The advantage of using a custom home builder is that you can create a unique aesthetic outcome by selecting all of the materials you use for your home, from magnificent, raw timbers to lavish stone. Your benchtops assist in forming the heart of your home – where you prepare endless decadent meals and entertain those closest to you, so it is important to choose the right benchtop material for you and your family. Below we have outlined some key considerations when choosing natural stone or engineered stone for your benchtops.
Engineered stone, commonly known as the leading brand- Caesarstone, is predominantly comprised of quartz and resin, delivering an extremely durable, non-porous solution. Due to its non-porous qualities, this stone is suitable for kitchens and other wet areas in the home such as bathrooms and laundries. Not only is this material exceptionally strong, but it is also heat resistant, chip resistant and stain resistant.
After an extensive 25 years of development and refinement, our preferred engineered stone brand Caesarstone now has almost 50 colour options available, ranging from jet black to crisp white. Not only is this stone available in standard plain colours, but it also comes in a diverse range of styles including reproduced natural stone-like patterns. The large variety in colours and patterns of this stone creates endless opportunities for pairing diverse materials together in your kitchen to produce a truly individual, modern design.
The standard thickness of engineered stone is 20mm, aligning with most standard kitchen designs in Melbourne, but with plenty of choice for custom designs, you can order up to 30mm thickness. The edges of this stone can also be custom designed. For example, the edges can be mitred to change the effect of the stone, such as a detailed profile or a waterfall edge, creating a sleek, minimal look, and reducing the chances of you bumping into sharp edges.
The only pitfall with engineered stone is that it isn’t necessarily UV-stable, meaning if it is placed in line with direct sunlight for extended periods of time it may fade. Maintenance is very simple for engineered stone; it is easy to clean and doesn’t require any ongoing care such as sealing. Although it is not recommended to leave spilled liquids on the surface for extended periods of time, brief spillages will not result in staining, making engineered stone a low maintenance solution for your kitchen, whilst still maintaining a polished, charming appearance.
Surrey Hills Hamptons Style Home with Caesarstone Island Bench
Natural Stone Benchtops
Natural stone benchtops bring a particular authenticity to the kitchen, which cannot be exactly replicated anywhere else. This is ideal should you want to have an exclusive design for your benchtops, however, if your dream home features stone throughout different rooms, you may not be able to have it matching in all rooms, as each piece may be slightly different. Commonly used natural stone benchtops include marble and granite.
Marble is a metamorphic stone, which is the strongest material available for benchtops. Marble is adorned with most opulent, natural markings of all stone varieties, resulting in striking, individual patterns. Originating in Rome and Greece, marble has long been associated with art and beauty, predominantly being used for artistic sculptures of the wealthy and prestigious. Nowadays, marble is often used as a centerpiece island bench in kitchens, with its rich, natural vanes boasting sheer luxury and framing other features of the kitchen such as tiles or timber details.
Granite isn’t as popular as marble but can be found in homes where the homeowner desires the unique “grainy” look. Although granite isn’t as strong as marble, it is still extremely robust. It is generally cheaper than marble and comes in a variety of remarkable, organic colours. Often granite is not a preference in Melbourne as it is a rather cold material, and can be unpleasant in winter.
Maintenance is a little harder with natural stone as it is made of porous materials. They do require sealing them from time to time because of this, to reduce the risk of stains and etching, but there is no doubt that the appearance is worth the extra care. The more exclusive natural stone products are also generally more expensive than engineered stone, due to the availability and mechanical properties of the stone.
It is vital to view the natural stone in large slabs at a showroom instead of small samples before ordering, as it can be hard to imagine the full impact of the entire pattern from a small sample. Viewing the stone varieties in a large-scale slab will give also you an idea of just how individual each piece can be.
Camberwell Modern Luxury Home with Artedomus Elba Marble benchtop
Overall engineered stone is the more popular choice of the two, with over 50% of new Melbourne home builds utilising this material throughout their wet areas, assumingly due to the cost and maintenance benefits. However, this doesn’t mean that it is necessarily the best option for you.
The key with using stone in your home is achieving an impressive aesthetic for you and your friends while also keeping an eye on the costs of where and when engineered or natural stone works best. Architects can often exhaust people’s budgets with excessive costs relating to the use of specially selected stone benchtops resulting in excessive costs, or other areas of the house falling short in your expectations in regards to the look and feel. Rycon, through their design and pre-construction stages, work closely with you to make recommendations on engineered stone and natural stone that will provide a striking feature adhering to your budget and styling requirements. This is the advantage of using a custom high-quality builder like Rycon to assist in every stage of the project. If you are seeking further advice from our professional custom home builders for which material would be most suitable for your custom-built kitchen or wet areas, please contact us here.