When you are re-designing your kitchen, one of the most important aspects is the worktops. There are many different options for worktops, but whatever you choose is not going to be “cheap”, so you need to make the right decision because if you make the wrong one you are either stuck with it or it is going to cost a lot to change it again.
With that in mind we thought we’d cover some of the options that you have, so that you can get a better idea of what works and what doesn’t. These include hardwood, natural stones such as marble or granite, Corian, laminates, cement, quartz, stainless steel, and sintered stone.
While looking around, we came across an interior designer, Melanie Lissack, who is based in Essex and she reports that she was asked by a client about the best type of material for worktops, so decided to ask her Instagram followers if they had recently installed new worktops and if so, what their opinions were. She had hundreds of replies and said that the feedback found that most people suffered the same issues with each type of material. The people who were least happy and felt they had made the wrong choice were those using hardwood, while those who were happiest had chosen granite or quartz.
Of course, hardwood such as oak is a beautiful looking material and perfect for a country style kitchen, and it also has the benefit of being relatively cheap when compared with other materials. However, if you put a hot pan down on it, you will get a really nice burn mark. The good news is that you can sand it out. However, that is also the bad news, because hardwood worktops need sanding and oiling several times a year, and they also scratch easily. If you choose to spend a bit more, you can get hardwood which has been soaked in oil and will only need a light sand and oil once a year.
Stainless steel is another choice and one that is a favourite in commercial kitchens because there is very little to go wrong with it. It is very easy to keep clean, non-porous, and acid resistant. However, many people think that it looks too much like a hospital to work in a home situation.
Laminates are another possibility, and they are a cheap option. Some of today’s laminates can look really great. They need virtually no maintenance either. However, the downside is that if you put a hot pan on laminate you will melt it, and chopping on it will leave severe marks.
Another choice is cement countertops, and if you thought they would be cheap, think again. They are precast by hand to your own specification, so you have a wide choice of colours and edge shapes, but that translates into money. It also needs to be sealed with a quality sealant in order to protect it.
If you want something that is totally scratch and stain proof and also heat resistant, then you might consider a sintered stone such as Dekton. This is a man-made product which uses 100% natural minerals and oxides. However, as with many products, the edges can chip if you drop something heavy on it, and it is also possible to crack it.
Then there are quartz worktops in Wembley, which are also a man-made stone, and they use about 93% natural quartz which is mixed with resins and pigments. It is completely stain proof and acid proof, but it is not heat proof because of the resins it contains, so it is necessary to use a trivet. Furthermore, quartz worktops do not need sealing, and they are available in a range of colours and can have a polished or honed surface.
Many people fall in love with marble, and it is easy to see why. It has a soft natural sheen that has no comparison. It is also available in a wide choice of colours, with all sorts of veining, although many people think of marble as white. However, marble is a relatively soft stone, and it does require a certain amount of care. If you are not careful and spill liquids on it, they can etch the surface and leave a white mark. Marble needs sealing with a quality sealant, and as with most other surfaces you should not put hot pans on it.