In the Spotlight: Stylish Splashbacks and Benchtops
In this article, Bernie suggests treating your kitchen to an affordable facelift by simply installing a new benchtop and/or splashback. It will revitalise a tired room and won’t break the bank.
Indeed a stylish benchtop is the first thing that will catch a person’s eye when they walk into a kitchen. With many benchtop options to choose from, the team at Ferrari Interiors are on hand to offer expert advice and give you access to the best suppliers.
Different types of benchtop materials
Engineered stone: An increasingly popular benchtop material is engineered stone, a man-made product that was created in the late 1980’s. The main component is quartz (one of nature’s strongest minerals) which is mixed with resin or polyester base.
- Low in maintenance
- Ultra hygienic
- High resistance to scratching & chipping
- High abrasion resistance
- High resistance to acids & oils
- Strong resistance to staining
- High flexural strength
- Heat resistant
Compared to natural stone, engineered stone is generally denser, more resilient and durable. It also requires less maintenance. It should be pointed out natural stone can be used outdoors, while engineered stone cannot.
Engineered stone is also often selected over marble as marble is more porous and must be sealed and extremely well maintained if you wish it to last your lifetime. In saying that, marble is smooth and cool to touch – a traditional favourite for rolling dough and making pastries especially amongst Italians and Greeks.
Granite: Granite is also a popular benchtop material. Polished granite is particularly elegant, durable and less subject to stains and scratches than other natural stones.
As granite is a natural product, colour and grain variation should be expected. It is preferable to choose your exact slab for your project.
Granite is costly but sculptured slabs of natural granite, give the appearance of museum quality artwork in your kitchen. Granite comes in two basic types: consistent and variegated. Except for occasional blotches of mica or feldspar, consistent granite exhibits the same pattern throughout the slab. Variegated granite has swirling patterns and colours that shift dramatically from slab to slab.
Laminate: For many years laminate has been the most in demand benchtop surface as it is more affordable than stone, but consequently not as long-lasting. It is easy to clean and you can choose from a diverse range of colours, patterns and textures ranging from satin smooth to pebbled, to textured matt and high gloss. There are also a whole series of edge details to set off your new designer laminate benchtop.
The latest development in laminate benchtops is square edges made by the post-form process. This results in no joins between the top of the bench and the sides – a benchtop that flows over the edge, and a laminate that won’t peel off the side.
To help increase the life span of your laminate benchtop, it is important not to rest hot items or cut on it directly. It is also best to avoid using abrasive cream cleansers that will leave scratches. If you maintain your laminate benchtop properly, you should get about 10 years out of it.
‘High pressure’ laminates such as LAMINEX are most popular for benchtops.
Alternative benchtop surfaces include:
- Corian – blend of high performance acrylic and natural minerals, seamless joins, hygienic and stain resistant. Comes in 90 colours and with a ten year DuPont warranty
- Marble – smooth and cool to touch, traditional favourite for rolling dough and making pastries but lacks durability, difficult to upkeep
- Quartz – the superman of stone, strong, extremely hygienic and stylish
- Tile – made from various materials and often features beautiful designs
- Timber – adds character and warmth to a kitchen
- Stainless Steel – extremely popular with chefs, sink bowls can be welded into the bench top creating a seamless finish, also hygienic and easy to clean but is not scratch resistant and will show up smudges
Installing a splashback is also a great way to rejuvenate a kitchen. Splashbacks are constructed for the wall areas around benchtops and are normally 400-500mm high. They need to be made from a sturdy material that is easy to clean such as;
- Stainless Steel
- Same material as benchtop, e.g. Corian, Granite
Glass splash backs are the most popular. They make a big impact in a room and come in a range of hues and patterns.
For a complimentary interior design consultation and to enjoy cost savings on benchtops and splashbacks please contact Ferrari Interiors on 0417088602.