Choosing the right kitchen worktop is an important decision when it comes to deciding on your new kitchen.
Work surfaces are the area of the kitchen that get the most use and therefore wear. Worktops also strongly contribute to the overall look and feel of the kitchen. When it comes to work surfaces there are many different options for you to choose from.
Below is an overview of the various kitchen worktop materials.
Granite is a popular worktop choice. It is universally considered a luxury option and is generally included in a house description when marketed by an agent as one of the main selling points. Granite is heat resistant and is highly scratch resistant (much more so that Quartz composite or solid surface material). There are many different stones to choose from. Granite is a natural material and there are variations in grain and colour between slabs. The stone can be specified with a polished finish, a matt texture or a honed (slightly rough) texture. We often use granite upstands which look great and avoid the need for tiling. Granite is a slightly porous material and is sealed prior to fitting. Every year or so granite worktops should be resealed to keep them looking as good as new and resistant to staining. Any spills (especially oils or curries) should be cleaned up straight away to avoid risk of damage.
Quartz composite is a manmade material that is made from approximately 95% quartz bound together with resin. Quartz is practical, luxurious looking and non-porous meaning it is highly resistant to staining. Quartz is also a strong material meaning it is impact resistant compared to other comparable products such as granite. With quartz you can get an even looking colour which is sometime not possible with natural materials. Quartz is also available in a wide range of colours and there are several colour options that contain a “mirror fleck” which catches the light and sparkles. Whilst quartz is scratch resistant it is not as hard as granite. As with granite there is a choice of textures available.
Solid surface material is manmade and manufacturers of the product you may recognise are Corian® and LG Hi-Max®. There is a wide variety of colours in solid surface and you can have solid colours which are not available in other materials. One of the main benefits of solid surface material is that you can have virtually seamless joints. This gives the impression the worktops are all one continuous piece. This also applies to upstands and moulded in sinks. These worktops are easy to clean and hygienic. They are used in many commercial applications due to these properties. Cost wise they are similar if not a bit more expensive than granite. You can get cheaper versions that are glued to a chipboard or hollow core substrate but these are considered inferior materials of the more DIY variety. The negative aspects of solid surface worktops are that they are a comparatively soft material and can be scratched, damaged or burnt. It is possible to repair or sand and polish solid surface if required.
Laminate is a popular worktop which is both practical and cost effective compared to other worktop materials. There are many different colours and textures to choose from. Over the last 5 years the range of textures has greatly improved and they now give a feeling of quality that you may not expect from the laminates of the past. A restriction of using laminate worktops is that you cannot use undermount sinks with this material. Also curves are normally not possible with laminates.
Wood is a traditional and popular option for work surfaces. When teamed with a shaker style kitchen they have a timeless elegance. Wood is considered a naturally hygienic material, with antibacterial properties, which is why it is often used for chopping boards. Wood when looked after will last a lifetime. Greater care has to be taken in looking after wooden worktops. Water and spills will need clearing up straight away to prevent damage and regular oiling will keep your worktop looking great and give maximum protection.
Stainless steel is popular in commercial kitchens but can be used in domestic situations as well. They are hygienic, hardwearing and easy to clean. An important consideration is that stainless steel will show dents and scratches, so if you’re a perfectionist, this may not be the right countertop choice for you. They are also an expensive option to fabricate.
Glass worktops can really add a wow factor to your kitchen. Glass can be made in any colour you can imagine. Glass is hygienic and very resistant to staining. Glass is toughened and is very strong but it can be scratched more easily than other work surfaces.
Choosing the right countertop is something you need to think about. Make sure you look at all the options and how you will use your kitchen as well as the look you are trying to achieve.