Kitchen Benchtops Melbourne An Essential Guide

So you’re in the market for a new kitchen splashback but feeling confused about all the options?
Here’s the essential guide for all you need to know about choosing your new kitchen splash back.

TILES

glass

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engineered stone

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natural stone

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compact sintered surface 

trilium
Photo credit: Dekton by Cosentino

acrylic solid surface 

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Photo credit: Corian

splashback window

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Where do I start?

Splash backs are a great way to introduce another colour or texture into the kitchen. They can be used to tie everything together or to create a stand out feature. 

 

With many different materials to choose from there are many ways to create the perfect aesthetic that you are after that will compliment your beautiful new kitchen.

splashback options

tiles

Tiles have become increasingly popular due to the variety of sizes, colours and finishes that are now available. Porcelain or glass tiled splash backs offer the flexibility to fit any space and achieve the finish you desire. They can range in price from very economical to more expensive depending on the size and selected finish.


One of the benefits of having a tiled splash back is that they offer the convenience of fast installation, especially large format tiles, as they are quick to lay. They can also become the feature of the kitchen, especially when an intricate design or colour is chosen, or they can be very subtle to compliment the other features in the kitchen.


For clients that are worried about cleaning their splash back behind their cooktop, we would suggest that you select a larger format tile. This way there will be less grout lines, and you will still be able to spot clean the area without creating streak marks, which can be left when spot cleaning glass.


Something else to be aware of when selecting your tile is whether they are rectified or not. If the tile is rectified this means that it has square edges, with them having been mechanically finished in order to achieve a specific facial dimension. When these tiles are laid because they are square, the grout lines can be smaller and hence less visible. If the tile is not rectified, it will have a cushion edge which is slightly rounded. With these tiles, each is a slightly different dimension and so the grout lines will be larger to help compensate for this, which is not favored by most clients.


We would also recommend that when selecting a grout colour, you do not select a stark white. Whilst the quality and stain resistance of grout has improved from where it was, overtime white grout can discolor. It is for this reason that we would recommend selecting a light or mid grey grout to compliment your tile. This is also another great way to create a feature of your splash back, especially if you are using a plainer tile, the grout lines can really set off the tile and create a WOW feature.

 

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GLASS

Glass splash backs can be used to compliment a busy benchtop by picking up a plain colour in the benchtop. They can also help reflect light in the room, especially if it is a dark space. Glass splash backs even offer the opportunity to be personalized with your own digital imagery to create a statement or a bespoke splash back. In the past we have had clients select images from nature, to introduce greenery into the kitchen or to make it feel as if there was a beautiful view right outside. Other clients have selected an image with significance to them, such as a destination from a family holiday trip or something more creative such as an abstract painting.


One of the benefits of glass splash backs is that there are no grout lines to discolor over time or to make cleaning difficult. However, most people don’t realise that with a glass splash back it does become more difficult to spot clean without leaving streak marks and hence you often end up having to clean the whole splash back from end to end. This is something to consider if you are looking at glass.


Tip: If you have to clean your splash back from end to end you may as well really utilise it right? In which case, pick an area of your splash back that can become the ‘shopping list’ or reminders board. Using a whiteboard marker, you can jot down important reminders for the family or a list of items you may need to shop for. This way when you are sitting having breakfast, you will be sure not to forget!

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engineered stone

Engineered Stone products are a blend of up to 93% natural quartz aggregates with pigments and polymer resins. It can be used as a splash back material, with the ability to be able to create a grout-free splash back or to match or contrast your new bench tops.


Due to engineered stone being bound by chemical resins, the product is only heat resistant and hence is not to be used as a splash back material behind a gas cooktop where there is an open flame. It is however very popular in kitchens where there is an induction or electric cooktop.


As engineered stone is considered stain resistant and does not require sealing, it is easy to clean and can span the width of most splash backs without a join. When the benchtop material continues up to the splash back a continuous look is created and looks exceptional when a veined engineered stone is used with plainer cabinetry.


Whilst each of the engineered stones vary in price, there are certainly affordable options that will still give you a great looking benchtop and splash back. The most economic engineered stones are typically those with a white background and small speckles. Those stones with a faint vein or that are a concrete finish are then considered a mid-range stone. Then at the other end of the scale, the whiter the background of the stone and the stronger the colour of the vein, the more expensive the engineered stone will be.

 

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natural stone - marble and granite

As a natural stone, each piece is unique with unique characteristics. Both Granite and Mable can be used as splash back materials as they do not contain chemical resins, unlike engineered stone. Often these natural stones will be incorporated into the kitchen to create a feature and may or may not be the same as the benchtop material used.

Granite is highly scratch resistant although should be sealed to prevent the surface from staining. 

 

If you are looking down the path of incorporating Granite into the kitchen we would recommend that you have a look at Sensa by Cosentino. This brand has a range of high quality natural granite which has a revolutionary protective treatment that provides high stain resistance, is maintenance free and has a 15 year transferrable warranty. This revolutionary sealer that they apply to the stone is called Senguard and is applied during the manufacturing process. It is unique as it penetrates the stone, not like other sealers that only sit on the surface. They have a beautiful range of lighter and darker coloured granites which will each leave you with peace of mind that you do not have to worry about your sealer wearing off, or resealing the product for 15 years.

 

Marble on the other hand is still a natural stone, but is not as durable as granite. It is very porous and can stain and scratch quite easily and hence should be sealed quite regularly to help maintain it. Marble is usually selected as a feature for the kitchen as it looks like a piece of art. It is definatley better used in a vertical application such as a splash back rather than a benchtop, as it will be exposed to less wear and tear.

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acrylic solid surface

Acrylic Solid Surface is a flexible alternative to stone that is renowned for its adaptability. It can be shaped (thermoformed) into a variety of profiles, designs or edge treatments and is tough and durable, easy to clean and non-porous. Most damage, including severe impact, heat or chemical damage can usually be repaired on site and light scratches can be easily handled by the average homeowner and buffed out.


One of the major benefits of the acrylic surface when used in a splash back application is that it can be fused together with an acrylic benchtop, to create a seamless piece without a silicon join that is very easy to clean as opposed to a silicon join.


However, due to the surface being acrylic, the product is not to be used behind a gas cooktop where there is an open flame as the material is not heat proof.


Often clients will select this splash back finish when they are using the same product as their benchtops. Otherwise, it is less commonly used as a splash back as the colour range doesn’t include any strong marble veins, which a lot of people are after and the product does look man made. They do however have lots of plainer colours and more subtle vein finishes.

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Photo credit: Corian

compact sintered surface

BRANDS: Dekton 

Sinterized Particle Technology is a process whereby a blend of raw materials including glass, porcelain and quartz are subject to high pressures and temperatures which represents an accelerated version of the metamorphic change that natural stone undergoes.


Dekton by Cosentino employs exclusive Sinterized Particle Technology and uses Electronic microscopy which allows them to create a material with zero porosity, which is a result of sinterization and ultra-compaction process which is exclusive to Dekton. This zero porosity of the micro-defects that cause tension or weak spots mark the difference in Dekton.


This product can be used as a splashback and as it has a high resistance to fire and heat, it can be used behind gas cooktops, where a lot of other surfaces can’t. It also has a high UV resistance, is highly scratch resistant and is resistance to stains.

trilium
Photo Credit: Cosentino

splashback window

In more and more newer homes and large kitchen renovations we are seeing splash back windows behind the cooktop or sink. This is where the window meets the height of the bench, and in most cases the benchtop material will run through to the window, rather than having a timber reveal.


Splash back windows are great to incorporate if the space permits and if the room is quite dark as they increase the natural light into the room. They are also often placed in a kitchen wall that looks out to an outdoor entertaining area or backyard. This way you can still be in the kitchen, but can feel more apart of what is happening outside.


When considering a splash back window into your new kitchen design, we recommend that you design the space and the exact layout initially. Once you are happy with the functionality of the kitchen, you will then know the exact location of where your window should go, for example centered to the sink of cooktop. By doing this after this will also allow you to position the window at the exact height you wish to have your bench to ensure the appearance of the bench running into the window can be achieved.

 

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Photo Credit: Cosentino

With so many different tiles available today, a tiled splash back is the most popular selection for our clients.

 

This is often because tiles and especially larger format tiles are economical to buy and are quick to lay, reducing costs. They are also a beautiful and on trend way of introducing a feature into the space, through using a tile with a texture, pattern, colour or one with an interesting shape.

How to make a decision

Tiles are always a great choice to introduce colour, shape and texture into the kitchen and there is a huge range of different tiles depending on whether you are after a more modern or traditional look. 

 

If you are worried about the grout, we would recommend you stick to a large format tile. If you would like to move away from grout and have a more matte splash back finish you could look at Dekton or an Acrylic splash back, as long as you aren’t selecting a gas cooktop. 

 

Glass is still available and a great choice however is not as commonly used in more modern kitchens today.

FAQ / TIPS

ARE splashbacks easily replaced if I change my mind?

Unfortunately, no. Whilst the splashback is the last component of the kitchen to be installed, it is not easily ripped out without disturbing the benchtop or any cabinets nearby. In some instances, it might be possible to cut out the old splash back tiles, re patch the plaster underneath and then retile.

if i have a canopy rangehood, where do I stop my splashback?

Just like with any selections in the kitchen, you need to take the time to think about what you are after, as these materials are difficult to change later on. We would recommend having a good idea about what appliances you are looking to have in the kitchen which may determine what materials you can use as your splash back, for example a gas cooktop or feature canopy rangehood.
Also remember that if in doubt about using a different material for your splash back, stick to something fairly plain and neutral so that it will tie in with the rest of the kitchen materials.

Conclusion

Just like with any selections in the kitchen, you need to take the time to think about what you are after, as these materials are difficult to change later on. We would recommend having a good idea about what appliances you are looking to have in the kitchen which may determine what materials you can use as your splash back, for example a gas cooktop or feature canopy range hood.


Also remember that if in doubt about using a different material for your splash back, stick to something fairly plain and neutral so that it will tie in with the rest of the kitchen materials.

 

If you need some friendly, professional advice, don’t hesitate to contact your nearest Mint showroom to speak with a designer.  

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