Kitchen Worktop Materials: Pros and ConsRebecca Hinshelwood
It can be hard to decide between kitchen worktop materials. The internet is a great source of information, but sometimes this can confuse matters even more! So sometimes what you need is a straightforward comparison of pros and cons. We’ve separated different types of worktop material into three sections and looked at their benefits and challenges. By working out what your own priorities are in a kitchen, this should help you to decide on which is your ideal kitchen worktop material.
These worktops are constructed from materials which are mined or cut from naturally occurring resources. They require treatment to make them suitable for use within the home. Natural worktops look great in both country-style and contemporary kitchens.
When sealed, granite is the most hard-wearing natural material around. It’ll withstand staining, direct heat and heavy-duty traffic while looking elegant and stylish. You should only need a damp cloth and mild dish detergent to clean your granite worktop so it’s low maintenance. The only thing to consider is that you should reseal the surface every year or two to keep it protected.
Oak or walnut are popular choices for traditional or country-style kitchens. These worktops tend to collect knocks, burns and stains in a way that will not occur with stone. However, imperfections can be sanded away. Wood tends to be priced lower than natural stones but requires more maintenance. Wood should be treated then oiled every 6 months.
A softer stone than granite, marble is naturally more porous. Although it is still extremely hard-wearing when sealed, it can be more prone to staining and damage. Many people choose marble because of its inimitable aesthetic properties. It diffuses natural light wonderfully and is cool and tactile in a working kitchen.
In this section, we group together worktops which are man-made. These materials can prove cheaper to produce and install. The end quality can very much depend on the integrity of the manufacturing process, which can vary between suppliers.
Technology has really come on in recent years to make laminate worktops far more attractive than they once were. The range in both quality and price is huge, and you can achieve a specific look at a relatively small cost. However, once damaged, laminate surfaces will tend to need to be replaced rather than fixed.
Developments in plastic manufacturing techniques have meant that acrylic worktops can now be extremely hard-wearing. Colours and patterns are varied so can fit within many design concepts. The key features that cannot be replicated, however, are touch and reflectivity. The final result will depend on the quality of the product that you choose.
Ceramics and porcelains are not a common choice when it comes to kitchen worktops. However, they can be very striking. The material is non-porous, so easy to use and maintain. However, when using tiles, grout can begin to look grubby after a while. Surfaces can be uneven and prone to cracking.
Taking natural materials as a starting point, these worktops are the result of tailored engineering within the production process to strengthen the end product. They tend to be super-resilient, but depending on the end product can prove more pricey.
Hard-wearing, low maintenance and extremely hygienic, there’s a reason that stainless steel finds its way into a lot of commercial kitchens! Visually, they are less flexible than other materials and tend to work for industrial or super contemporary designs.
Another material to benefit from advances in technology, toughened glass worktops are again extremely hard-wearing. They can be printed and coloured to almost any finish and are nicely reflective. However, for good products, you’d be looking at far higher prices.
As an engineered stone, quartz brings many of the benefits of natural stone options, without any maintenance at all. Resin is mixed with stone to produce the surface so no sealing is required. A quartz surface can withstand heat, staining, knocks and even scratches (careful not to damage your knives!) There’s a fairly wide price range so affordability really depends on the finish you choose.
To find out more about how marble, granite or quartz can work in your kitchen, just get in touch.