If the kitchen is the focal point of the home, the benchtop is the focal point of the kitchen and an opportunity for homeowners to express style and personality. From warm and friendly to cool and modern, the Laminex benchtop collection has options for every look and price point.
While aesthetics are key, technical performance is obviously also a very important consideration. All surfaces have their individual features, and some are more suited to particular needs and lifestyles than others.
This guide will give you a useful overview of the features and qualities of our most popular kitchen benchtop surfaces:
- HI-MACS Acrylic Solid Surface
- Laminex Laminate and Formica High Pressure Laminate
Price Indicator Key
$ Affordable, entry-level price. Can provide the look of premium materials but at fraction of the cost.
$$ Moderate price suited for entry-level to mid-range budgets, generally for people that want material with robust performance or a special finish.
$$$ Designer aesthetic surfaces, with decors that mimic natural products such as timber and marble, perfect for mid-range to higher budgets.
$$$$ Premium material, better resistance in comparison to the likes of natural products such granite and marble suited for higher budgets.
Laminam® porcelain kitchen benchtop $$–$$$$
A large-format, full-bodied Italian porcelain tile, Laminam has a natural, luxurious look, offering gorgeous marble aesthetics without the maintenance required for natural stone.
Made with a blend of pigments and powdered stone, slabs are kiln-fired, resulting in a very hard, smooth porcelain surface. This makes an ideal kitchen material, blending good looks, materiality and functionality.
Part of the 12+ Range, Laminam pure porcelain slabs are 1620mm wide, 3240mm long and 12mm thick. The large, continuous tile and slim profile is a major design advantage, providing material continuity throughout the kitchen in sophisticated, natural shades. At only 12mm thick – compared with 40mm marble – it offers designers a slimline, contemporary Euro feel.
Laminam is particularly good for avid cooks and entertainers wanting a durable, practical work surface – to roll out pastry or place a hot pot straight from the oven. It’s fire, acid and scratch resistant, so it doesn’t, as they say, ‘tell the story’ of the night before. For all these reasons, porcelain benchtops and splashbacks have long been a popular choice in European kitchens.
Porcelain’s UV resistance, frost resistance and all-round durability make Laminam ideal for outdoor kitchen applications too. From a fabrication perspective, Laminam can be water-drilled with the ability to mitre the edges for seamless corner details. Tiles have fibre reinforcement factory-applied to the back to give them extra strength for handling during manufacture and benchtop fabrication.
Caesarstone® quartz kitchen benchtop $$–$$$$
Caesarstone combines the strength and beauty of one of nature’s strongest minerals – quartz – giving it the tactile qualities of natural stone and marble, but outperforming them with consistent strength and quality. One of the first engineered benchtop surfaces ever made, Caesarstone is around 90% quartz – much harder than quarried material and so extremely durable.
As well as a huge range of designs – 38 at last count – Caesarstone is available in natural, polished, rough, or ‘concrete’ finishes. The surface can capture any look – industrial, contemporary, traditional – and this versatility gives designers an exciting palette to work with, so that no two projects look the same.
As the centrepiece in a kitchen, a quartz bench provides the luxury but also the practicality required. It is non-porous, and resistant to heat, scratches and household cleaners, making it another good choice for committed cooks. Caesarstone surfaces never require sealing, while the large slab sizes – up to 1640mm wide, 3340mm long and 20mm thick* – provide a sleek and modern aesthetic, minimising joins and maintenance.
Comprising 38 decors at varying price points, Caesarstone offers a range suited for all budgets and styles. While durable enough to use in commercial settings, it is not designed for use outdoors.
*Download the Caesarstone Design Guide for sizes and technical information.
HI-MACS Acrylic Solid Surface kitchen benchtop $$–$$$$
HI-MACS is an extremely versatile solid composite of acrylics, minerals and natural pigments. It is popular with designers for its extraordinary design flexibility and sculptural possibilities. With no visible joins, HI-MACS can be integrated seamlessly into bowls, and thermoformed to create flowing curves and accommodate tight radiuses. In large, sweeping expanses, it has a modern, almost futuristic look. It is also a great mimic of classic stone finishes.
It is often used for biomorphic designs in both residential and commercial interiors – where organic shapes create soft edges and flowing surfaces, in contrast to the straight lines of porcelain and quartz products. It has a very tactile and smooth surface for residential use and is not cold to touch.
HI-MACS comes in a wide range of styles, from solid block colours to granite and marble effects – there’s even a concrete look. It’s available up to 20mm thickness in Alpine White, or 12mm for the rest of the range for a sleek, contemporary look, or built up to any thickness. There are no design limits for this unique solid surface.It has outstanding flexibility and can be used for high-end interiors to create true design impact.
Being an acrylic, it will develop a patina over time and does show light scratches (much like stainless steel). Due to its solid, continuous colour, it is easily repairable should any deep scratches occur. In fact, the entire surface can be restored to its original state and so given a ‘second life’, which makes HI-MACS a particularly sustainable option as well.
Download the product Design Guide for full technical details.
Laminex Laminate + Formica High Pressure Laminate kitchen benchtop $
These are the most budget-friendly of our kitchen surfaces, but are also superb all-round performers, offering designers a vast choice of colours and styles. Block colour, minerals, neutrals, aggregates, concretes, wood grains, metallics – in smooth and matt finishes – make Laminex Laminate and Laminex Formica fun to use for designers and homeowners when adding pop to classic interiors. The affordable price point brings genuine design choice for all.
Performance-wise, high-pressure laminate (HPL) is stain resistant, durable, easy to clean and UV stable, and most of the range has antimicrobial and antifungal properties – important when food hygiene is a key consideration. The ABS Edgetape that’s available for 80% of the range has a thickness of 1mm, which disguises the black line edge typical of old fashioned laminate benchtops, creating a seamless pattern and colour. HPL is the easiest to fabricate of all the benchtop choices, requiring only standard woodworking equipment.
One of the benefits of this surface choice is quick turnaround time. If you’re on a short timeline, HPL benchtops can be ordered and delivered at the same time as the cabinetry, avoiding the need for a template – required by the higher-end products – and the usual two (or more) week delay for other materials.
Within the HPL range there are 30+ Melteca matches for when you’re wanting a ‘monolithic’ effect in the laundry or scullery.
Laminex has a beautiful solution for all kitchen needs, design directions and budgets. If you’d like to know more and see and feel these materials, please get in touch and order samples. If you have any technical questions, we will be happy to assist.