A worktop is the workhorse of any kitchen. It is just essential that when you choose a worktop, it needs to be tough and practical to use and at the same time stylish too. Of course, your cabinetry will be the major style decision you make for your kitchen, but also keep in mind the importance of choosing a great worktop because this will give an impression for the overall scheme.
Today, technology has made it possible to provide us with strong and high-quality materials that are practically durable for the busiest of family homes. Worktop materials have quite improved in the last few years offering our kitchens with a vast choice that’s for every budget. The most popular surfaces for kitchen worktops are laminate, wood, stone, glass, granite, and stainless steel– all have different advantages. Here’s what you should know so you can decide which best kitchen worktop material will work for you.
A hardwood worktop is a classic favorite for giving the home a natural warmth and homey character. I suggest opting for hardwood over ‘soft’ woods like pine for durability. Most popular options for hardwood are oak, walnut, and iroko. The strength of a wood worktop will last for a long time as long as it is properly sealed and maintained. It is not recommended to use this kind of worktop as a chopping board or place hot pans directly onto the wood as it can burn the surface and can cause discoloration.
Iroko and teak wood are great for food preparation and dining areas, these materials are excellent for use around the sink as they have a high tolerance for oil content and water. Also, hardwood surfaces are perfect for all kitchen styles. Woods are not only for traditional homes but they also look good for a contemporary scheme using glass or stainless steel to add some natural warmth.
Also known as ‘composite’ worktop is made from about 90% natural quartz crystals mixed with a small percent of both ‘quartz composite’ and ‘engineered stone’ which is very heavy-duty from scratches, stains, heat damage, and water content. In most cases, this kind of worktop comes with a long warranty. A quartz or composite worktop is tougher than many natural stones.
Any scratches through the material can be sanded out easily and if it’s chipped and stained it can quickly be repaired by a specialist. If you have a modern and contemporary kitchen, you can opt for dramatic colors such as dark grey and blue for a fabulous look. If your room is on the traditional side then stick to neutrals such as cream.
The beauty of natural stone will always be on top for some. Marbles are very unique in color and classically beautiful– the reason why it’s rare and more expensive. Granite is hard and resistant to heat and scratches, but it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to treat it with care. Although, it can withstand high temperatures and is water resistant, wine, and citric acids must be wiped and cleaned up at once to prevent damage to the stone and usually, these materials need to be protected by a special sealant.
You can use this material in any area of the kitchen and it’s best used around the sink and next to the hob or oven. This striking luxury material will never fall out of fashion and will always suit traditional and modern styles. What’s amazing with granite is that it’s very low maintenance and usually takes another 10 years for the next sealing.
This material is made from a blend of acrylic resins, minerals, and colorings which adds a very warm look and touch to your kitchen. You will notice that this material looks flawless with one-piece moulded sinks and splashbacks. Solid surfaces are stain and water resistant. They can resist heat to 250°C, but it’s still best to use a trivet. Like hardwood, scratches on this material can be sanded out.
If your kitchen is always wet, then this material will work best for you. Also, this surface can be engraved, backlit with LEDs and even fitted with built-in wireless charging for smartphones. This worktop does not require any initial treatment and is very low-maintenance.
If you like your kitchen to have a light touch, glass worktops are for you. Its reflective sheen will help boost light levels. This is one of the most practical solutions for every kitchen. Glass is a non-porous material and it can easily wipe clean moisture, spills, and splashes. Although glass can be prone to scratches, these can be polished smoothly again.
This is best used around the sink or at the center of breakfast bars. It just needs frequent wiping and to prevent water-marking. This is more preferred for contemporary homes.
If you hate rusting in your kitchen then you need to switch to a stainless-steel worktop. This material is very hygienic and it is repellent to water. A stainless-steel is an alloy of iron and with a blend of chromium makes it resistant to rusting problems. The downside to this is that it’s prone to scratches but some people like that it adds appeal to the surface. Stainless-steel is ideally used for restaurant kitchen but you can collaborate it with other materials to moderate the look. This worktop is best used around the sink and in all food preparation areas.
This is the best option if you are on a tight budget. It comes with plenty of design and color choices that’s why people choose this material. Laminate is non-porous and is made with multiple layers that can withstand high-pressure temperature. What you are not going to like about this is that it’s not resistant to heat or steam and not ideal as a cutting surface. I suggest that you pick a thicker and high-pressure laminate worktop for greater durability. Laminate can correctly mimic other worktop materials, including granite, wood, and slate so it will definitely suit your modern or traditional schemes.
Author bio: Ivandrea Ollero is a resident writer for Plasman, UK’s leading independent specialist distributor of kitchen and bathroom surfaces. Ivandrea writes tips and guides for homeowners who want to improve the tone of their kitchen and bathroom.