A vital part of your kitchen design, choosing the right worktop for your kitchen is an important consideration. The choice of materials and colours can seem overwhelming at first, but we can guide you through the decision process to help you pick the right option to suit your lifestyle and colour scheme. Here is a run-down of the materials available and some of the pros and cons for each to help you with your choice.
A hugely popular choice of worktop material, laminate tends to be more affordable than granite or quartz. Available in a choice of 28mm or 38mm thickness, it comes in a very extensive choice of colours. Laminate worktops give you the look of wood or granite but without the maintenance. They are hard wearing and just need a wipe down as needed to mop up any spills or crumbs. A choice of upstands and splashbacks are available in the same colours to complete the look.
Laminate worktops are not repairable, and can become damaged with water leakage so you need to be careful with the areas around the sink and anywhere else regularly exposed to water.
For a beautiful, natural look, nothing can beat the warmth of a solid wood worktop. These are available in 30mm or 40mm thickness with matching upstands. Wood worktops can be repaired using a variety of techniques depending on the damage.
Wooden worktops need to be oiled every 3-4 months depending on usage to maintain their appearance. They are susceptible to stains and scratches so you do need to be careful with spills, hot pans and sharp knives.
Natural stone work surfaces such as granite offer a unique look from unique stone for each kitchen. Cut in 28mm – 30mm thickness, these worktops are hard wearing and low maintenance. Matching upstands, splashbacks and windowsills are available. Undermount sinks are also an option. We provide a bespoke service and installation on all granite worktops.
As granite is a natural stone, this is still a porous worksurface so may stain if the finish wears off. To avoid this, and maintain the natural sheen of the granite which can dull over time, it is best to repolish the worktop every few years depending on usage.
Quartz worktops are man-made engineered stone, formed by combining ground quartz with resins to create a hard-wearing surface. This gives you a look and feel similar to granite but minimises the pores on the work surface, making it more stain-proof. Other materials such as coloured glass, shell, metal or mirrors may also be added, and colour pigments can be added with the resin, so a huge range of decorative effects and colours can be created. Matching upstands, splashbacks and windowsills are available, and an undermount sink can be fitted if required.
Quartz worktops need significantly less maintenance than granite, but still benefit from an occasional repolish. The finish will last roughly twice as long as for granite. The surface is hardwearing, but still should be treated with respect, and can develop rings if tea mugs or glasses with condensation are left on the worktop overnight. Quartz is fairly heat resistant, but not heat-proof, so while it can withstand quite average temperatures from pans, it may crack due to thermal shock if you put down something that is significantly hotter or colder than the quartz. It is safest to always use a trivet or protective mat when putting down items from the oven, hob or freezer.
Solid Surface Worktop
For a real top-of-the-range, bespoke kitchen worktop, you can’t do better than solid surface. This is a man-made composite material, mainly acrylic and resins, so solid surface is to laminate what quartz is to granite. As with quartz, other materials can be added to the composite for decorative effect. The range of effects is much greater than for quartz, allowing for an almost infinite range of colours and decorative finishes.
Solid surface material can be joined invisibly, so your worktop is all in one piece with seamless joints. This gives you a smooth flowing finish with no seams to trap dirt and bacteria. Upstands, downstands and splashbacks can all be jointed seamlessly to the worktop with a curved finish, creating the ultimate in easy-clean surfaces. Sinks can also be made in solid surface and joined seamlessly to the worktop.
Solid surface is anti-bacterial, so has been used as a material for laboratories for some years, and is now rapidly gaining in popularity in the domestic market. It is extremely easy to clean, and requires little to no maintenance. However, it can be re-polished if necessary to remove small chips or scratches that have accumulated over time.
Solid surface is not heat-proof, and can scorch or melt on contact with hot pans, so you do need to take care to use a trivet or protective mat. The worktop is labour-intensive to install, so can be a more costly option.