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Granite Benchtops:

Granite benchtops remain a favourite for those who want the elegant look of natural stone. It’s one of the hardest materials available and, if cared for properly, can look good for many years. Pros: Comes in beautiful colours; very durable; difficult to scratch. Cons: Porous; has joins; colours and patterns can differ from the showroom sample. Cost: Relatively expensive. Usually around the same price as engineered stone, slightly cheaper than solid surface, but much more expensive than laminate. Tips: Go to the fabricator’s workshop and choose the actual slab before its installed as it may look very different from the showroom sample.

Engineered Stone Benchtops:

Engineered stone is made of quartz or granite granules, marble dust or glass chips mixed with a resin or polyester base. It includes the brand names CaesarStone and SmartStone. It’s a relatively new product but its appearance and durability have made it a popular choice. Pros: Doesn’t have to be sealed; large variety of colours and patterns; difficult to scratch. Cons: More expensive than some other materials; uniform look isn’t for everyone. Cost: Generally around the same price as granite, depending on the style you choose.

Marble Benchtops:

There’s a reason that marble counters are generally found in bathrooms rather than kitchens. While it may look classic and beautiful, marble lacks the durability of granite and has a tendency to stain and scratch. Pros: Good surface for rolling dough and making pastry; looks good. Cons: Not scratch or stain-resistant; not as durable as granite; requires regular resealing; is sensitive to acidic foods and some cleaners. Cost: Marble is usually more expensive than granite or engineered. Tips: You may want to put a marble inset into a benchtop of another material for rolling pastry, but this will create joins where dirt can be trapped.

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