Things to take into account before choosing kitchen countertopsRebecca Hinshelwood
Whether you’re refitting your whole kitchen, or just thinking of freshening it up, your countertop is important. It’s the first thing that we notice, and probably touch, too. A scheme can appear modern, elegant, classic or vibrant depending on the kitchen countertops you choose. Day to day living will be subtly different with alternative countertops. This is because different materials have varying levels of maintenance and cleaning requirements. They also require different levels of protection or care in how you use them. So, before choosing kitchen countertops, you’ll need to think about aspects of design, style and use.
So many different design concepts can be enabled by your choice of kitchen worktop. From the retro to the minimalist, country to coastal, the key to aesthetic success is cohesion. Select your concept and carefully plan how different elements will work together in the finished room.
Whether you prefer an understated industrial style, or a vibrant pop-art look, your countertop can be the element that ties the kitchen design together. Remember that you may want to update the aesthetic of your kitchen in future years. By selecting a neutral quartz worktop, this key element of your kitchen can remain constant while features such as cabinet fronts can be easily and cheaply updated.
Traditional kitchens, both cottage and shaker style, tend to follow warm, muted colour schemes. So look to tonal stone or wooden worktops. Natural granites are also available in a huge variety of hues. The key element of these worktops is the natural graining or flecking of the material. Warm hues like oak or rose granite work fantastically in traditional rooms, working to lift plainer cabinet fronts into the design scheme.
Some kitchen designs use the countertop to create an eye catching feature. Perhaps an unusually shaped kitchen island, for example. These statement kitchens require a bold countertop. Some look to bright and glossy acrylic or glass, while others prefer the striking lines of slab cut marble.
A wide scope of function is vital if your kitchen refit is to endure. The modern kitchen is a multi-disciplined place. It is a room in which we cook, socialise, work, entertain, relax and live. For this reason, your chosen kitchen countertop must be up to the task of facilitating all of these things!
From young families with toddlers reaching worktop height to those with teenagers using the space independently, practical worktop decisions are a must. Choose softer materials and rounded edges if you’re worried about knocks. Then, durability is key when looking at teenage years!
You may be an evening entertainer, or a coffee morning impresario. More and more, the kitchen is becoming the place where we host our visitors. It’s not just an impressive countertop that is ideal for a social kitchen, but one that reflects and changes with the mood. Think about the reflectivity of granites and quartz worktops here.
Cooking and baking up a storm is, after all, the primary purpose of a kitchen! It’s also the way that many of us unwind. So if you’re partial to a bit of bread making, cake baking or 8 course dinner slaving, select a worktop that fits. Cool stone worktops certainly provide the hardiness and ease of use, while wooden counters collect the tales and marks of your baking as elements of character.
Of course, durability is incredibly important in choosing kitchen countertops. The design features that make a modern kitchen are durable in both style and strength. So think about how long your chosen material will last in terms of fashion and physical performance.
Do you want your worktop to last a lifetime? It’s certainly one aspect of your kitchen that is capable of this. Many countertop materials can last and last with varying degrees of maintenance. Glass, stone and wood are all very long lasting materials in performance. You should consider their upkeep and aesthetic durability in tandem because of this.
Day to day use is one thing, but you also should consider the likelihood of damage due to heat, dropping heavy items or scratching. Look to materials that can withstand all that is thrown at it and you will probably arrive at quartz. However, if you’re happy to collect the marks of kitchen life, then wood will do just that.
The more durable your worktop, the more important it is that the material will maintain hygiene levels throughout its lifespan. Collecting scratches and dents means that a countertop is providing the space for bacteria to breed. Sealed and non-porous surfaces such as granite or glass are good solutions long term.
When you choose a kitchen countertop with the long term in mind, you must commit to maintenance. Different materials have different requirements so there is something to suit your schedule.
The more non-porous your kitchen countertop material, the less abrasive cleaners you will require. Indeed, granite and marble surfaces only need a wipe down with warm water and some mild detergent to maintain cleanliness and sheen. The shinier the surface, the more need you’ll find for buffing or drying in order to prevent streaks. This can be a challenge with high gloss worktops such as acrylic or glass.
While natural stones should be re-sealed periodically, an engineered material such as quartz or sometimes glass, are highly durable without any regular maintenance requirements. Wood worktops require refinishing more regularly. Simply factor in the amount of periodic maintenance that you are prepared to commit to and your worktop will pay you back through its life.
How do you deal with damage to a worktop, then? Ideally you wouldn’t have to replace a whole area if a dent occurs as you may have to do with laminate or acrylic. Wood, as a more workable material, is more straightforward to sand out marks and scratches. However, it is possible to fill and re-seal granite, marble and quartz in the unlikely event of damage.
Their high performance is why marble, granite or quartz kitchen countertops are such a popular choice. A timeless stone surface performs for the long haul, and with care will look as good as new a decade or more from now. To browse our range or have a chat about choosing kitchen countertops, just get in touch.