Selecting the perfect benchtop material can be a fantastic challenge. There are many opinions and insights, and it is often difficult to realize the truth. At Stone Connection Australia, our observation is three main decision makers. The first priority is finding the perfect colour. Second is making the selection fit the budget. The third element, that we at Stone Connection Australia feel should be the most important, is function.
For surfaces, the market’s main choices are natural stone, engineered stone and laminated type finishes. Natural stone and engineered are the most comparable for both price and function, and both have different pros and cons.
With bench-tops, the main function is protecting the cabinets. Aside from function, with kitchen and bath design, the bench surfaces are the most beneficial in adding value. The reason for this is that bench-tops are the crowning jewel for both adding individuality and drawing attention. For example, a made in China cabinet and Italian import are difficult to distinquish until finding the brand name and seeing the interior construction. Benches sit proudly on top for everyone to view. By being such a critical design feature, it is also important to select a product that will withstand the test of time and keep your project beautiful for years to come.
For selecting, we outline what to expect from each product:
Granite is the most enduring product for durability. It is highly scratch resistant, heat resistant and natural. If you examine tops made 20-years past, they will still look brand new. Granite is suitable for both inside and outside use. Today granite is available in hundreds of colours and can easily suit any design. The cost can range from very affordable to expensive. The cost is based primarily on supply and demand.
Marble, travertine and limestone are very classic and beautiful. Featured in most magazines, they are very popular choices. However, there are some downfalls to using. Marble, limestone and travertine are soft and will react to acidity. If used in a high traffic area (i.e. kitchen), these products should be honed. This will aid in not seeing wear as a full polish will project any scratches and polish burn from acid (lemons, vinegar, etc..). All three are porous products, but with proper sealing stains can be avoided. Direct contact with extreme heat and use as a cutting surface should be avoided. Again cost can range from low to extremely high based upon supply and demand.
Engineered stone. Although Stone Connection does not sell engineered products, we will admit they are highly suitable for many purposes and are popular. The main benefit of engineered products is ease of fabrication and selection. Being man-made they are very uniform. When using engineered stone, it will show wear after years of use unlike granite, are not suited for cutting or extreme heat. Last, use outside should be avoided. Because engineered stone is composed of resin and not natural, the UV rays of the sun will discolour the composition with exposure. For cost, it is related more to manufacture marketing vs. supply and demand. Most products are made with exactly the same process and machines but just vary by country of origin.
Hopefully this insight benefit you when deciding on your choice of Benchtop. To personally view our natural stone selection of granite, marble, onyx, travertine, limestone, slate and sandstone tiles and slabs, our showroom is open to the public. Located a short drive south-west of Sydney we are located at 96-100 Canterbury Rd, Bankstown, NSW 2200. Showroom hours are Monday- Friday 8am- 5pm, Saturdays 10am- 2pm.