Benchtops and Sinks

Benchtops and Sinks

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Today a growing number of materials are available for your benchtop and therefore selecting the kitchen worktop surface for your new kitchen can be a little confusing.  Choosing which material and style suits you and your kitchen is often defined by your budget.  If in doubt, ask for quotes for more than one option to be included in your overall kitchen quote as options.

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Deciding what material to use is only the beginning however, as many additional decisions then have to be made:

What edging profiles are available in that material?  Which of these do you like best?

  • Would you like an upstand on your benchtop?  Waterfall ends?  Breakfast bar?

  • How thick would you like your benchtop to be?

  • Do you prefer the quality and visual impact of natural stone or the simple functionality of stainless steel?  Laminate benchtops offer an almost bewildering array of colours and designs that can help you create a feature in your kitchen.

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•    Consider using different heights on the benchtop between breakfast bar and work area, or recesses within the bench for the sink and/or condiments or decorative items.

•    If installing an island or standalone bench projecting from the wall, consider using taller cabinetry to make a wall to hide the work area behind whilst still being open to the rest of the room.

•    Be aware that some benchtops require templating to shape the benchtop to fit a particular space properly and if this is the case then there may need to be a temporary benchtop to bridge the time span.  Ask how long it will be before your new templated benchtop is installed and ready to go.

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High Pressure Laminate (HPL) is traditionally the most commonly used kitchen benchtop material.  It is available in a wide range of colours, patterns, textures and finishes. The development of new benchtop products such as Engineered Stone has had a positive influence on the laminate industry.  New laminates are being launched in similar colours and patterns, providing added depth and texture for a new luxurious look. Better abrasion resistant surfaces are being engineered to provide improved wear and scratch resistance. And a wider range of edge finishes can be achieved, such as tight radius bending “Tight-Roll” simulating an Engineered Stone edge appearance.

HPL is comparatively inexpensive, is non-porous, resists staining and is easy to clean. Although the surface is less scratch resistant than others, with normal care the benchtop will last for many years.  

Solid Surface is a composite product which uses acrylic and/or polyester polymers as its main component and includes colorants and stone chips to create a homogenous, non-porous surface. The surface is less scratch, heat and stain resistant, but is easier to repair and is also reasonably priced.

Natural Stone is a top choice for your kitchen benchtop, with Granite as the most commonly used material.  Chosen for its stunning looks, proven durability and lasting value. Granite worktops are available in polished and matte finishes, are scratch and wear resistant but require sealing to prevent staining, and come in a range of price levels.   

Engineered Stone is a composite product which uses granite chips as its main component and adds resins to create a uniform stone surface. It is non-porous, has good scratch, heat and stain resistant properties and does not require additional sealing, but is more expensive.

Stainless Steel is highly durable, heat and stain resistant but does scratch (although the patina of scratches gives depth to the surface over time and they come to provide a character to the benchtop). Mid-range in price, Stainless gives a kitchen a strong, modern and functional feel.

Concrete is strong, malleable, heat and scratch resistant but requires sealing to prevent staining. It’s heavy, so requires good bracing, but gives a kitchen a strong bold statement and fits with modern decors.

Care should always be taken whatever the worktop surface product you choose. Ask your benchtop manufacturer or kitchen designer for advice before choosing your benchtop material.

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Sinks

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Who would have realised just how much thought has to go into choosing a sink?

 

  • How deep would you like it to be? How large?
  • What shape – round, square or rectangular?
  • One bowl or two?  Drainer or not? Over or under mounted?
  • Consider installing a second sink – to be used either as a backup sink during cooking or cleaning, or for specific purposes, such as in a service area for coffee making.