Choosing a product for our new kitchen benchtop is the hardest decision I have had to make for the house so far. And yes, I recognise that this is a first world problem. It is probably not surprising given my love of the Hampton-style that I want a marble or marble look surface for my kitchen bench. As I see it, there are three main factors influencing my choice:
1. Aesethic – if it’s not the real deal, how good an imitation is it?
2. Function – how worried am I going to be about me/the kids and hubby’s red wine leaving stains and scratches?
3. Cost – given that apparently I have designed a ‘significant amount’ of cabinetry through the house according to the builder, this is a definite consideration.
I have narrowed down my options to the following, from cheapest to most expensive.
Laminex has come a long way from our orange benchtops in the 80s. With advances in their printing technology, Laminex now have a marble-look range that is heat, scratch and stain resistant. I would need to see a large piece to decide whether this is a worthy imitation.
I have had Caesarstone in our last house in the kitchen and bathroom and thought it was great. I had no issues with it being marked or stained, although it did get a small chip on the edge near the sink. From a practical sense I put anything on it, including hot pans. Since then, Caesarstone have released a Supernatural Range which includes some marble lookalike colours.
(L-R): Calacutta Nuvo, London Grey, Frosty Carrina
The latest colour being released in June is Statuario Novo. The showroom had a small piece on display but it was hard to gauge how this would look in a large piece for an island bench.
3. Carrara Marble
In comparison to its’ other Italian marble friend, Calacutta, Carrara marble tends to be greyer with softer and finer veining. It is more common than Calacutta and is therefore less expensive. The downside to marble are its’ risk of scratching, etching and staining. Honed marble is less resistant to scratching but polished marble withstands stains better.
via CDK Stone
This is a product I had not heard about until I saw Dea and Darren use it in their apartment on The Block. It is a natural porcelain product that is highly durable and resistant to staining and scratching. It comes in an Estatuario Marble look profile. Seeing it in a slab at the CDK Stone showroom, from a distance I could not tell it was not the real thing. Although it does not have the cool and smooth feel of real marble.
5. Calacutta Marble
Calacutta is on the top of the list from a cost perspective. After seeing the many slabs at the CDK Stone showroom, I can see why. It is more rare than its Carrara friend and usually has more dramatic veining. As a feature, it would be hard to beat. It comes with the same risks as Carrara as far as etching and staining.
After questioning anyone I know who has a marble kitchen benchtop, most people love it and embrace the patina that develops from everyday use. Until I get our final budget breakdown I am still undecided. From an aesthetic point of view, I have put together a collage which shows the options against each other.
I would love to hear your opinion. Which way should I go?