Dear readers, thanks for dropping by. Kindly note that I have migrated all these posts to my new blog All Things Cozy and Homely . I will blog at the new site from Jan 15 onwards.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


For homeowners who are still not sure which kitchen countertop to choose from, Laminex Group provides a very comprehensive guide for Kitchen benchtops. The following information extracted from their website should help you in making the right decision.

Laminate High Pressure Laminate (HPL) remains a popular choice for benchtops. Thanks to advances in printing technology, you can now have access to a myriad of stunning, stylish and contemporary looks in a cost-effective way compared with other benchtop surfaces. With hundreds of decors available, including solid colours, woodgrains, modern abstracts and real stone patterns, the potential to achieve your desired design style is easy. HPL is formed around a thick substrate to make a laminate benchtop, which can deliver profiles from bullnose to more contemporary slab-like stone looks. You can also enhance your look with a range of finishes from textured to high gloss.
Plus, a range of edging options including laminate, ABS and acrylic products offer the flexibility to create a colour matched square-edge without the traditional black line, to complete the look. 

Compact Laminates Compact Laminate is a thicker version of HPL. Typically around 13mm thick, it can be decorated on one or both faces. It’s thickness means that panels are strong, self-supporting, moisture resistant, and durable. When it comes to edging, compact laminate features a distinctive black core which also serves as a unique design feature particularly when a sleek modern industrial look is desired. 

Engineered Stone Engineered stone is a desirable material for many kitchen applications based on its durability, stain resistance, choice of modern colours and a variety of edge profiles. The product is a composite material made of small to medium pieces of stone bound together by resins. The main ingredient is generally natural quartz or marble that can vary depending on the brand and quality of engineered stone. It’s generally fabricated and installed by a stonemason. 

Natural Stone For a premium natural stone benchtop, there are a number of materials available including granite, marble, limestone and soapstone. You can also choose between several edge treatments including full or half bull-nosed, pencil edged or bevelled. A stonemason fabricates the benchtop with specialised cutting and finishing equipment.

Polished Concrete Concrete is a tailor-made material that’s practical and aesthetic at the same time. And the opportunities for creative expression are many. It starts as a formless, watery mixture, which you can transform into virtually any solid shape you desire. You can then grind, polish, stamp or stain it.

Acrylic Solid Surfaces Solid surfaces are manufactured from a coloured acrylic and, on occasion, polyester resin. An acrylic benchtop tradesperson fabricates the sheets, which can also be formed to create curves and organic shapes as part of the benchtop design. They can also be routered for 
functionality or design detailing. 

Solid Timber Solid timber benchtops are manufactured from blocks of natural timber and coated with several layers of clear high-gloss lacquer. You can choose from a variety of profi les including pencil round, bull-nose, and colonial. Overall the look offers a natural richness and depth with toning dependant on the timber species.

Stainless Steel Stainless steel doesn’t corrode, rust or stain like regular steel. An alloy combination of chromium and iron, it comes in various grades and types so when you’re looking to add stainless steel to your kitchen, it’s important to choose a grade that will suit the use it’s intended for.  
Glass Glass benchtops offer a unique look with a touch of class. Common glass types include crafted, tempered, etched and textured. Each can be finished with mirror gloss or frosted/sandblasted surfaces to stunning effect, but regular cleaning may be required to keep marks and fingerprints 
under control."

My Thoughts
Out of so many materials, I only have hands on experience for laminate top and acrylic solid surface.
With proper care, I realized that laminate top can last for many years. They will chip when subjected to hard knocks and and also mold if the environment is damp. As for acrylic solid surface, I would recommend using dark colored solid surfaces since light colored solid surfaces stain very easily. 
Nonetheless, for my next benchtop, I would like to try natural stones such as granite or marble.

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