Choosing the right kitchen work surface for your home
From laminate to stainless steel, we take a look at the pros and cons of some of the more popular worktop materials.
When it comes to renovating your kitchen, the type of worktop you choose can have a big impact on the finished result and can really make or break the overall look that you’re going for. So how do you choose the worktop that’s right for you and your kitchen?
There are plenty of different work surface options to choose from, including stainless steel, granite, wood and even glass! So, to help you make up your mind we take a look at some of the more common worktop materials.
Laminate is a very popular worktop option – and with good reason. It is stain resistant, versatile and low maintenance and, starting from just £30 per linear metre, it’s perfect if you have a tight budget.
While laminate might not have the best reputation, it has come a long way in recent years and today’s products are often great quality and can mimic the appearance of other more expensive materials such as oak, slate or granite. So, while it has the benefit of being more affordable than other materials, it still gives a quality finish and is by no means “cheap”. This versatility also means that it looks great in most kitchens, whether traditional or more contemporary.
Another big advantage of laminate worktops is that you can cut and fit them as a DIY project rather than calling in professional kitchen fitters, saving you even more money.
Quartz worktops are relatively new, but their popularity has quickly grown. Quartz combines the advantages of natural stone – durable and low maintenance – with a clean, contemporary look. It is also antibacterial and super stain resistant, so you won’t need to worry about that spilled glass of red wine.
As it’s a manufactured product, quartz comes in a much wider range of colours than is available in natural stones such as granite. One thing to bear in mind, however, is that quartz does not quite have the same natural finish as granite, marble or slate, so if you’re going for an authentic country kitchen look, you may want to consider one of those other options instead.
Wooden worktops work perfectly in more traditional or country-style kitchens – and they can also work well in more contemporary designs when paired with more modern finishes such as glass or stainless steel.
However they are not as durable as some other materials and require a fair amount of maintenance to keep them looking at their best. A wooden worktop will require frequent oiling when first fitted, and spills will need to be cleared up quickly to avoid stains.
But if you are prepared to put in a little elbow grease you will be rewarded with a beautifully warm and welcoming worktop that adds a real rustic charm to your kitchen. If you want to use wood around the sink area, it’s best to go for woods with a high oil content such as teak, which are naturally more water resistant.
Granite is another very popular work surface. While it’s not the cheapest of materials it is extremely durable and heat resistant, so you don’t need to worry about any marks from hot saucepans! It’s a luxury material that looks great in both contemporary and traditional kitchens, and it’s available in a wide range of colours and finishes, making it relatively easy to select a worktop that fits your interior decor.
Granite is resistant to most stains and is very low maintenance. However, it does require sealing on fitting and again in ten years or so. And beware – if it does get damaged it is not always easy to repair!
Stainless steel work surfaces lends a professional feel to a kitchen and are the perfect choice for minimalist or industrial design schemes. One of the key advantages of stainless steel is its durability – it is strong, waterproof and resistant to both heat and acid. It also has antibacterial properties and can be easily kept clean with stainless steel cleaner (pro tip: use baby oil to keep it looking great).
However, stainless steel is prone to scratching, and even denting, so it’s probably not the right choice for you if you prefer a pristine work surface.
Glass is not the most obvious material choice for a kitchen worktop, but it can be surprisingly effective. Glass worktops look fantastic in contemporary design schemes and work particularly well in smaller kitchens, their reflective surfaces helping to create the illusion of space. Glass surfaces are also very hygienic and can be cut to the exact shape and size that you require.
Worktops are made from toughened glass, which is more resistant to chips, scratches and breakages. However, they do require frequent wiping to avoid water marks and smudged fingerprints. It’s also one of the more expensive worktop materials, so it’s worth keeping that in mind if you’re on a tight budget.
There is an array of different worktops out there, each offering its own advantages and disadvantages. The right one for you will depend on a number of factors including your budget, design tastes and lifestyle. We provide beautiful, bespoke fitted kitchens in Essex and beyond, so if you want some advice on selecting the right worktop for your kitchen please give us a call.