There’s a wide choice of worktop options available to suit all styles, sizes and budgets, but sometimes navigating these options can be tricky. We’ve compiled this guide to help you pick out the right worktop for your kitchen and the pros and cons of each style.
Questions to ask before choosing a worktop
Before you start your search for the perfect kitchen worktop, there are some key factors you need to decide on first of all. These include answers to the following questions:
What does the budget look like? Worktops can range in price depending on the material you choose, so your budget may determine the type of worktop you can install in your kitchen.
How much upkeep do you want? Some worktops can be damaged more easily from spillages and heat, whereas others cope just fine with messes and can tolerate a hot pan being placed on them without leaving a mark, so think about the durability you need your worktop to have and how often you want to be cleaning it.
What colour and texture do you want? There’s a wide range of colours and textures to choose from, from rustic and warm woods to sleek and contemporary ceramic, so choosing the right one for your kitchen can be a bit overwhelming. Think about the décor you currently have and the style that works best so you can choose a material that best matches the tone of the room.
How much space are you dedicating to your workspace? Most worktops have a maximum length so if you want a one-piece worktop, without any visible joins, then ensure you’ve measured the area correctly for a professional fit.
Granite’s popular for kitchen worktops as it’s very durable, stylish and works well with a host of different kitchen styles. Plus, because it’s a natural material, there are unique patterns and colours to choose from to match the colour scheme in your kitchen. Granite doesn’t depreciate in value and is incredibly long-lasting, so it’s a great investment that will save you money over time. Because it’s a tough material, it can tolerate heat, so you don’t have to worry about putting a pan on it after it’s been used.
However, it does require sealing at least once every two years because it is a porous material. It’s also very heavy, so it needs a lot of support from the cabinets beneath in order to stay safe and secure. It is very durable and can cope with heat, spillages and knocks easily without showing signs of damage. It is a low-maintenance worktop that can be cleaned with just warm water and a mild detergent too, so it’s great for busy family homes. Granite worktops average at a cost of between £25 to £70 per square foot.
Quartz is a great mix of being a man-made stone with all the durability and toughness of a natural product. It’s scratch-proof and low-maintenance, as well as providing consistent quality, so it’s ideal for providing a modern and elegant look that looks great long-term. Quartz worktops can be customised easily as there are plenty of colours and textures to choose from and unlike granite, quartz doesn’t require sealing as it’s non-porous, so it’s naturally stain-resistant. The downside of quartz is that it can’t tolerate heat as well as some other materials and it can be an expensive option, so it’s better suited to higher end budgets. These worktops can be cleaned with just soap and water, and cost between £35 to £100 per square foot.
Glass makes a modern and elegant statement in any kitchen and is guaranteed to make the room look sleek, stylish and refined. There are also a host of different colours to choose from so there’s plenty of scope for versatility. Glass is very durable and is both water and heat-resistant, plus it can easily be cut to the exact shape and size you need. Glass doesn’t allow for the build-up of stains, grime or mould either, so it’s a much more hygienic material for the kitchen. Although glass is tough, it can crack with excessive weight or pressure, plus highly acidic foods or cleaners can damage the surface if left too long. Glass worktops start at around £30 to £85 per square foot.
Wood is commonly used for work surfaces as it has a traditional look and works well to warm up a kitchen space, with different tones and colours of woods to choose from. Wood also develops character over time for a unique aesthetic quality that ages well. It’s a great material for worktops as it’s naturally resistant to bacteria plus it’s tough, so accidental damage can be sanded away and repaired easily. Although wood is a cheaper option, it does require regular maintenance to keep it looking good, such as regular oiling. It also doesn’t tolerate heat as well as other materials and can be marked or damaged from hot pans or dishes. Wooden worktops start at £25 to £50 per square foot, depending on the type of wood used.
Ceramic worktops are versatile, easy to keep clean and hygienic, and are easily matched to kitchens of all different styles and themes. Ceramic differs from quartz and granite in that it’s harder than both materials and can work effectively as a worktop with thicknesses as low as 10mm for a cleaner and more contemporary look. Ceramic is cheaper in terms of cost but it’s still long-lasting and won’t require replacing for many years to come, as it’s a durable and moisture-resistant material. However, although it’s hardwearing, it is prone to scratching and can crack if heavy objects are dropped onto it. What’s more, the joins and grouting on ceramic tiles can be difficult to maintain. Mild acidic cleaning agents can be used to keep ceramic worktops stain-free but avoid using bleach. These worktops start at anywhere between £5 to £50 per square foot.
A worktop is an investment that can rejuvenate a tired kitchen space and help to increase the value of your home, so it’s a decision that requires a bit of thought beforehand. Each material has its own benefits and considerations that suit different lifestyles and requirements. When you’ve chosen your perfect worktop, hire a professional fitter for a high-quality finish and fit.
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