Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Materials part I / surfaces

Surfaces are a hot topic when it comes to building and renovating, there are a great number of products available on the market today and it can be a daunting task having to commit to just one of them. So where do we start? Firstly establish your budget - it's crucial and it will save you a lot of time and grief later on - it will also narrow down the choices which is great.  Secondly think about the location - is it an indoor or outdoor area? Thirdly it's important to know what the surface will be used for (chopping, bread making, entertaining...). The most popular surfaces of course are: stone, laminate and timber (revisit my previous post about timber here). Laminate has been a favourite for many years, it ticks a lot of boxes, it's cost effective, durable and it comes in a variety of different colours and finishes - it's also suitable for outdoor use (there's a fantastic outdoor laminate range available on the market). Stone is always popular too, choosing the right stone for the job though can be tricky. There's marble and composite stone. As you know marble is porous and needs to be sealed, it's heat resistant but you'll have to be careful not to spill red wine on it! It's not cheap - it will cost anything between $200 and $500 a sq. metre not installed - but it would definitely make a great feature in any kitchen or bathroom. Composite stone like quartz, corian and caesar stone are a great choice for kitchens, bathrooms and laundries, they are though and look great - the cost is roughly $500 a sq. metre installed. Timber is our third surface and it's definitely re-gaining popularity. There are a lot of different types of timber and different grades - which refer to the strength of the timber itself with ironbark coming in at number 1/group 1. For a more natural look opt for a matt finish or low sheen, if you are after a more sophisticated/formal look choose high gloss (more suitable for dining tables). I'd also like to mention stainless steel and concrete. Stainless steel is better suited for commercial application, it is a very popular choice in professional kitchens, it's great for counters, sinks and shelving, it's durable, strong and easy to clean. Concrete is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, it can be a stunning addition to any kitchen or outdoor entertaining area, it needs a lot of care though - expect wear and tear and marks!
Just a small tip: Whichever surface you may decide to go for ask for a sample and test it before you bring home the whole slab, that way there will be no surprises!

Here are some examples of stunning countertops.

all images via pinterest


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