The benchtop material you choose for your kitchen is very important, as kitchen benchtops need to be strong and durable, able to resist food stains, nicks and cuts, damage from high humidity levels, and burns from hot pans. However, benchtops also need to be very attractive! A kitchen's benchtops are often one of the first things that you notice when you walk into the kitchen, so they should have a nice appearance and work to enhance the look of the kitchen overall. To ensure you find the best benchtop materials for your kitchen, note a few unique choices you might consider and discuss with a contractor.
Zinc is a very durable material; many metallic items you have around the house, such as paperclips and safety pins, are often given a zinc bath after production, in order to prevent rust and corrosion. A zinc benchtop can be a good alternative to stainless steel, as zinc offers a metallic appearance that eventually develops a nice patina, with shades of blue, yellow, or gold becoming more visible over the years. While zinc benchtops are often a bit expensive, they can last for years, if not decades, before they need repair or replacement.
Acrylic is like a tough but shiny and attractive plastic, and it can be dyed and stained just about any colour or design. An acrylic benchtop might be poured onsite, so that it's then formed to fit your kitchen cabinet tops precisely. Benchtop edges might also be shaped to be rounded and oversized, or may jut out from one side of a benchtop, creating a counter or eating area. While an acrylic material is very tough, it does need to be protected from stains and from hot pans, which might actually melt down the surface and cause damage. Otherwise, an acrylic benchtop can last for years.
Concrete may seem very dull and industrial and not the right material for a kitchen benchtop, but concrete can actually be polished and buffed so that it's very shiny. It can also be painted or stained, so that it resembles stone or another upscale material. Polished concrete is difficult to burn, so it won't suffer damage from hot pans, and won't allow a kitchen fire to spread. Concrete is also made from very abundant materials, including sand and gravel, so it's a good choice for those who are very environmentally conscious and who want to avoid harvesting materials like stone or wood.