When you’re thinking about what worktop to choose for your kitchen renovation, three things are of utmost importance:
- Style – The colour and finish of the worktop you choose is likely to have a big impact on your kitchen and influence your choices for everything from flooring to cabinets, sink, tiles etc.
- Practicality – Is it durable? Is it easy to clean? Does it require regular maintenance to keep it looking great?
- Cost – Some homeowners are more than happy to splurge a big chunk of their kitchen budget for the sake of having their dream countertops. And others would rather compromise and look for a cheaper alternative and go wild in other areas of their kitchen.
If you’re struggling to decide which worktop is right for you, we’ve put together a few options highlighting some of their benefits along with their pitfalls…
Great for people who crave a cooking environment that’s akin to a professional kitchen, Stainless Steel worktops are tough and hygienic. They’re incredibly easy to clean, long-lasting and heat resistant meaning you can place your hot pans, tray and pots down on it without a worry. Stainless steel is a great surface for anyone who loves to cook but be warned, this surface is susceptible to dents and scratches.
PROS: durable, easy to clean, great for keen cooks.
CONS: dents, scratches.
Granite is a beautiful natural product with a wide range of colours and types to choose from. Unlike Quartz, its patterns are unique which you may or not consider to be a plus. With granite, just like stainless steel, you don’t need to worry about placing hot pans directly onto its surface for fear of marking or damaging it. But it’s not a cheap option and you need to bear in mind that if it gets damaged, repairs can be tricky and because Granite is a porous material you may need to get your countertops resealed every few years to prevent staining.
PROS: lasts a long time, heat-resistant, adds wow factor, unique pattern
CONS: very heavy, difficult to repair, not a cheap option, non-uniform pattern
Surrey Country Kitchen Design with Kashmir White Granite Worksurfaces
Quartz surfaces are engineered stone without the weaknesses of natural stone. It has many of the qualities of granite but does not crack or chip as easily. It’s also non-porous and therefore stain-resistant. This also means that it provides an antibacterial surface for food preparation and is very easy to clean without requiring a sealant. Quartz is usually slightly cheaper in comparison to other high-end countertop materials such as slate, granite and marble. Another plus is that there is a huge range of colours and styles of Quartz available to choose from. If its sounds too good to be true, bear in mind some of the drawbacks, minor as they may be; Quartz not quite as heat-resistant as granite so care should be taken with hot pans; some homeowners prefer the more natural look of marble and granite; you can sometimes see the ‘seams’ on engineered stone like Quartz but for most, this isn’t a dealbreaker.
PROS: Antibacterial, usually slightly cheaper than marble or granite, lots of choice, very durable.
CONS: Less natural than other stone surfaces, not completely heat-resistant.
Compac Carrara worktops for Wandsworth Kitchen Design
Solid Wood surfaces like Oak can add a lovely warmth and charm to a kitchen. Solid wood surfaces are especially suited to more traditional designs and can be a great addition to the cosy heart of your home. Unfortunately, its warm and welcoming appearance comes at a price; solid wood surfaces can be blighted by scratches, saucepan rings, stains and even black mould. They require regular oiling and can be sanded back to remove scratches, although some would argue that scratches can add to their rustic appearance.
PROS: looks great and ages well (if looked after).
CONS: high maintenance.
Solid Surface countertops provide a tough, hygienic and versatile option for your kitchen. Man made solid surface such as Corian are made of a mix of minerals and acrylic resin and can, therefore, be formed into any shape without any visible seams or joins. Solid surface counters are strong and won’t scratch or crack easily. They’re also waterproof and difficult to stain. But they’re not a cheaper option and despite a huge range of options to choose from, the look of solid surface may not appeal to those with a more traditional style preference.
PROS: Waterproof, durable, flexible.
CONS: Not a cheap option, modern look is not to everyone’s taste
Glacier White Corian Worktops for compact Kensington Kitchen
Marble is not the easiest of surfaces to work with – you need to keep acidic solutions like lemon juice, vinegar and wine away from it to prevent permanent marking. It’s expensive and it scratches. But… there’s just something about this stone that keeps people wanting it in their kitchens and despite all its flaws, marble can’t help but add style and opulence to any room.
PROS: beautiful, unique, elegant
CONS: expensive, stains easily, scratches
For this Penthouse Kitchen in Wandsworth, Laminam Staturio effect marble worktops and splashback gave the opulent appearance of marble whilst forgoing some of the impracticalities of this material.
More Kitchen Worktop Options
Of course, there are many more choices including other en vogue materials such as concrete, ceramic and glass – but what all these worktop materials have in common is that all have their advantages and their drawbacks. There’s no perfect worktop material for everyone so if you’re the type of person who likes to keep things contemporary and can’t be bothered to oil and sand down surfaces as and when needed, then solid wood is probably not the worktop for you. If you want something that’s practically scratch resistant then it’s probably a toss-up between Solid Surface or Quartz countertops for you. In short, what’s most important when you come to decide which worktops to go for, is that you choose one that both suits you, your style and the practicalities of your time spent in the kitchen.