“THE SKINNY” on your Kitchen & Bath Counters… A Designer FAQ

Marble Kitchen Countertops In Classic Modern Style Kitchen

 

Quartz counters in a fresh and modern style with a chunky side return in pure white.

 “The SKINNY” be aware trends cost

NATURAL

STONE

Not much beats natural stone for its beauty, natural variance and structure / integrity. While granite is the strongest, marble is the current design darlingfor its subtle elegance, sophistication and connotations to the past. Both materials are heat resistant and are recyclable.  Stone also offers a sustainable advantage, particularly with a local stone such as bluestone. Relatively new to the market is enameled lavastone, which can be custom coloured. A porous, natural material, stone needs sealing when it’s installed. Provided you clean with just warm water, sealers last three to five years, if not longer. Conversely, you can let the stains redefine the material, “building character over time”, suggests architect Harley Vincent, of Hassell in Melbourne Honed surfaces which highlight the stone’s natural beauty and improved high-performance sealers are leading to a resurgence of interest in the use of stone From $100/sqm for floor tiles and $500/sqm installed for counters.

ENGINEERED

STONE

A favourite for many in the kitchen, composite stone materials such as caesarstone and Smartstone offer the look of stone without the maintenance or cost. Made from more human-made materials and quartz with a resin base, they’re highly durable, resist heat, stains and scratches, and afford a range of interesting edge profiles. Textured surfaces with the look and feel of natural stone are now an option such as Stone Italiana’s ‘Jaipur’. Edges are also more likely to chip than stone. New semiprecious stone aggregates, like Caesarstone’s ‘Aragonite’ from the Concetto Collection, are greatly increasing the scope for interesting design possibilities with vivid colours and naturally formed crystal clusters Caesarstone ‘ Classico’, from $500/sqm installed

CONCRETE

Concrete inspires a passionate following as a material with both strength and a sense of craftsmanship, with each countertop being completely unique. Concrete has personality…anything that goes a little bit wrong with it adds more character. Similar to natural stone, concrete is a porous material and will require regular sealing. You will also need to take into account its extra weight when planning your cabinetry. Also…it DOES stain so be aware. Concrete counter tops can be inlaid with aggregate, glass, metal and more, for a bespoke finish, and can be custom coloured. From $400/sqm(up to 50mm) to $2000/sqm(over 50mm), plus around $900 for installation. BUT YOU CAN DO THIS ONE YOURSELVES!

STAINLESS

STEEL

Sexy, modern and very “restaurant” pro looking…stainless steel creates an exciting tactile contrast. Aside from its sleek, reflective good looks, it’s long been a favourite with chefs as a hygienic, heat resistant, tough-as-nails countertop that can wrap seamlessly up the wall as a splashback. Before the stainless steel develops a patina, scratches will be obvious. Oiling the counter with olive oil will keep the surface in top condition. Sandblasting the surface creates a wonderfully rich patina that hides scratches. The counter becomes warm and welcoming. From $400 per lineal metre, with $700 per integrated bowl.

ACRYLIC

RESIN

For easy maintenance, fluidity and design flexibility, select acrylic resins, such as Corian or Marblo. These engineered materials can be moulded to fit any space and seamlessly fused with splashbacks and sinks to read as one material, which also makes cleaning easy. Non-porous, there’s no sealing required and they’re anti-bacterial to boot. Being plastic, albeit with a lot of minerals included, these surfaces can become scratched or chipped easily but are also able to be sanded back and re-polished. Intense  colours may fade. These surfaces can be carved and etched for individual effect or back lit or under-lit to give a sexy, spa feeling. Corian/resin $ 500. plus per sq meter, from $750 installed.

LAMINATE

Once the poorer cousin, laminates have been revived by the major innovations in printing technology, with credible mimics of practically any natural material now on offer. Light, functional and tough, it’s their price that also makes them look attractive. While the imitations look good, they don’t feel or wear like a natural material and are likely to have a much shorter shelf life. They may not be as eco-friendly, as glues and sealers may contain formaldehydes. Look for products with an E0 rationg. Laminex have captured grand snapshots of various stones, replicating them in their new 180fx printed laminates, this allows for veined marble lookalikes to play out across a counter without joins. From $40 per linear metre; Laminex 180fx from $98.90/sqm.

GRANITE in a contemporary style Kitchen with rounded bull-nose

Marble Counters in a Classic yet modern Kitchen

 

Coloured Quartz Countertops

Back lit Resin… sharp, sexy, modern… very Resort Getaway…

Conrete Countertops…tricky BUT you an do these yourselves

Corian in a classic design

 More on Quartz Countertops here

Quick Kitchen Makeovers HERE

Home Renovation 101 HERE

 

 

  1. EmilyEmily10-24-2012

    Great article and as always a fun read! THNX 🙂