Hey, it’s the New Year, and maybe one of your New Year resolutions was to get the kitchen worktops sorted out. Or maybe you are going to go the whole hog and strip the kitchen out and start all over again. Either way, one of the most important parts of your kitchen is the worktops because you – well – work on them, all the time. You prepare foods on them, plonk pans and dishes down on them, pour out all sorts of liquids into jugs and on to foods such as lemon juice, red wine, gravy, vinegar, milk, and a whole lot more, and of course there are sometimes spills.
It follows that your worktops are, or should be, your best friend in the kitchen, and the logical conclusion of that is that they must be able to withstand all the treatment that they get, and at the same time you want them to look great. Let’s face it, today, more than ever, we not only cook in the kitchen but also eat there, relax after dinner watching Corrie on the wall TV, and even entertain guests in the kitchen, so it has to look fabulous as well as being inherently practical.
Of course, you are then faced with a problem because the choice of materials for kitchen worktops is almost endless. There is hardwood, Corian, stainless steel, concrete, marble, granite, quartz, laminate – the list goes on. How do you choose?
UK interior designer Melanie Lissack (melanielissackinteriors.com), who is based in London, had much the same problem when she was asked about the best kitchen worktop material by a client, so she spent some considerable time investigating all the options on Instagram and YouTube. However, she found that the most interesting answers came when she asked her Instagram followers if they had recently renovated their kitchen / worktop, and if so, what they thought of the materials they had chosen. Several hundred people replied, and those who the happiest with their choice had chosen either quartz or granite. Those who were least happy had selected hardwood.
At Marble & Granite, we do get a lot of call for granite worktops in Ealing, and the rest of London as well, and we have a lot of very happy customers for whom we have installed them. Granite worktops are inherently practical, the stone being one of the hardest that there is known to man. Indeed, Consumer Reports magazine carried out some tests on granite and concluded that it is all but impervious to heat, cuts, and scratching, which is ideal for a kitchen. Having said that, it is never recommended that you should chop or cut foods directly on granite or on any other type of kitchen worktop, but always use a chopping board, even though in the case of granite you would probably do more damage to the knife blade.
Granite is an intrusive igneous rock which means that it has cooled down within the earth’s crust and was never expelled as molten rock. Igneous rock is rock that has solidified from a molten rock. Granite consists largely of quartz, feldspar, and mica, but will also contain other trace minerals which can vary widely depending upon where the granite was formed. This is what gives granite the huge variety of different grains and colours that are contained within it and is why no two pieces are ever the same. Granite can be found in various shades of blue, green, pink, reds, browns, black, and white, so if you choose granite for your worktops in Ealing you can be sure that nobody else has worktops the same. If granite worktops do have a fault it is that granite is to some extent porous. The porosity will vary from one slab to another, depending upon the mineral content, but it does mean that granite worktops need to be sealed. However, this is not exactly an onerous task, and if you use a good quality sealant it can last for several years. There is a very simple test you can do to see if a granite worktop – or any other stone worktop – needs resealing, and that is to place a drop of water on an area that has heavy use such as next to the sink. If the water stays in a bubble the granite does not need resealing yet.