Choosing The Perfect Worktop
Have you ever considered how your kitchen is the heart of your home? Kitchens are not just rooms for preparing and cooking food, they are used for many activities such as eating, entertaining guests, working, relaxing, watching TV and so on.
The ideal worktop for your kitchen needs to be practical enough to be able to cope with the demands of all these activities whilst, at the same time, looking aesthetically pleasing. Your worktop choice needs to be considered with the same importance as your cabinets, after all, your worktops are a large part of the overall look of your kitchen – the finishing touch.
Before making your decision on which granite worktops to buy, there are many things to take into consideration. Obviously what your worktop looks like ie colour and texture, is important but so is the cost. Buying a worktop is a large investment so you need to think about your budget. Thought needs to be given as to how durable your new surface needs to be – will it stand the test of time? Is it resistant to heat, water, stain, scratches and chemicals for instance? How careful are you with hot pans and using knives to cut on your surface? You need to choose the highest quality, most durable surface that your budget allows.
There are many different types of surfaces available on today’s market so it is worth taking the time to look at the pros and cons of each, before you make your big decision.
If you are still unsure after reading the resources on our website why not give us a call or visit our showroom.
What is a wood surface?
A wooden work surface is usually made of strips of wood joined together. There are a variety of woods to choose from such as oak, walnut, beech, teak, cherry, maple and many more.
A wooden worktop can bring a natural feel to your kitchen. Wood is hardwearing, durable and easy to clean. Any stains or marks can be sandpapered away.
Wooden work surfaces are not resistant to heat or water and can scratch easily. Also, although wood can be stained, there are limitations in choice of colour and design.
Wood is a fairly high maintenance surface; it has to be carefully sealed and oiled regularly to keep its appearance and longevity. With time, wood has a tendency to warp. Also as a wooden surface can be expensive, you may prefer to spend on a more low maintenance worktop.
What is laminate?
Laminate is a synthetic material consisting of high density chipboard, plywood or MDF coated in plastic (a well known brand name is Formica).
Laminate is available in a wide variety of colours and designs. There are many edging options available, such as curved or straight. As a surface, it is durable and low maintenance, easy to clean and stain resistant.
A laminate surface is a relatively inexpensive worktop and can be installed by a competent DIYer.
As laminate is a coated plastic it is easily damaged by water and kitchen cleaning products can dull and scratch the surface. Also laminate is not resistant to hot pans or steam; in fact the surface will melt.
Although laminate is a cheap choice of worktop, it is not always to most people’s taste. Also as laminate surfaces cannot be repaired, they will not last long and will fade and warp over time.
What are ceramic tiles?
Ceramic tiles are made from clay which is formed, glazed and baked.
Tiles are available in a wide variety of colours and designs and are attractively priced in the market. A ceramic tile work surface is durable and stain, water and heat resistant. Small chips can be repaired fairly easily.
One of the main problems with a ceramic tile work surface is that the grouting needs frequent cleaning as dirt gathers in the grooves. This is not ideal in a kitchen as surfaces need to be hygienic. Also, a tiled surface is not completely flat which may cause problems.
A ceramic tile work surface is fairly priced in the market but you have to consider the time consuming cleaning of the grouting to ensure proper hygiene.
Corian (a Solid Surface)
What is Corian?
Corian is a solid surface consisting of natural acrylic stone blended with pure acrylic polymer and natural materials. It is the no 1 brand of acrylic solid surfaces.
In addition to outstanding strength, Corian is easy to maintain and resistant to water, stains impact and UV rays. Practical and stylish, Corian offers an easy to clean, hygienic surface. As the joins are seamless, no mould or bacteria are able to grow. Also sinks can be seamlessly integrated into the work surface.
One of the unusual qualities of Corian is that it can be formed (by a heating process) into any shape required. It is also renewable and repairable as scratches can be removed with an abrasive.
Corian is available in a variety of colours and finishes and as the colours and patterns run through the complete depth of the surface, they will never wear away.
Corian is a worktop of luxurious quality, durability and design versatility.
Corian is softer than natural stone such as granite so care needs to be taken as it can be easily scratched. It is not totally heat resistant either as hot pans can damage the surface.
A Corian worktop looks impressive but is expensive and consideration needs to be given as to whether you prefer a synthetic surface or a more natural surface like granite.
What is Quartz?
Quartz is an engineered stone consisting of over 90% quartz crystals combined with polyester resin. Well known brand names include Silestone, Technistone and Caesarstone.
Quartz is one of the toughest materials on the market and provides a durable and hardwearing work surface. Resistant to stains and scratches, quartz is non porous and requires no sealing. A quartz surface requires little routine maintenance and is very easy to clean and hygienic. In fact Silestone quartz is unique as it is the only quartz surface in the world to use Microban, an anti-bacterial agent which protects your worktop from contamination by harmful bacteria. Silestone is used in many professional kitchens for this reason.
Available in a wide variety of colours, styles and textures, quartz is stain, water and scratch resistant.
A quartz surface offers a versatile and stylish addition to your kitchen.
Quartz is very expensive, costing more than granite. As it is a man-made surface, it cannot be highly polished and does not have the look of natural stone.
What is Granite?
Granite is a very hard igneous rock formed from the slow cooling of magma underground.
One of the hardest and strongest surfaces around, granite provides a tough worktop which is unique; no two slabs are the same. This natural stone is available in many colours and finishes, from polished to matt and textured. Granite has its own individual, naturally formed characteristics such as streaks and patterns.
Easy to clean, granite is hygienic as its surface is smooth and does not gather dirt. Granite is highly resistant to scratches, stains and chips and offers superb heat resistancy too. It is non porous and its colour never fades.
As long as granite is installed correctly, it will never warp or crack and will require little or no maintenance.
Another advantage of granite is that it is the green choice of worktop; it is eco-friendly. Most people agree that it is the most aesthetically pleasing of all worktops due to its natural beauty and highly polished, distinctive finish. It is the one worktop that will add value to your home.
There are no real disadvantages to a granite worktop.
What is Marble?
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate material.
Marble is available in variety of colours, patterns and is unique due to its natural veining. Marble provides a long lasting work surface which is hygienic and easy to maintain. It is also resistant to cracks and breaks.
Marble is less heat resistant than granite and hot pans will mark and discolour the surface. Also, as marble is porous it is not resistant to water or stain and does not react well with kitchen cleaning agents. Marble cannot be repaired so damaging the surface can be costly.
Marble is an expensive worktop that requires maintenance and is not as hard wearing as granite.
So, is there such a thing as the perfect worktop - a surface that is durable, resistant to everything and reasonably priced? Now you have had a chance to look at the pros and cons of the variety of surfaces available on the market, you will hopefully be able to decide which worktop offers the best option for you in terms of durability, aesthetics and a price that suits your budget.