When renovating your home, your choice of benchtop can influence the kitchen’s entire visual layout while increasing your home’s overall value. Situated in the heart of the home, benchtops are a focal point of the kitchen plus one of the most used features in the home. Unsurprisingly, the choice of material and finishes can often prove to be an added stress in decision-making.
Although engineered stone has always been a prized finish that remains in current housing trends, modern technology has seen laminate benchtops rise in popularity, with a wide variety of finishings offering great competition to engineered stone without questioning style and quality.
So, the question remains, ‘laminate or engineered stone?’ We have taken the hard work out of your search and provided you with a detailed comparison of both options that will assist you in choosing the ideal choice for your needs, style and budget.
What is Laminate?
Since its launch in 1913, laminate benchtops have been highly popular in Australian homes. In general terms, laminate is made from a layer of plastic laminate glued to an additional layer of wood such as MDF (medium density fibreboard), plywood or chipboard and coated in a transparent layer of melamine. Modern technology and advanced finishing techniques successfully allow the laminate to mimic coveted materials such as granite and marble.
The Pros of Laminate
- Affordability – Laminate benchtops are highly popular due to their cost-effective options giving a quality result at a fraction of the cost of engineered stone benchtops.
- Versatility – With a wide variety of styles and patterns, laminate benchtops can be cut to any size and are available in a limitless range of colours and visual finishes.
- Easy installation – Laminate benchtops are easily fitted to most kitchens and can be measured and cut on-site, offering added accuracy to the installation. Weighing less than other benchtop options, this simplified installation results in a turnaround time that is significantly reduced in comparison to that of engineered stone.
- Low maintenance – Laminate benchtops have a general life span of 10 -20 years, with minimal maintenance required. The maximum life expectancy is 20 years.
- Family-friendly – A softer material than engineered stone, laminate is popular with families of small children as it reduces the number of possible breakages and physical injuries in the home.
The Cons of Laminate
- Susceptibility to damage- Laminate benchtops are non-porous, similar to engineered stone benchtops. However, laminate differs in that it is prone to scuffing, scratching and often burning under extreme heat. Additionally, laminate benchtops offer a water-resistant quality yet can sometimes be damaged if water seeps into undetected scratches and cracks.
What is Engineered Stone?
Engineered stone is a non-porous material manufactured with 93% natural quartz granules – one of the hardest minerals on earth. These quartz materials are bound together with resins or a polyester base and pigments, resulting in a wide variety of colours and natural patterns to choose from.
The Pros Of Engineered Stone
- Hardwearing – Those who prefer the look and feel of granite love it because it is more scratch and wear-resistant than laminate.
- Visual appeal – For lovers of granite, engineered stone is a great option bringing a luxurious finish similar to natural stone.
- Resale value – Engineered stone brings a high level of class and quality that increases the home’s value for resale, making it an attractive investment option.
- Durability – With the combination of quartz and resins, engineered stone is 99.9% non-porous and built to last a lifetime. Scratch and stain-resistant, engineered stone has the ability to keep the ‘as new’ look for the lifespan of the slab. These engineered stone slabs have a reliable resistance to cracking and can easily endure increased temperatures, making them a popular choice compared to their laminate counterparts.
The Cons of Engineered Stone
- Higher price point – Depending on the style chosen, engineered stone can often be as expensive as natural granite. Compared to the cost-effective price points of laminate benchtops, engineered stone is generally more suitable for homes of medium to high price brackets.
It is easy to see why the choice between engineered stone and laminate benchtops can often cause increased confusion. Both great options, laminated and engineered stone, have pros and cons that need to be considered when choosing the best product for your home. The final answer will come down to the budget you have allocated for your kitchen build.
If you are completing a small renovation or working on a tight budget, a laminate benchtop will give you an excellent result for minimal outlay. However, if finances are not a question and you are looking for a quality investment that will add a touch of luxury to your family home or increase the value of your home for future resale, then engineered stone may be an excellent choice to consider.
Modern Kitchen Northside are experts in the industry and will assist you in choosing the ideal benchtop to suit your needs, style and budget.
Call Modern Kitchen Northside today on 07 3889 9054 for professional advice on getting started or visit our Brisbane kitchen showroom.