One of the most important design decisions in new kitchen designs is the benchtop. Our Melbourne customers often request stone benchtops for its perceived durability and aesthetics. There are many advantages to selecting a stone benchtop for your new kitchen, however, not all stone is the same.
Stone Benchtops Melbourne
A stone benchtop adds solidity, a sense of drama, and a lot of sophistication to a kitchen. Investing in a stone benchtop will also add value to your kitchen and will impress potential buyers if you plan to sell your home.
Many people at first don’t realise that a stone benchtop can refer to natural stone, like marble, granite or quartz, and engineered stone. Not only is there a significant price difference between real stone and engineered stone, there are some other important design and care differences between the two.
Natural stone comes in a variety of types; marble, soapstone, quartzite, granite and more. Stone adds an organic solidity and beauty to a kitchen that cannot be beaten. It also comes in many different colours and textures. Because stone is natural, every piece is different and your kitchen bench will be unlike any other.
The pros & cons of natural stone
Some designers advise against natural stone for busy family kitchens which get a lot of use and are regularly subject to spills, knocks and scrapes. Although stone is hard wearing, it can chip, and wine, tea, coffee and harsh chemicals will stain the surface. This is no reason to rule out a natural stone benchtop, however. For kitchens that are not subject to regular spills and accidents, and for people who are less fussy, natural stone is a perfect choice. It looks beautiful and will be hard wearing for many years.
If you decide to invest in a natural stone benchtop, it is important to get advice on the most suitable type of stone. Depending on its composition, natural stone will wear differently and will vary in how porous and soft it is. Different colours and surfaces will respond differently to oil and spills. For example, dark stone may show less blemishes than lighter coloured surfaces, and honed and highly polished surfaces will also react differently.
Care for your natural stone benchtop
Because natural stone is porous, it should always be sealed. The seal will make the stone more resistant to stains. A natural stone benchtop should also be regularly re sealed – about once or twice a year – to keep it looking good.
Clean your natural stone benchtop using warm soapy water. Never use harsh chemicals or bleach, and always wipe up any spills immediately.
The price of a natural stone benchtop will vary, depending on the type and the size of the piece required. If a natural stone benchtop is outside your budget, we generally recommend engineered stone, as a cheaper stone benchtop alternative.
Engineered Stone & Caesarstone
Engineered stone was invented in the 1980s and is made from quartz, mixed with polymer resins and organic pigments. Ceasarstone is hard wearing and not porous, making it ideal for busy kitchens and for those who want to keep their kitchen benchtop looking as good as new. Engineered stone benchtops are generally cheaper than natural stone.
The pros & cons of Caesarstone
Caesarstone makes engineered stone benchtops. There are a wide choice of Caesarstone colours, patterns and textures, but unlike natural stone it has a much more uniform pattern and colour. The natural mineral quartz base makes Caesarstone a lot stronger than natural stone. It is more resistant to spills, heat, scratches and household chemicals.
An advantage of an engineered stone benchtop is that it can be cut to any shape and comes in a choice of profiles (from 3mm to 20 and 30mm slabs, and laminated double thickness edges).
Although Caesarstone is hard wearing, regular maintenance will keep it looking great. To clean, simply wipe your benchtops with warm soapy water. Don’t use harsh chemicals or anything abrasive on your benchtop. Always wipe up spills immediately, particularly turmeric, wine, pumpkin, and permanent markers. Avoid nail polish remover, hot pans and oil based cleaners and scourers.
Buying a stone benchtop
If you are designing a new custom kitchen Exact Cabinets will design and professionally install your new stone benchtop. We source all your materials and will even organise all trades to get the job done sooner. For more information about new kitchen designs in Melbourne, contact us or visit our custom kitchens Melbourne showroom in Kilsyth.
To find out more about getting high quality custom kitchen and cabinet makers Melbourne to design your new kitchen, talk to us.