When renovating it is wise to select your appliances prior to entering into a contract with your cabinet maker. Alternatively, consult with your CMA cabinet maker member of choice before buying your appliances to ensure the appliances are appropriate for your project.
Pros: Good colour range, very durable, fade resistant, easy clean.
Cons: Can look rather plain as these doors cannot be profiled.
Cost: Most affordable.
Vinyl Wrap (Thermoformed)
Pros: Good colour and texture range, easy to clean and are available in many profiles.
Cons: Vinyl wrapped doors can be fairly easily scratched and need to be protected from heat. Some doors are susceptible to delamination, depending on how well they have been manufactured. Delaminated or damaged doors can’t be repaired.
2-Pack Polyurethane (Painted)
Pros: Lacquered doors are available in a very wide colour range (basically in any PMS colour), as well as profiles. They are easy to clean and can generally be repaired.
Cons: Lacquered doors must be treated with care as they are easily chipped or scratched.
Cost: High end.
Pros: Looks and durability.
Cons: Can be prone to twisting and warping if the timber is not correctly seasoned, or the doors aren’t manufactured correctly. Colour and grain matching can be difficult and consumers wanting a consistent timber look should consider doors and panels made from reconstituted timber veneers.
Cost: Custom made timber doors can be fairly expensive depending on manufacture and materials used. Cheaper mass produced doors are available.
Granite benchtops are a popular choice for those who want the elegant look of natural stone. Granite is one of the hardest benchtop materials available, but is somewhat brittle and susceptible to cracking if mistreated. Cared for properly, it will look good for many years.
Pros: Granite comes in many colours and patterns. It is very durable and difficult to scratch.
Cons: Natural stone is porous and as such needs to be resealed regularly. Joins tend to be more obvious than with most other bench top materials. Being a natural product colours and patterns can differ from the showroom sample.
Cost: Relatively expensive. Usually around the same price as engineered stone and solid surface products.
Tip: Go to the fabricator’s workshop and choose the slab, as they can vary considerably from showroom samples.
Engineered stone is made of quartz or granite granules, marble dust or glass chips mixed with a resin or polyester base. Its appearance and durability have made it a popular choice.
Pros: Doesn’t have to be sealed; large variety of colours and patterns; difficult to scratch. Properly constructed joins should be almost invisible.
Cons: Some engineered stone products aren’t UV stable and therefore not recommended for outside use. Check with your cabinet maker or supplier if you want to use it outdoors. Engineered stone is flammable and shouldn’t be used near intense heat sources, such as a BBQ.
Cost: Generally, on a par with granite and dearer solid surface products.
Marble benchtops are more commonly used in bathrooms, due to its tendency to stain and scratch more readily than granite.
Pros: Looks glamorous.
Cons: Marble requires regular resealing and is sensitive to acidic foods and some cleaning products.
Cost: Similar in price to granite or engineered stone.
Laminate is a very popular option, particularly where cost is a consideration.
Pros: Laminated bench tops are relatively inexpensive. They come in a very wide range of colours and finishes and are fairly easy to keep clean. Laminated benchtops come in up to 3.6 metre lengths which can mean less joins in the benchtops.
Cons: Chips and scratches are difficult to repair. Laminate will burn and must be protected from hot materials as these will leave scorch marks. The use of abrasive cleaners on laminate is likely to cause damage. Laminated benchtops can’t be used with an under mount sink.
Cost: One of the cheapest options.
Stainless steel is the benchtop of choice in busy restaurants for a number of reasons — it’s easy to clean, hygienic and hardwearing.
Pros: Hygienic; easy to clean; can withstand hot pans; can be worked to create integral sinks and draining boards.
Cons: Shows scratches, dents and fingerprints; expensive; can be noisy; can’t use abrasive cleaners. Where joins are necessary the two pieces of steel can be welded and sanded, but the join will be obvious.
Cost: Stainless steel is a higher end product.
Solid surface benchtops are made of a solid acrylic block, so the colour and patterns are consistent throughout.
Pros: Solid surfaces products are often repairable and are resistant to staining. Properly manufactured joins are difficult to see. It is easy to clean. Acrylics come in an extensive choice of colours and patterns. They can also be used to create integral sinks and draining boards. Small scratches are fairly easy to buff out.
Cons: Moderately heat and scratch resistant.
Cost: More expensive than most other materials — generally similar price to natural or engineered stone.
Tip: Plain colours will usually be cheaper than those with a speckled pattern. Acrylics can be ‘coved’ up the wall as a splash back so there’s no easily visible join at the back edge
Not commonly used for bench tops, but timber tops are sought by those seeking a rustic effect.
Pros: Strong and long lasting.
Cons: Timber bench tops are not heat or scratch resistant and require regular resealing. Chipping in the polyurethane coating should be repaired immediately to prevent the ingress of moisture.
Cost: Making timber benchtops is more labour intensive, making them an expensive option.
Pros: Glass splashbacks are an increasingly popular choice, primarily because they look stylish and are relatively easy to clean. Glass splashbacks are available in a large range of colours and finishes. Glass also comes in large sheets meaning large areas can be clad without having joins, other than in corners. The minimum number of joins means that glass that there are fewer areas where mould can grow.
Cons: Glass splashbacks don’t suit all layouts, especially where there are a lot of changes of directions making installation particularly difficult.
Cost: Glass splashbacks are generally at the higher end.
Pros: Wide range of colours, types, sizes and styles. Materials used include ceramic, mosaic, glass and recycled glass.
Cons: Grouting is difficult to keep clean.
Cost: Cost can vary considerably based on the style and materials utilised. Tile size can also affect the cost of installation.
Pros: As with glass, stainless steel splashbacks are cut to size, making installation relatively quick and simple. Stainless steel is a very durable and hygienic product.
Cons: Cleaning is best done with special stainless steel cleaners. This can mean that stainless steel splashbacks are higher maintenance than other types of splashbacks.
Pros: Acrylic splashbacks are available in a wide range of colours and is a generally a versatile and durable product. A significant advantage of acrylic is that it can be easily joined to acrylic bench tops, providing an almost invisible join between the two.
Cons: The biggest issue with acrylic is that it can’t be used close to heat sources IE behind a cooktop.
Cost: Acrylic splashbacks are at the higher end.
Pros: From a design perspective laminate offers tremendous flexibility in both colour and finish choice.
Cons: Laminate splashbacks cannot be used behind cook tops.
Cost: Laminate is the budget option for those looking for the clean lines offered by many of the other materials.
Pros: Natural stone offers durability and a choice of products, from granite to marble very appealing look and is good option where stone is being used for the bench tops.
Cons: Natural stone is a porous product and maintenance can be an issue as the surface needs to be regularly sealed.
Costs: Natural stone is one of the most expensive of the splash back choices.
Pros: Mirrored splashbacks give the illusion of space and work well in smaller areas.
Cons: Mirrored splashbacks are less durable may not be a great choice in the harsh environment of a kitchen. Mirrored glass is likely to crack if installed behind a cook top without having been toughened. Unfortunately, mirrored glass will usually distort if toughened.
Costs: Similar to glass.
Pros: Wide range of colours, cheap.
Cons: Paint needs to be of high quality and designed specifically for use in wet areas. Illegal behind sink or cooktop.
Costs: Cheapest available option. Does anyone do painted splashbacks???????
When selecting your kitchen cabinet hardware, it is important to consider both the style and functionality of the it. Just as there exists a great range of styles and finishes for your cabinets and budget, the choices for hardware and in-cabinet pull outs and other products are considerable. Selecting the right hardware will enhance your kitchen’s functionality, longevity and looks. Do your research and if in any doubt ask your cabinet maker for advice as to the most appropriate choices for your kitchen.