The debate between stone and laminate benchtops is probably one of the biggest in the kitchen design industry.
For many years, stone has reigned supreme, celebrated for it’s luxurious appearance and general sense of quality. Yet, due to concerns around engineered stone manufacturing and thanks to recent advances in technology, laminate has made considerable strides, with the best products now nearly unrecognisable from engineered stone.
So, the question arises: which material should you choose for your kitchen? Let’s delve into the key factors when selecting a benchtop and pros and cons of each material.
Kitchen benches endure daily challenges. They face exposure to water, heat, and various food products. As such, they need to be both hard wearing and easy to maintain and keep clean.
Both products are extremely durable however, engineered stone benchtops have been the favourable option. Depending on the type of stone, they are typically non-porous, waterproof, and scratch-resistant. This makes them fairly low-maintenance and can maintain their appearance for many years. In contrast, laminate benchtops are non-porous and waterproof but may be more susceptible to scratches if not looked after. Then again after spending big bucks on your kitchen renovation who’s not going to look after them? High quality laminate will endure daily use and still look great for many years.
Laminate benchtops are non-porous and waterproof, but can be less heat-resistant so extra care is required. Today’s high-quality laminate will hold up to the rigours of daily use if extra care is taken.
Generally speaking, stone remains the top choice for kitchen benchtops in Australia. However, this is largely a question of personal taste. While many prefer the natural beauty and luxuriousness of stone, others prefer the consistency and variety of options laminate provides.
It’s worth noting that each slab of stone when engineered is unique. As such, if more than one is required, they may not be able to be perfectly matched. However, this is not an issue with laminate, which provides a consistent finish and pattern.
Also, while there should be a stone to suit your design, choosing laminate will give you many more options. From stone and wood looks to different colours and patterns, there’s a laminate for every taste and style.
Laminate is by far and away the more cost-effective choice, making it a popular option for budget conscious consumers. In fact, the affordability of laminate is a big part of its appeal.
That being said, both materials can vary in cost and quality, and there are premium laminates and more affordable stones. For example, here at Kitchen Shack, we stock a range of high-quality laminates (Duropal, Egger, Durogloss), each with its own benefits. We also supply several lines from engineered stone from classic Builder Range to luxury Premium Range.
When designing your kitchen, you should also consider the lead time for your materials. Once again, laminate wins on this front, with laminate benchtops being delivered and installed at the same time as your kitchen. As templates need to be taken and production is done offsite, choosing stone usually means adding 3-4 weeks to your timeline.
Making the decision:
With these considerations in mind, it’s easy to see why some people struggle to choose between stone and laminate. Both are great options, and both materials have their strengths and weaknesses. The best choice for you will depend on your situation, design goals and more importantly your budget.
For budget renovations, laminate’s affordability may be the deciding factor. However, if you’re updating your cherished family home, the luxury of stone could be worthwhile investment.
If you plan to sell or rent your property and want a quick turnaround to get the next tenants in, then laminate or acrylic is by far the clear winner.
Should you remain uncertain about your choice, don’t hesitate to reach out to Kitchen Shack. Our team of experienced kitchen designers excel at selecting the perfect materials for your desired look and to accommodate your budget. We can help you get the most value for your kitchen renovation project. Book your free in-store design below.