In the world of domestic design, most people now a days expect or covet stone tops for their new kitchens. In retail design there are many finishes available for use as bench tops. Ultimately the decision comes down to what finish works best with the concept image, but the practical side also needs consideration.
The new engineered stones are great and very durable for most commercial situations. However if you are a purist and are thinking of real stone here are some suggestions. From softest to hardest this order applies, travertine, marble, granite and man made terrazzo. Putting this into perspective; marble benches will ware over time in high use areas such as around coffee machines. Marble is also more porous and will soak up oils and stain with foods such as red wine and beetroot. Milk and vinegar can erode some marble surfaces. Granite will eventually loose its polish on high wear areas, but is certainly a good choice.
This product should not be dismissed. It’s been around for years and there are many reasons for that. Laminate is a cost effective surface. It’s very hard wearing and available in a massive range of finishes. Some laminates are manufactured so well that it’s difficult to tell that they are an imitation.
This product has a great commercial feel and is very easy to maintain. It will scratch but over time that becomes an even wear.
These tops have a great warm and homely feel. The high gloss lacquer will scratch over time and it’s important that this 2 pack gloss is applied by a reputable company to ensure a consistent high standard of finish.
Veneer can be used on bench tops, but I would not recommend for high wear or moisture exposure. Veneer laminates are available which give better wear and look the same as veneers.
The tiled look is popular at the moment. If food preparation is involved the grout needs to be well sealed to prevent staining. Some tiles are not suitable for horizontal surfaces especially if they involve impact.
A great choice for displays under and is non porous. Coating & strengthening options are available to minimise scratching.
If you have your heart set on a particular bench top but are uncertain about its suitability check with the supplier. You may need to consult the local council if this is for a food shop.