Ready to create your dream kitchen or laundry, but are not sure where to start?  At MW Homes, our team make it easy and will be with you every step of the way.  To further support your decorating decisions, we’ve also created kitchen and laundry renovating 101 guides that cover each of the key items:


  • Benchtops
  • Doors and panels
  • Splashbacks
  • Fixtures and fittings

Benchtops: Kitchen and Laundry Renovating 101

You may have a certain look in mind for your kitchen or laundry benchtop, but with so many different materials, textures, and finishes available it’s hard to know where to start. 

To make it easy, we’ll take you through the following areas, to assist you in selecting the perfect kitchen or laundry benchtop for your lifestyle:


  • First step
  • Trends
  • Decision-making time
  • FAQs
First Step

From making a statement to seamlessly tying in with the rest of your décor, selecting your kitchen or laundry benchtop all comes down to the look and feel you want to create, in addition to also meeting the practical requirements of your lifestyle.

So as a first step, let’s look at the different materials we use:

 

Engineered Quartz Stone

  

Renowned for being one of the hardest surfaces in the world, engineered quartz stone is created by mixing up to 93% of natural quartz aggregates with pigments and polymer resins.

Key features:

  • Easy to maintain a highly hygienic surface
  • Heat resistant
  • No additional sealing required
  • Stain resistant – as it is a non-porous material
  • Scratch resistant

Key considerations:

  • Only available in set slab sizes, the most common being 3,000mm x 1,400mm
  • Can be damaged by sudden or rapid changes in surface temperature – so if your hand can’t tolerate the heat source for more than a few seconds, then it is also too high for your engineered quartz stone benchtop
  • Always place a wooden chopping board or heat trivet underneath any hot pots, oven trays and fry pans that you plan to place on your engineered quartz stone benchtop
  • We also recommend placing a wooden chopping board underneath any electric frying pans or slow cookers you may use – as this will help avoid any residual heat damaging your engineered quartz stone benchtop

Our brands: Caesarstone, Essastone, Quantum Quartz and Silestone

Natural Stone – Granites and Marbles

  

Stunning designs by mother nature make granite benchtops a very popular choice for those who want their kitchen or laundry benchtop to make a statement.

Key features:

  • Durable
  • Unique – no one piece is the same
  • Scratch resistant – with the addition of a durable surface solution, as it is a porous material

Key considerations:

  • Needs to be sealed regularly – this prevents staining and damage caused by everyday household cleaners, however over time can cause the colour to darken

Our brand: Sensa by Cosentino

A high-quality range of natural granite which has been sealed by a revolutionary protective treatment that penetrates the stone (as opposed to sitting on the surface) to provide exceptional stain and wear resistance, making maintenance a breeze.  Sensa is also protected with 15-year transferrable warranty, to provide extra peace of mind.

The ultimate statement of luxury, the natural beauty of marble is hard to resist.

Key features:

  • Durable – but less than granite
  • Ideal for statement benchtops
  • Unique – no one piece is the same

Key considerations:

  • Very porous material that requires frequent sealing – to prevent stains and scratches
  • Depending on your lifestyle, to reduce the likelihood of damage, marble may be better suited to vertical surfaces, such as splashbacks
  • While some decorating styles embrace the natural imperfections of granite and marble, it’s very important to think about your lifestyle requirements (e.g. your family size, how often your kitchen will be used, ideal cleaning and maintenance routine, what look and feel you want to create etc.) to ensure a natural stone benchtop meets all your needs.

Our brand: N/A, we use natural marble

Acrylic Solid Surface

  

Combining durability with minimalistic style, acrylic solid surfaces are a very popular choice for busy lifestyles.

Key features:

  • Very durable
  • Easy to maintain – as it is a non-porous material
  • Easy to repair – damage caused by heat, everyday household cleaners and severe impact can generally be repaired by a specialist in your home, while you should be able to buff out any scratches
  • Flawless piece – ideal for long kitchen benches, as joins can be welded or fused together
  • Seamless sink integration – for a seamless look, unlike other benchtop materials, your sink can be made out of the same material

Key considerations:

  • Warmer to touch than natural stone
  • Has a man-made look

Our brand: Corian

Compact Sintered Surface

  

Replicating an accelerated version of the natural metamorphic change of stone, compact sintered surfaces are created by sinterization.  The process of heating or compacting a blend of raw materials, such as glass, porcelain and quartz, creates a very hard, non-porous material that’s suitable for both kitchen and laundry benchtops.

Key features:

  • Hardwearing – abrasion resistant
  • High heat and fire resistance
  • High UV resistance
  • High scratch resistance
  • High stain resistance
  • Thermal shock proof – from both hot and cold surfaces, so you can place a hot pot directly on it, without the worry of potential damage to your benchtop

Key considerations:

  • Fragile edges – if used as a straight 12mm or 20mm you need to be careful of the edges, like you would with stone edges that surround an undermount sink

Our brand: Dekton by Cosentino

Featuring exclusive sinterized particle technology and electronic microscopy, Dekton by Cosentino exclusively has zero porosity, providing exceptional durability for busy lifestyles.

 

 

Laminate

  

A cost-effective alternative to natural materials, laminate benchtops have stood the test of time.

Key features:

  • Cost effective
  • Easy to maintain
  • Flexible – with an array of designs, textures, finishes and edges

Key considerations:

  • Always place a wooden chopping board or heat trivet underneath any hot pots, oven trays and fry pans that you plan to place on your laminate kitchen benchtop
  • We also recommend placing a wooden chopping board underneath any electric frying pans or slow cookers you may use – as this will help avoid any residual heat damaging your kitchen laminate benchtop

Our brands: Laminex and Polytex

Trends

When it comes to our customers, engineered quartz stone continues to be the most popular kitchen and laundry benchtop.  Key reasons for this include:

  • Ideal for any decorating style – amongst our leading brands, there is a wide range of designs, textures and finishes available to create your perfect space
  • Durable, easy to clean, and creates a statement
  • Reasonably priced, accommodating most renovating budgets

Like fashion, Europe leads the way when it comes to benchtop trends.  High gloss 2-pac and acrylic finishes are now making way for matt textures, which create a natural and welcoming environment.

Textured woodgrain is also increasing in popularity and thanks to the innovations in technology is also much more accessible, so there is no longer the need to pay for a solid timber or natural veneer. 

Variations in thickness are also diversifying.  While 40mm has been the standard for many years, 12mm has emerged into the market to create a sleek look that is ideal with shadow line cabinetry.  On the other end of the scale, 50 – 80mm are ideal for natural stone benchtops, increasing the impact of these statement designs.

Mixing benchtop thickness is also trending in kitchen designs, whereby an island bench is considerably thicker than the surrounding benchtops.

Decision-making time

When it comes to making your final kitchen or laundry benchtop decision, it all comes back to what best suits your lifestyle.  To assist you with this, ask yourself:

  • What decorating style/s are you drawn to? What look and feel do you want to create?
  • How often will your kitchen or laundry benchtop be used each day? 
  • How busy is your lifestyle? How much time are you happy to dedicate to maintaining your benchtops?
  • How protective are you of your kitchen or laundry benchtop surface? Will you get upset if your new surface gets some minor scratches or stains?
    If you answered yes to either of these, then we recommend you select an acrylic solid or engineered quartz stone surface, which unlike natural stone materials, are much more durable, providing peace of mind when spills or knocks occur.
  • Do you love the look of natural stone, but your lifestyle requires a material more practical and hardwearing?
    If you answered yes, then we recommend a engineered quartz stone, such as one from the Essastone range. Providing the look and feel of natural stone, but is also exceptionally durability, so you don’t need to worry about spills or scratches.
  • Have a period style and can’t go past the natural beauty of granite?Although it can take some time to get used to a new product, we would recommend the Sensa range by Consentino.  Sealed with Senguard that penetrates the entire stone (rather than just the surface), you won’t need to worry about sealing it as often as other granite benches on the market.  With the addition of a 15 year warranty, you’ll also have peace of mind that it will keep its stunning looks for many years to come.
FAQs

How stain resistant is Engineered Quartz?

Although most Engineered Quartz stone benchtop brands advise that their product is stain resistant, you can never be too careful, especially when it comes to food dies and red wine.  As such, we recommend any spills be cleaned up immediately.

How do I select the right sink?

We recommend either a top or flush mount sink, as opposed to undermount sink to avoid the likelihood of benchtop chips, especially if you plan to wash regularly in the sink.  Undermount sinks also require a silicon to be placed between the benchtop and sink, which is a haven for mildew to build up over time.

Doors and Panels: Kitchen and Laundry Renovating 101

You may have a certain look in mind for your kitchen or laundry doors and panels, but with so many different materials and finishes available it’s hard to know where to start. 

To make it easy, we’ll take you through the following areas, to assist you in selecting the perfect kitchen or laundry doors and panels for your lifestyle:

 

  • First step
  • Trends
  • Decision-making time
  • FAQs
First Step

The main element of any kitchen or laundry design is the cabinets, as they play a key role in the functionality, look, and feel of your space.  So, it may come as no surprise that most of your renovating budget will most likely be taken up by your cabinetry.

As a first step, let’s look at the different materials we use:

 

Laminate

  

A popular choice for those with busy lifestyles, laminate or melamine doors and panels combine practicality and style.  Featuring a minimalistic square edge and flat surface, they are available in a wide range of colours, designs, and textures, to suit any decorating style. 

Key features:

  • Anti-fingerprint – matt finish only
  • Cost effective
  • Durable – especially those that have ABS edging technology, which ensures edges don’t peel or chip
  • Moisture resistant
  • Scratch resistant

Key considerations:

  • If you are seeking a specific colour, then you may not find it in laminate, as their colour options are limited when compared to materials with a painted finish
  • Doors are unable to have a profile or mould, as laminate is supplied as a flat board before being cut and edged
  • Textured laminate is generally costlier than plain coloured laminate

Our brands: Laminex and Formica

2-Pac

  

The flexibility of 2-pac makes it the perfect choice for those that have a very specific colour or design in mind.  Available in a wide range of finishes to enhance your decorating style, they also provide practicality for everyday living.

Key features:

  • Colour – available in any Dulux colour, sprayed in a dust free environment/spray booth before being oven baked for extra durability. This process prevents the paint from peeling or showing a distinctive edge.
  • Durable
  • Easy to maintain
  • Pick your profile – select any profile for your door face

Key considerations:

  • Flat matt or full gloss finishes will show scratches and fingerprints and as such, are generally best for quiet areas

Approximately 30 – 40% more expansive than laminate, due to the longer manufacturing process

Vinyl wrap

  

Made with a suction technique of wrapping vinyl around a raw MDF door, vinyl wrap provides a seamless edge and is available in a wide range of finishes, creating the perfect option for those who would like a material in-between laminate and 2-pac. 

Key features:

  • Durable
  • Easy to clean
  • Pick your profile – select any profile for your door face

Key considerations:

  • If you are seeking a specific colour, then you may not find it in vinyl wrap, as their colour options are limited when compared to materials with a painted finish

If considering vinyl wrap for your kitchen doors, due to heat, steam and moisture that comes with cooking, over time they may show signs of aging (including peeling)

Natural veneer

   

Providing a cost-effective way to bring the natural beauty of real timber into your kitchen or laundry, natural veneer is made from very thin slices of real timber that is laid on MDF.  The three most common patterns are:

  • straight-line – created when the timber is sliced at right angles to the grain
  • crown – created by slicing the timber parallel to its growth rings
  • reconstructed – created from natural veneers sliced from plantation and managed forests, dyed and then reglued in block moulds to form grain patterns. These are then resliced and dyed to create a design that’s a little different from the norm.

Key features:

  • Cost effective alternative to real timber
  • Brings warmth to your space

Key considerations:

  • Due to its natural fibre, it is not as durable as other finishes. As such, they are best for quiet areas of the home or used as a feature in less-used spaces within your kitchen or laundry
  • Gentle cleaning only

 

 

Solid timber

  

It’s hard to beat the natural beauty of real timber.  Available in a wide range of local and imported species, solid timber is ideal for those with a traditional, mid-century modern/scandinavian or country decorating style.

Key features:

  • Made from an outer frame and inner panel which can be flat, routered, or flush with the frame
  • Ages gracefully – due to its natural fibre

Key considerations:

  • They are made to order and as such, may not be ideal for those on a tight budget
  • Due to its natural fibre, it is not as durable as synthetic materials
  • Gentle cleaning only
Trends

When it comes to material, laminate is the most popular material chosen for kitchen and laundry doors and panels, closely followed by 2-pac by those wanting a very specific colour and smooth edge.

However as interior trends continue to invite the outdoors in, timber, whether real or replicated, continue to be the most popular design.  And as such, many decide to incorporate the timber look into their kitchen or laundry doors and panels, either through a feature or consistent cabinetry.

 

When it comes to solid colours, the three ‘neutrals’ of white, grey, and black dominate.

Decision-making time

Like all renovating decisions, selecting the right kitchen or laundry doors and panels comes back to what best suits your lifestyle.  To assist you with this, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is your decorating style? / What look and feel do you want to create?
  • Where will the cabinetry be placed?
  • How often will you use your kitchen or laundry areas?
  • Do you have children or pets?
  • What is your overall renovation budget and how much of this do you want to dedicate to your cabinetry?
FAQs
  • What door and panel material is best for young families?
    Aside from creating the right look and feel, peace of mind and cost effectiveness tend to be at the top of the list when it comes to kitchen or laundry doors and panels for young families.  Based on this, we’d recommend a laminate, as it ticks all the boxes.
  • What material should I use if I want a profiled door?
    With the most versatile colour range and wide selection of finishes, we’d recommend a 2-pac painted door for those who would like to introduce a profiled door/s into their kitchen or laundry.
  • What profiles suit modern vs traditional decorating styles?
    One square groove tends to be the profile of choice for those with a modern decorating style.  Whereas traditional decorating styles tend to favour several grooves with curved edges, or a deep profile with large grooves.
  • When it comes to price, where does each material sit?
    The most cost-effective kitchen or laundry door and panel material to the least is laminate, vinyl wrap, 2-pac / natural veneer, and solid timber.
  • How long will it take to receive my new doors and panels?
    As a general rule, once an order is placed laminate can be manufactured within four weeks, 2-pac, vinyl wrap, and timber veneer require four – six weeks, and solid timber can take up to four weeks.  If your doors have profiles, then this can add up to one week on the standard lead times.

Splashbacks: Kitchen and Laundry Renovating 101

You may have a certain look in mind for your kitchen or laundry splashback, but with so many different materials and finishes available it’s hard to know where to start. 

To make it easy, we’ll take you through the following areas, to assist you in selecting the perfect kitchen or laundry splashback for your lifestyle:

 

  • First step
  • Trends
  • Decision-making time
  • FAQs
First Step

Making a statement or seamlessly tying everything together, selecting your kitchen or laundry splashback all comes down to the look and feel you want to create, in addition to also meeting the practical requirements of your lifestyle.

So as a first step, let’s look at the different materials we use:

 

Tile

   

Versatility, in terms of material, design, colour, size and price, continues to make tiled splashbacks a popular choice for the kitchen and laundry.

Key features:

  • Fast installation
  • Easy to maintain
  • Adaptable to temperature changes

Key considerations:

  • Grout – these three tips will help minimise any concerns you may have about grout:
    • Select a large format tile – these are easier to clean (as there are less grout lines) and unlike glass you’ll still be able to spot clean an area without creating streak marks
    • Select a tile with rectified (square) edges – as these can be laid closer together than cushioned (non-rectified) tiles and as such, will reduce the amount of grout that is visible
    • Select a light to mid grey grout – to hide everyday dirt and mask any discolourations over time
  • If you have chosen a minimalistic tile design your splashback can still make an instant design statement by simply selecting a contrasting grout colour

 

Glass

   

From complimenting a feature benchtop and reflecting light in dark spaces to featuring your favourite image, the diverse role in which a glass splashback can play in your kitchen or laundry may make it a key consideration for your space.

Key features:

  • No grout lines
  • Adaptable to temperature changes
  • Canvas for everyday living – utilising whiteboard markers, you can write whatever your heart desires (from notes, to quotes and goals), or even let your little ones create a work of art, all with the peace of mind that it can all be wiped off

Key consideration:

  • Like most glass surfaces, it’s hard to spot clean without leaving streak marks and as such, the best solution is to always clean the entire surface

 

 

Engineered stone

   

Created by mixing pigments, polymer resins and up to 93% of natural quartz aggregates, an engineered stone splashback is another grout-free solution, that can be the hero or side-kick to your kitchen or laundry design.

Key features:

  • Easy to clean
  • Heat resistant
  • Stain resistant – without any sealing required
  • No joins – can span the width of most splashbacks without any joining required

Key considerations:

  • Not suitable for open flame areas – such as behind a gas cooktop
  • If you’ve selected an engineered stone benchtop, consider continuing the material up to your splashback to create a seamless transition that’s a little different from the norm. For added impact, consider using a veined engineered stone, offset by minimalistic cabinetry.
  • White background and small speckled engineered stone splashbacks tend to be more affordable, those with a faint vein or concrete finish are the middle of the range and the price just continues to rise as the background of the stones get whiter and vein colours get stronger

 

Natural stone – marble and granite

   

It’s hard to resist the beauty of a natural stone splashback, especially if you want it to create a statement in your kitchen or laundry.

Key features:

  • One of a kind –no two are the same
  • Durable
  • Scratch resistant – granite more so than marble

Key considerations:

  • Marble is a very porous material that requires frequent sealing – to prevent stains and scratches
  • While granite is scratch resistant, we recommend you sealing to also prevent staining

Our brands:

Granite – Sensa by Cosentino

A high-quality range of natural granite which has been sealed by a revolutionary protective treatment that penetrates the stone (as opposed to sitting on the surface) to provide exceptional stain and wear resistance, making maintenance a breeze.  Sensa is also protected with 15-year transferrable warranty, to provide extra peace of mind.

Marble – N/A, we use natural marble

 

 

Acrylic solid surface

   

Combining durability with minimalistic style, acrylic solid surfaces are a very popular choice for busy lifestyles.

Key features:

  • Very durable
  • Easy to maintain – as it is a non-porous material
  • Easy to repair – damage caused by heat, everyday household cleaners and severe impact can generally be repaired by a specialist in your home, while you should be able to buff out any scratches
  • Flawless piece – ideal for wide spaces, as joins can be welded or fused together

Key considerations:

  • Not suitable for spaces with open flames, such as behind a gas cooktop
  • Has a man-made look and therefore looks best in spaces that also feature acrylic solid surface benchtops

Our brands: Corian and Staron

Compact sintered surface

Replicating an accelerated version of the natural metamorphic change of stone, compact sintered surfaces are created by sinterization.  The process of heating or compacting a blend of raw materials, such as glass, porcelain and quartz, creates a very hard, non-porous material that’s suitable for both kitchen and laundry splashbacks.

Key features:

  • Hardwearing – abrasion resistant
  • High heat and fire resistance
  • High UV resistance
  • High scratch resistance
  • High stain resistance
  • Thermal shock proof – from both hot and cold surfaces

Key considerations:

  • Fragile edges – if used as a straight 12mm or 20mm you may need to be careful of the edges

Our brand: Dekton by Cosentino

Featuring exclusive sinterized particle technology and electronic microscopy, Dekton by Cosentino exclusively has zero porosity, providing exceptional durability for busy lifestyles.

 

 

Window

    

Blurring the lines between inside and out, windows that meet the height of a benchtop are becoming a popular splashback choice for kitchens and laundries that overlook entertaining areas or greenery.

Key features:

  • Increases natural light
  • Provides a sense of warmth and space
  • Adaptable to temperature changes

Key consideration:

Finalise the design of your kitchen or laundry first, so you can then determine the best place to position your window/s

Trends

Due to their versatility and availability, tiles continue to be the most popular splashback choice amongst our clients.

Herringbone, marble, subway and large format tiles continue to trend, and depending on the colour, texture, and grout colour selected, can act as a feature or subtle design statement that ties in with the rest of your space.

Decision-making time

Like all renovating decisions, selecting the right kitchen or laundry splashback comes back to what best suits your lifestyle.  To assist you with this, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is your decorating style? / What look and feel do you want to create?
  • Where will the splashback be placed?
  • Do you have children or pets?
  • What role/s do you want your splashback to play in your space?
FAQs

How easy is it to change my splashback?
While some materials, like tiles, are easier to change than others, once your new splashback is installed it is generally not easy to change without impacting your benchtop and/or cabinets.

What splashback options don’t require any grout?
As non-grout splashback options aren’t suitable for spaces with open flames, if you have a gas stovetop (and don’t want to compromise on this item) in your kitchen, then unfortunately you’ll have to live with grout… however there are ways we can minimise the impact on your lifestyle.

For kitchens with electronic stovetops or laundries, we recommend engineered stone, glass or a compact sintered surface.

 I want a splashback that doesn’t date, what is my best option?
When it comes to creating a timeless look, it’s hard to beat a tiled or natural stone splashback with a minimalistic design and neutral colour, that seamlessly ties in with your overall kitchen or laundry design.

I don’t like grout but am in love with a tiled splashback design.  Can I get the best of both worlds?
To minimise the impact of grout, we recommend selecting large format and/or rectified tiles which minimise the amount of grout visible in your splashback.  By also selecting a light to mid grey grout you’ll hide everyday dirt and discolouration over time.

Fixtures and Fittings: Kitchen and Laundry Renovating 101

With an abundance of materials, colours, textures and designs to select from, when it comes to the fixtures and fittings for your kitchen and laundry it all comes back to what best suits your lifestyle.  To assist you with this, ask yourself the following questions:

+          What is your decorating style? / What look and feel do you want to create?

+          Where will your fixtures and fittings be placed?

+          Do you have children or pets?

+          What type of fixtures and fittings feature in other areas of your home?

+          What role does each fixture and fitting play?

Don’t overthink your answers.  At MW Homes, our team make it easy and will be with you every step of the way, to ensure you select the perfect fixtures and fittings for your new kitchen or laundry. 

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    Phone: 1300 271 429

    Mail: PO BOX 449, Canterbury, VIC 3126

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