There are a wide range of different benchtops around………. so which benchtop should you buy. Here are some thoughts about the options.
Probably the most popular benchtop available in a wide range of colours and patterns and reasonably hardwearing. Just don’t get one with a textured finish. We made that mistake once, never again.
Wide range of colours and sizes, a few problems are; a not very even surface, dealing with the exposed tile edges, and keeping the grouted joints clean.
Can look good but will tend to suffer chips and dents. Can stain easily especially around the sink. Requires a lot of maintenance to keep its looks.
A natural stone which can look very attractive. For kitchen benchtops its big problem is that it is porous and not very acid resistance. Any breakdown of the surface sealant will result in staining which is nearly impossible to remove.
Available in a wide range of Colours including light greys. Being less porous than marble staining is less of a problem. Matching can be a problem if a piece is damaged during installation so its best installed by professionals to get the jointing right.
This covers a wide range of materials. Basically it is consists of natural stone chips, which are mixed with some binding agent to form a stone like surface. The binder can be anything from cement, to polymers, and epoxy resins. Very resistant to stains and is available in a wide range of colours and can usually be easily matched. Very durable, but usually more expensive than a natural stone like granite.
The standard choice for commercial kitchens because its easy to clean. Currently more of a fashion statement, which isn’t for everybody. Will probably look dated as another look replaces the commercial look.
One issue I have found with the stone type products is that they are much noisier when you put plates down. Not too good for me as the kitchen is next to the bedroom, and I get up over an hour before my wife.
On cost I would choose laminex but for a more classy look it would be either granite or one of the engineered stones.
Before you make a decision remember that you shouldn’t cut food directly on a benchtop. Always cut it on either a wooden or plastic cutting board, other wise you will damage your knives and/or the benchtop.