It can be argued that the benchtop is the centrepiece of your kitchen. Not only is it the first aesthetic feature that guests will notice, it’s also an essential part of the cooking process. While you’re whipping up those dishes, your benchtop will need to endure nicks and scratches, high temperatures, heavy objects, and a lot of spills. It needs to be extremely durable all the while being aesthetically pleasing.
So, what do you go with? Do you go with natural stone benchtops or do you go with man-made materials?
To help you decide, we’ll be looking at one of the more popular benchtop materials: porcelain. We’ll discuss its main advantages and point out a few of its downsides.
Once you decide on a material, be sure to contact your local benchtop supplier. They’ll be able to give you further advice on costs, material selection and design choices.
Porcelain is a ceramic material made by heating kaolin at a very high temperature. This process produces a very dense and low-porous material that can be used in various kitchen settings.
Indeed, porcelain’s density is what makes it highly resistant to wear and tear. Because of its hardness, it will be able to endure minor scratches, dents and other surface blemishes.
Since it is non-porous, porcelain is also highly resistant to water and acidic liquids. Additionally, porcelain is fire resistant, making it a good benchtop material to have around your stove. You can also place hot dishes on your porcelain benchtop without having to worry about damaging its surface.
If you have a busy kitchen that sees a lot of use, porcelain is a fantastic benchtop choice. It’s tough, durable and easy to clean. With just a little bit of care and maintenance, your porcelain benchtop will last you for years and years to come.
- Design flexibility
Because porcelain is a man-made material, its appearance can be easily customised. The fine particles that make up the material can be manipulated into various textures. The porcelain surface can be made to look like timber, granite or even marble. Porcelain is also significantly more affordable than luxury materials like marble. This means you’re getting the look and feel of natural materials without having to pay a premium for them.
Unfortunately, the colours and patterns of your porcelain benchtop will only be on the outer surface. This means that if the surface gets scratched, the raw material underneath it will start to show.
- UV resistance
If you’re worried that the sun might ruin your benchtop, don’t worry. Newly installed porcelain is highly resistant to UV rays. It will not show signs of discoloration until much later in its lifespan. This means that the colours on your porcelain benchtop will remain vibrant for a long, long time.
Porcelain’s UV resistance also makes it the perfect benchtop for alfresco dining areas. You can use it for your backyard BBQ area or even your outdoor bar.
- Custom sizes
The length, width and thickness and your porcelain benchtop can be changed to your liking. For example, you can have a long, seamless piece of porcelain across your entire benchtop. This streamlines the look of your kitchen and creates a minimalistic feel. From a practical point of view, a seamless benchtop makes the surface much easier to clean. You won’t have to worry about grime and dirt building up in the crevices.
Additionally, you can customise the shape of porcelain. If you have a smaller property, you can request a custom-made benchtop that fits your modest kitchen space. For example, you can have a single L-shaped benchtop installed in one corner of your kitchen.
- Can be used around the kitchen
Porcelain can also be used in other places in your kitchen. Since its thickness can be customised, you buy a piece of porcelain that’s thin enough to be used as a splashback or as cabinet covers. This is extremely convenient if you want your kitchen to have a uniform aesthetic.
Since it’s heat and moisture resistant, porcelain can also be crafted into a sink. If you’re getting a porcelain benchtop, you can have it seamlessly transition into a porcelain sink. This will further streamline your kitchen, giving it that modern, minimalistic look.
Porcelain tiles can also be used on kitchen floors. However, despite its hardness, porcelain is quite brittle. If you apply sudden pressure on the material, it will break. This means if you drop a heavy object on your porcelain floor, it will likely crack into multiple pieces.
That was just a quick overview of porcelain as a benchtop material. If you want a porcelain benchtop for your own kitchen, contact your local supplier. Be sure to look for a company that offers fabrication as well as installation services. That way, you can get a customised benchtop. If you have any questions about the project, a good supplier should be able to provide you with sound advice regarding cost, design or installation.