A kitchen worktop is one of the most important elements of the kitchen. These surfaces need to be hardy, resistant to heat and liquids and still retain a style that befits your kitchen design. This can make deciding on the material for your surfaces a tough choice. We’ve broken down where each material excels to help you find the ultimate kitchen worktops for your home.
What is your layout?
Before deciding on materials it’s important to understand your kitchen layout. Consider things like the colour of your cabinets, the size of your kitchen and whether or not they will be able to withstand heavy materials such as granite. Do you require a cutaway for a sink? What is the largest single piece of material needed for worktops? These are just a few of the questions you should be asking yourself before deciding on a kitchen worktop.
What is your budget?
Once you’ve planned your kitchen and decided on a material, be sure to think about other costs besides the material itself. Is there any cost for delivery or installation? Is it all factored into a full kitchen redesign? Remember to stick to your budgets, the last thing you need is a surprise bill.
With that said let’s get into the different options available to you. Living in the 21st century has a lot of perks, including access to an international range of materials at your disposal. From classic hardwoods to gorgeous granite, and even tough stainless steel, here are some of the materials to consider for your kitchen worktops.
Granite, limestone, slate, marble, basalt, and sandstone are just some of the materials worth considering. Granite, in particular, is synonymous with luxury available in a range of colours and often veined with highlights to make your surfaces pop. Each slab is unique which adds a bit of magic and allows this stone to transform your kitchen into a one-of-a-kind design.
Granite is popular in classic and contemporary kitchens. The timeless feel and hardy nature make it a staple for all homeowners and definitely worth considering for your kitchen.
Granite can be used in all parts of the kitchen including around sinks and stoves.
Stone is tough and resistant to heat and scratches. Stone is also impervious to most stains and spillages. Wine and citric acids can damage stone if left too long so make sure to treat your stone surfaces with respect to ensure they last a lifetime. If you choose a stone that is porous you will need to seal it to prevent liquids seeping in and compromising its integrity.
Stone’s incredible strength does come at a price though as it requires cabinets that can withstand incredible weight. This may be a breaking point for some people. However, if you’re having a bespoke kitchen designed for you your dedicated designer will know what can handle the great weight of stone surfaces.
Something worth considering is the cost of stone. It is not the most affordable option and should your stone crack or break, it will need to be replaced in its entirety. The chances of stone cracking are incredibly low but it can cost quite a bit should the unthinkable happen.
Laminates are some of the most cost-effective surfaces money can buy. As a result, their quality can vary greatly. Laminates are made by fusing multiple layers of impregnated paper under high-pressure and bonding the structure to a substrate. This makes them resistant to impact, scratching and moisture. These surfaces are also non-porous and easy to maintain.
Laminates can also mimic other surfaces very well so if you want that granite look without the price tag then a laminate might be for you. However, for all its money-saving potential, going with a laminate compromise on durability. Laminates can be great with liquids but not great near direct heat. You should always try to use a trivet when placing hot pots on these worktops and use chopping boards as the surface can be scratched by knives and other blades.
Glass is a designer’s dream. It’s light, airy and the reflective quality it brings brightens up even the darkest kitchen. Glass is also practical with its non-porous surface capable of handling spillages. Often reinforced for greater durability, a glass worktop is a perfect addition to contemporary kitchen designs.
Glass can be used on all your worktops and is great in smaller kitchens for making the space seem bigger. That being said, it is not the most durable material and without proper care can crack or shatter. Because of this, some people choose to use glass on a single surface like an eye-catching island or breakfast bar.
Toughened glass is resistant to heat and liquids (including acids). However, for all these qualities glass can get scratched which may require buffing out to keep that minimalist, contemporary sheen.
A traditional favourite and a material that is known to improve with age, a wooden worktop brings style, warmth and reliability into any kitchen. Hardwoods such as oak, walnut and iroko are popular choices. Whatever you decide, always choose a sustainable hardwood from an FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) accredited source.
Not all woods are the same so deciding where to have wooden worktops can be tricky. Iroko has a naturally high oil content and is great for around sinks and other areas that see a lot of water while sturdy oak can withstand great weight.
Wood can also be treated with sealants and oils to help protect your surfaces further and increase their longevity. Luckily, wooden counters, if damaged, can be replaced quickly. Unlike granite or glass which requires an entirely new surface, wood can be shaped and fashioned by a joiner or kitchen design specialist to fit your needs.
To avoid this scenario altogether, never use wooden counters for chopping and always use a trivet for hot pans and pots.
Composite worktops marry stone with synthetics in a 90% quartz, 10% binders composition. Because it is man-made, composite can be made to a uniform design ensuring you can emulate the veining across your entire kitchen. Composite is also incredibly tough and resistant to liquids, scratches, heat and sudden impact.
This universal utility makes composite a material that can be used from the sink to the stove. However, this utility can cost a pretty penny with composite usually costing more than stone or wood.
That being said, if you do go for composite you won’t have to treat the surface or worry too much about scratches.
Corian is a brand rather than a material. They specialise in a blend of acrylic resins, minerals and colourings. The material can be thermoformed (much like composite) into bespoke shapes such as gravity-defying cantilevered breakfast bars, organic counters and seamless blocks of colour.
This space-age material is no porous and resistant to scratches, spills and heat. With that being said it’s important to protect the customary sheen by using trivets and chopping boards. The better you treat your Corian surfaces, the longer they will hold their lustre.
Corian surfaces can also be formed to include splashbacks and sinks to create a singular design element that is at home in contemporary kitchens. Corian also allows for niche requests like engraving, LEDs among others.
This practicality and unique design potential does mean that Corian can be more expensive than its cousins but once installed is easy to maintain, stylish and hard-wearing.
Heat resistant, durable, impervious to liquids and hygienic stainless steel is a favourite of professional kitchens around the world. However, using it in a home can be tricky. It can be noisy, cold and seem clinical. But with some clever design and potential pairing with other materials makes for a virtually indestructible worktop.
From a design perspective, stainless steel sheets can be shaped to fit your kitchen design and even include a sink into a single piece.
Stainless steel can rust without the addition of chromium so make sure your supplier has you covered for the long term. It’s also worth avoiding chopping directly onto stainless steel surfaces as this can leave scratches that dull the sheen.
Concrete has a range of benefits. It is tough, heat resistant and when sealed creates a non-porous surface for liquids. Concrete looks industrial and is popular with modern kitchens. This in-vogue material can also be customised with varying shades and additions to fit your kitchen’s design.
Concrete is poured and can be made into a mould to suit. However, it is incredibly heavy and will need to be placed on storage that can withstand its weight.
While this material is hardy, remember to use a chopping board to reduce the chance of scratching. If your concrete does become scratched you’ll need a touch-up kit to repair the damaged area. Also, be aware that unsealed concrete is porous and can absorb liquids leaving stains that are tough to get out. If you don’t a pre-sealed concrete slab then make sure to apply a food-grade sealant or finishing wax.
No matter what worktop material you choose, you will want to look after the surface with a regular cleaning routine. You will need to ensure you use the right products; either home-made or store bought, to keep your new worktop looking spick and span.
Whatever your home, aesthetic or budget Kitchen People are committed to creating unique kitchens that work for you. Contact us today for a consultation or visit our showroom for inspiration. Let us help you design your dream kitchen.