benchtop options to avoid, here are the materials most recommend as durable kitchen and bathroom surfaces:
• Granite Benchtop
• Quartz Benchtop
• Marble Benchtop
• And Quartzite Benchtop
To learn more about these materials, contact the team at StoneTech, who can help you and answer every question related to benchtops.