Choosing a benchtop is like choosing your child’s name

Guess what, your bench top says a lot about who you are. As you know, we love benchtops, we know a lot about them, and we are here to help you look at all the options. Ultimately it comes down to who you are, how you like to cook, live and what you like to look at!

Modern kitchen bench top

Choosing a benchtop is like choosing your child’s name: it needs to be easy to use, robust and fit for purpose, and ultimately suit the family because you are going to have it for a while.

Before we get into the nitty gritty of the options, there are some up front fun things to think about.

Your choice will depend on your budget, lifestyle, style preferences and your maintenance requirements. You should consider how porous the material is, how heat resistant it is and how hard-wearing it is. Consider your cooking habits, who will use the space and the overall style of your kitchen. Easy huh!! Don’t be afraid we will guide you through.

In this blog we discuss natural or engineered stone…..let’s go!

Engineered or natural?

Stone, either engineered or natural is one of the most popular modern benchtop options. Whether you choose to have a natural stone, like Granite or Marble, or an engineered stone will depend on your budget, lifestyle and style preferences. 

Engineered Stone

Engineered Stone is made from crushed quartz held together with polymer resin and is available in a variety of colours and finishes. Brands in New Zealand include Caesarstone, Silestone and Quantum Quartz. It is sold by the slab, which limits it’s length to 3000mm. Engineered stone is non-porous and unlike it’s natural counterparts doesn’t need on-going maintenance.

It’s heat resistant and resistant to stains and scratches, but it can chip, so think about designing your kitchen to avoid chipped edges as much as possible. Engineered stone benchtops may contain silica and precautions need to be taken during installation.

Engineered stone offers a luxurious appearance usually at a lower price point than natural stone. Since it is made from a mix of aggregates and resins, engineered stone is available in solid colours, mixed colours, and with additional flecks, so a suitable look can be found for any kitchen.

Natural Stone

If you are looking for beauty, natural stone is hard to beat! Since it’s a natural product, each slab is unique, so be warned – your slab will probably not look like the showroom sample.

Marble and granite are the most popular natural stone products, but offer quite different advantages. Marble is popular with enthusiastic cooks (it’s perfect for rolling out pastry), but it’s a softer stone and is therefore very porous, especially with things like red wine, vinegar, coffee and spices.

Marble requires more maintenance than most benchtop materials and is also one of the more expensive options. Granite is a much stronger stone and as such granite benchtops are much less porous, more scratch resistant, chip resistant and heat resistant.

Available in a variety of colours, granite is relatively easy to maintain. Like marble, granite is one of the more expensive benchtop options. Both granite and marble are made from solid slabs of stone, which will limit benchtop size.

How we can help...

When making your choice of kitchen benchtop start by considering your cooking habits, your lifestyle and the overall style of your kitchen. Discuss the pros and cons of different material with your kitchen designer.

At Wanaka Joinery we work with you to understand your preferences and can recommend the best benchtop for you – stone or otherwise!  Give Chris a call to discuss your new kitchen design, including your new kitchen benchtop.