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Choose Kitchen Counter Top

Which Kitchen Counter Top or Bench Top to Choose?

What influences the decision of the kitchen counter top or bench top material?

Budget and look mostly.

The price for materials or products ranges from natural stone at the top end to the humble laminate at the bottom.

Like any product/material that you have to select in interior design, they have properties that can sway your choice based rather simply on how much it will cost.

There is also the style or look. Will the product/material fit into the look of scheme? Is it a critical factor in the style? For example- country kitchens suit a timber counter top.

What is the timeframe required of the product? Is it a short-term makeover where you can settle for a quick-fix tile countertop to on sell your home, or are you going to be staying put and needing a quality finish.

Is it a high wear kitchen with lots of equipment moving on and off, with constant use, cutting etc? Does it require a product or material that is solid and durable or one that can be repaired if damaged.

These are all areas to think about when selecting your kitchen counter top or bench top.

Here are some of the products or materials available for use as kitchen bench or counter tops.

Laminate Kitchen Counter Top or Bench Top

Laminate is probably the most versatile as it comes in endless colors and styles.

It is constantly being updated and you can have a look of all the more expensive products like marble, granite, stainless steel, terrazzo and other metals without the expense.

It is impervious and can be made to fit most spaces, is reasonably damage proof and versatile, and can be shaped to allow a splash back to the wall.

The front edge can be rolled, square, bull nose or clashed with timber. You can achieve multiple looks with a little imagination.

kitchen counter top - Laminate Counter or bench top

Stainless Steel Kitchen Counter Top or Bench Top

Stainless Steel is a wonderful impervious surface that can be formed with a sink, all in one. Marvelous if you hate joins that catch dirt and food.

It is stain resistant and can stand high temperatures but it does scratch, so direct cutting is not advised. It can also be formed to create an up stand to the wall or splash back behind hobs, creating a good flow of a single material, reducing joins and unsightly gaps. It has an industrial look and is used often in modern, functional, simple kitchens.

Most kitchen appliance companies have stainless steel appliances to match the bench tops creating a high tech look.

Kitchen counter top - Stainless Steel Counter or Bench Top with formed sink and wall upstand.

Timber or Wood Kitchen Counter Top or Bench Top

Timber or wood is also a unique look as timber has grain and figure that create a pattern to the counter or bench top.

Generally timber or wood tops are created by laminating strips of solid timber together to create a large piece and then sanding them back to create a smooth surface which can be oiled or lacquer finished, dependent on the look you require.

It is easier to repair when oiled and has natural antibacterial and odor absorbing properties. Repair is by sanding and re coating with oil.
The lacquer finish, whilst looking smart and glossy can scratch and wear. Repair is more complex. The front edge can be shaped to whatever finish is required.

Kitchen counter top -Timber Counter or Bench Top

Granite Kitchen Counter Top or Bench Top

Granite is luxury, solid and stable, natural and unique. Granite provides a hard, durable surface to a bench or counter top. It is porous and does require sealing on a yearly basis but is chip, scratch and stain resistant, perfect for the kitchen.

The best part is that the natural quarried stone look is unique to you. You do have limited flexibility to the front edge details unlike laminate, but that isn’t really a factor. The floor and cabinetry supporting the granite counter/bench top does require more strengthening than a standard kitchen unit.

Concrete Kitchen Counter Top or Bench Top

Concrete is slightly off beat but has made a comeback for the creative designer. Concrete is porous and requires sealing then waxing to stop any stains penetrating the surface. It can be colored or inlaid with glass, shells or stones to provide a unique look. Like granite it is very heavy and will require the cabinetry and some flooring to be reinforced.

Ceramic Tiles Kitchen Counter Top or Bench Top

Ceramic tiles are not seen very often now but a very versatile option and a good way to makeover a tired kitchen. Not many rules here- simply ensure that you select a glazed tile so there is no staining and ensure that you seal the grout for the same reasons. What have become popular are the small mosaic glass tiles as up stand or splash backs.

Those are the most popular forms of kitchen bench tops. Remember to view the material or product sample in a large piece – especially the laminate as it will look different over a large area, and view them horizontally, as the will be when finished.

About the Author – Lee Brown

Lee Brown is the co founder of, she has worked in the Interior Design Industry for over 24 years, specializing in commercial, hospitality, high end architectural homes and retail design. Over the past 14 years Lee and Chris Brown have been collating their wealth of design knowledge to provide free interior decorating education to the world. Make sure you register for your free ecourse today. Free Interior Decorating eCourse