Things are progressing in our kitchen demo. My husband Mark is one of those good Kiwi DIY blokes, and quite a handyman, so he is doing as much of the labour as possible. This includes removing the old kitchen cabinets, gib, skirts etc. He has to do this in the weekends as he's a bank manager during the week, but we're trying to keep the bare basics as long as possible - the oven (although I'm looking forward to saying goodbye to this old girl), the sink, the pantry, and one set of cupboards. Soon our builder will come in to insulate and put up nice new gib. We're really happy with the new kitchen plans, but we are still trying to decide on the bench tops, these are our options...
I've always had Laminate bench tops, but not this time. The advantage of Laminate is that it's the most cost effective option, but in our case it would be a bit like wearing jandals with an evening gown! Another reasonably priced bench top is stainless steel. This can look great, especially if you like the industrial look, but it's not quite what I'm after.
Natural stone (below) - marble or granite - is gorgeous, but is likely to be on the more expensive side. It's also quite unforgiving with knocks ending in breakages for your plates and glasses - not great when our kids are doing the dishes.
Engineered stone (below) is what I'm leaning towards. Caesarstone, Silestone, Prime Stone, Quantum Quartz etc are made up of approximately 90% crushed Quartz stone bound together by a polymer resin. They're known to be more resilient than marble or granite, and their non-porous qualities means that they're very hygienic. It comes in a wide range of colours, and I've found one that has a 'marble-like' look.
The other option I have been considering is an acrylic bench top - Corian, Kalon, Hi-Macs... These are made of acrylic resin and can be coloured and shaped as you like. They're generally formed in one piece, so are seamless, even if you continue it into the sink and as a splash back. It's easy to repair if you damage a small area, rather than having to replace, so lots of advantages. The only thing that's holding me back is that it can look quite "plasticy' and shiny, and can scratch more easily than stone.
Concrete is a cool industrial option. It can also be expensive, and can stain if not resealed regularly. I've seen some amazing examples of concrete benches, but it's not on the shortlist for our kitchen.
Last, but not least, I really like the look of wood bench tops. They're a nice way to introduce warmth and texture, and you can also choose a plywood, which is very cost effective. Because we have wooden floorboards, and some smaller wood touches in the kitchen, I'm wanting a lighter coloured bench, so we won't be going with wood either.
I will let you know when we make our decision, but would also love to hear your thoughts and recommendations. Do you have a bench that you love? If so, tell me all about it.