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4 kitchen renovation hacks for low-maintenance upkeep

After the bathroom, the kitchen is probably the next biggest hassle for new homeowners. You have to get the measurements right for carpentry. Carve out space for the necessary appliances. Make sure its design gels with the rest of the house. All that while keeping the “kitchen triangle rule” in mind so there’s some method to the madness.

But apart from appearance and practicality, maintenance is a key component in kitchen renovations. Whether you’re perfecting the wok hei flavour or whipping up the occasional pasta dish, the kitchen is a hotbed of smoke and steam; spills and leakages. In this article, we look at four renovation decisions that will make maintenance a breeze.

1. Quartz countertop

From knife edges to pots that have just left the fiery stoves, the kitchen countertop is the primary workstation for everything. Whether you’re furnishing one for a wet or dry kitchen, on an island, peninsula, or in a closed concept, selecting the right material can make cooking a much more enjoyable pastime. After all, it’s the clean-up we all dread.

Quartz happens to be a popular choice for this reason. Compared to its marble or granite, quartz with a synthetic adhesive finish makes your countertop more resistant to scratches and heat—a major draw for many. Since quartz particles are bound with resins, the man-made material is non-porous. This means you can easily clean up icky liquids like brown grease and meat residue without fretting about unsightly stains. And, because moisture doesn’t stand a chance on your countertop, you have the peace of mind that it wouldn’t become a breeding ground for bacteria.

2. Parquet flooring

Another surface that is prone to use and abuse is—surprise, surprise—your kitchen flooring. It is where glassware cracks, wine spills, oil splatters, and water sometimes leak from dishwashers and refrigerators. The importance of a hardy flooring cannot be understated, which is why parquet flooring might do the trick.

Derived from the French word “parqueterie”, parquet simply means wooden blocks arranged in symmetrical or geometric styles—like herringbone or chevron. It balances the sparkly appliances and stove top surfaces with a homely vibe, but does more than look pretty. Known for heat-insulation and moisture-regulating properties, parquet also has textures that are less likely to trap dirt and dust. With the regular sweeping and flooring, they can last years on end.

That said, parquet flooring, at least the high quality ones, can be costly. You get what you pay for, and the product in question happens to be solid wood that requires some installation. For the same reason, you’d want to be careful not to scratch it by dropping sharp objects or moving bulky furniture on it!

3. Antibacterial laminates

The underside of built-in cabinetry has to endure an incredible amount of smoke and steam, and it’s often where moisture and heat concentrates. Culprits include pots, pans, the electric kettle, rice cooker, coffee machine, you name it. But out of sight mustn’t mean out of mind, and picking a withstanding material matters.

Unless you want your home kitchen to start resembling a zichar stall, pure wood will not be your best friend. To shield the wooden core of your expensive cabinetry, opt for painted or laminated materials instead. Their outer layers can weather prolonged exposure to moisture, heat, and impact, but giving the surface a wipe down after cooking can lengthen their lifespan. Better yet, go for laminates of antibacterial grades that prevent bacteria or fungi from multiplying.

4. Undermount sink and curved edges

While the regular sink rests on the countertop on its rim, an undermount one mounts to its bottom and leaves the countertop’s edges exposed. Because it is usually pushed up from underneath with the help of adhesives of heavy-duty attachments, proper installation is key. All that to say: this is not a Taobao DIY project we advise taking on, so you may as well trust the experts with it.

An undermount sink, when fitted properly, creates the sophisticated appearance of a seamless countertop. More importantly, it does not trap residue around the edges, frees up usable surface area on the countertop, and allows for deeper sinks that can fit more dishes. Undermount sinks go best with waterterproof stone, glass, stainless steel, and composite worktops. Wooden ones, on the other hand, cannot be sealed and create mould problems down the line.

Low maintenance kitchen renovation

Your kitchen countertop, flooring, cabinetry, and sink are a few important decisions you have to make in the renovation process. Will you have a wet and/or dry kitchen? Should you go with an open or closed concept? What will it be—a kitchen peninsula or island? We haven’t even gotten started on the appliances.

Whatever you choose at the renovation process, furnish within your means, prioritise longevity, and find the right balance between form and function. Remember to be preemptive so you don’t have to rack up costs being reactive down the line.


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