stone or laminex bench top? pros and cons of each please

mithencl
June 22, 2015

there is a huge difference in price. why would stone be better?

Comments (11)
  • PRO
    Michael Bell Architects Pty Ltd

    Assuming the bench is in a kitchen... Stone will patina and tell a story over time, chips stains and wear, so the materials around it will need to stay the course. Stone is for keeps and can be polished. Laminex will date the room, with colour and style, such as when it became mainstream in the 1960-70's. A well preserved kitchen from the seventies can be cool. It really is a style choice, as kitchens are replaced whether they were built to last or not. Stone works for a natural look and Laminex for a manufactured look. So if a kitchen needs to be colourful, the range of colour available in Laminex is limitless. Perhaps the most counter design thing to do would be to use Laminex to make a stone bench.......

  • mithencl

    Thank you Michael.

  • mithencl

    Hi again Michael! This is my kitchen. I would like some advice please on the choice of colour you would recommend for a new bench top. I have a raised kitchen bench on the opposite side and am making it breakfast bar. Should I make a feature of the breakfast bar bench ( the sink will be in this bench as well) with stone and have a neutral laminate on the bench pictured or keep both bench tops the same. I would like to choose a darker colour, matching the darker colours in the handmade tiles of the backsplash. My husband thinks a lighter colour would suit better. Thanks, in anticipation, Carmel

  • PRO
    Michael Bell Architects Pty Ltd

    Hi mithencl, I consider a stone benchtop in all three places, in a colour matching one of the darker shades in the tiles would look stunning. All the best, Michael.

    mithencl thanked Michael Bell Architects Pty Ltd
  • Sharon Roberts
    Hi we have both in our house so can comment on our experience... We have a stone bench top in our ensuite .. Looks fab but it drives me nuts but maybe cos it's dark... I find it quite hard to keep lovely and shiny and it has a tiny chip already and we are really careful people.. The other bathroom and laundry and kitchen we have a Laminex product called freestyle solid surface.. (Different colour in kitchen) It's a resin and I can't recommend this highly enough. It looks amazing plus we have waterfall edges in the kitchen too. It is also THE best top I have ever had as a breeze to keep clean.. If I could, I would change our bathroom to the same. As for traditional laminates, it's not a product that I like for counters but I love it for cupboards.
    mithencl thanked Sharon Roberts
  • mithencl

    Thank you Sharon. Your comments were most helpful. Being able to keep the bench clean is one of the big issues to consider for me. I am renting at the moment and the black laminex made to look like granite looks constantly smeared no matter how often I wipe it down. Is your laminex a light or dark in colour?

  • PRO
    Masters
    Hi Carmel, I'm not a architect and I do value everyone's professional opinion, but can't help thinking that perhaps you and your husband are both right. The breakfast table would look great in a natural stone, it is the where you eat, have tea or wine on, maybe a small project, entertain or have a fork fight on. Choose a granite or marble that's going to tie in with the splash back and your lovely timber floors and go with a wow factor like a stand out vein or run of colour in it. Makes it interesting.

    As for the rest a dark or even black solid surface or laminate is ideal. I find them soft and touchable, easy to maintain, a pleasure to work on and it adds the extra modern elements that's missing from this lovely galley style kitchen. Corian is another brand of solid surface but a textured dark laminate from A reputable laminate supplier should do it too. Make this room an energy that you want to be in not just look great. Kind regards Marina.
    mithencl thanked Masters
  • mithencl

    Thank you so much Marina for your informed suggestions. It's such a big decision. I don't want to get it wrong!! I LIVE in my kitchen and have waited years to have a chance to make it my own!

  • Sharon Roberts
    The freestyle surfaces are both light colours. On the stone: A friend has light stone in the kitchen and I've checked with her and she loves it.. So maybe the issue is only with dark colours?
  • PRO
    Kiwi Kitchens Ltd

    I don't believe there is any perfect product for kitchen benchtops - they all have pros and cons.

    Laminates can't be beaten for price. Any joins should be very hard to see. There is a huge range of colours/textures etc. Disadvantages are that the colour is only a few millimetres thick so any scratches etc will show and cannot be repaired. They will stand day to day use but you wouldn't want to cut something directly on the surface!

    Stone or quartz solid surfaces are much more durable (but manufacturers still advise not to put hot things on them).

    Disadvantages are the cost; any joins will probably be quite visible (its a bit like grout in between tiles but not quite so wide); and they can be very cold to touch.
    In regards to cleaning, with any product (benchtop, doors, panels etc) the darker and glossier it is, the harder it is to clean. So if you want to make it easy on yourself for cleaning, stick with something light.

  • bargainhunter
    There is a difference between natural stone which is beautiful but comes with its staining and sealing dilemmas, then there are the manufactured types which come in a huge assortment of brands and colours, then there are the actual laminates. Make sure you go to showrooms or display homes and research exactly what you need/want. Good luck with your choice