Choosing your kitchen worktop is like selecting a jacket when heading out of the house; not only should it compliment the rest of your outfit and make you look good, but it also needs to stand up to impacting factors.
Kitchen worktops come in a wide range of materials, colours, finishes and thicknesses. The key is to think about practicalities and not commit yourself to something you cannot maintain or keep looking in tiptop condition. Is there a worktop you definitely don’t want to use?
To help with you decision making, we’ve provided a quick round up of the most common kitchen worktops and their key considerations.
Corian is a seamless non-porous surface with a mixture of natural mineral and acrylic resin combinations. There are limitless possibilities as it is a man made material, so whatever the template produced then the tops can be replicated. It is available in a wide selection of colours, from bright tones right through to pastel – perfect if you are looking for something versatile.
Key considerations for Corian worktops
- Kitchen sinks and vanity bowls can be integrated seamlessly
- Low maintenance, soft cloth and a mild detergent are all you’ll need.
- No sealing is required upon installation
- It is stain & water resistant
- Heat resistant up to 250 degrees however, we’d still recommend using a trivet.
- Scratches can be sanded out
- Backsplash and worktop can be seamlessly joined as one, meaning that you can void that grime trap in the seal, common particularly round sinks and cooker hobs.
Granite is a natural material quarried from the earth’s surface, millions of years in the making. This gives it a unique appearance, as no two pieces of Granite are ever the same. Its seen as a luxury material, however due to its durability and the fact that it never falls out of fashion it’s a good investment piece for any kitchen.
Key considerations for Granite worktops
- Extremely heat resistant
- It is impervious to most stains however with light colours you will have to be vigilant to the likes of curry powder and red wine lingering for too long.
- It does require a sealing, which we would recommend is renewed every 10 years to keep it in tiptop condition.
- It is extremely heavy- so is worth considering for installation access,
- It can be cut into a variety of shapes and sizes
Supplying both Apollo and Silestone brands there is very little between them. They are both made from predominantly natural quartz (93-95%) with the remaining 5-7% made of polymer resin in order to help the particles bind together giving it an ultra smooth surface. It has the look and feel of granite or marble but provides a more consistent and solid colour. They both benefit from the qualities of the natural stone but with a wider selection of colours available.
Key considerations for Quartz worktops
- It is resistant to stains including wine, coffee, vinegar, make-up and other everyday products.
- Extremely resistant to knocks surpassing that or granite or Corian
- Resistant to scratching, it has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs hardness scale
- Hygienic, due to its polished surface it does not give bacteria and mould the chance to grow, making it as hygienic as stainless steel.
- Comes is a variety of thicknesses and would be fitted to your requirements
- No need to polish or seal the worktop
- Worktops are uniform in colour and thickness and have more variety on offer compared to Granite.
Dekton is made with a sophisticated blend of materials that are used to produce the highest quality glass, porcelain and quartz surfaces. The difference lies in the advanced manufacturing process, called ‘sinterization’ that presses the materials into an ultra-compact product like no other. With over 5 times the flexural strength of granite, Dekton can be installed in thinner material over greater spans allowing for up to 12-inch unsupported overhands on worktops, islands and bar tops.
Key considerations for Dekton worktops
- It is the most scratch resistant surface on the market and while knife blades will not leave a mark, it is still recommended to use cutting boards to protect your utensils
- Due to its low porosity, Dekton is highly resistant to everyday domestic stains and chemical agents.
- The manufacturing processes ensures that the colour and pattern will remain consistent throughout the lifespan of the product
- Maximum Heat and Fire resistance. Hot utensils, pots and pans can be placed directly onto the surface without any harm or damage.
- Ask to see the resistance test in our showroom, scrape car keys on the surface or try to apply nail polish – it’s a true reflection of its power.
- Its long-term indestructible powers are reflected with a higher price.
Laminate is often shrugged off in favour of solid surface worktops, however the manufacturing process has come along way since the 50’s & 60’s. It is usually lower priced that its natural counterparts, and so with its realistic textures and selection of colours you can enjoy beautiful timber, granite and marble finish without the heavier price tag.
Typically made up of four layers; melamine resin (transparent, which protects the surface below), overlay (a layer of transparent paper which carries aluminum oxide); a decorative layer (the colour and design that you see) and then the central core (made of kraft paper hardened with resins).
Key consideration points for laminate
- Less expensive than other solid worktops
- Can come in a range of thicknesses
- Resistant to scratching and stains, although do take care with knives etc and always use a board.
- Due to the plastic outer layer (Melamine resin) the worktop can be damaged under heat from a pan being left for too long.
- Laminate is porous so can swell due to water ingress if it finds access through a joint
- Very realistic wood and marble finishes available
Oak, beech, walnut and birch are a few examples of solid wood worktops available. The natural wood finish brings a strong sense of character to any kitchen, as every section is unique. Pale to dark colours area available, along with different grains meaning that they can suit both a traditional and modern style kitchen. Unlike many of the above worktops, there is some regular maintenance involved in preserving the quality finish.
Key considerations for solid wood worktops
- Wood is hygienic, due to natural antibacterial agents in it’s fibres
- You need to leave it to expand and settle upon installation
- The price of wood worktops can vary hugely depending on the material used
- If the worktop becomes scratched or damaged it can be sanded down to look like new again
- It needs to be regularly oiled to avoid warping and to build up a water resistance, if forgotten about water will leave an obvious stain mark.
- The natural wood surface will be impacted by heat sources and leave burn like marks if a pan is left too long.
Choosing a worktop can feel difficult, as there are a lot of options available. I would suggest trying to shortlist by material first, ensuring that you can maintain the worktop selected for its lifespan, and then consider the patterns and colours available. Price wise, laminate is the most affordable so if you like to redecorate often this might be the perfect option for you. However investment pieces such as Granite, Quartz or Dekton will ensure that the worktop stands the test of time across a number of decades.
What’s your thoughts?
Would you choose colour or pattern over the functionality of a worktop?
Do you have the time and patience to maintain a worktop to keep it looking its best?
Have you had any good or bad experiences of worktops in the past?