Top Kitchen Materials and How to Care for ThemRebecca Hinshelwood
Having a great kitchen is a process that continues with the upkeep and care of the materials and the space. In this way, choosing the materials for your kitchen refit is only part of the story. You should think about what is needed to keep those materials looking great and performing well. So what are the top kitchen materials for a new kitchen, and what should you know before you buy in how to care for them?
Arguably the most eye catching part of your kitchen, your choice of material for your worktops can influence the look of the whole room. This is why many kitchen refits make sure to select a high quality and durable material that balances style and function.
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 remember is to reseal the surface every year or two to keep it protected.
Although naturally strong, marble is still porous. So it is important to maintain the health of the sealed surface. Clean with warm water or a ph-balanced cleaning solution to avoid damaging the seal. Give prompt attention to any spills. Over time, liquids and food detritus lingering on the surfaces can affect the seal and leave the underlying marble vulnerable.
As an engineered stone, quartz offers the aesthetic benefits of natural stone without any maintenance at all. The surface is manufactured with a mix of resin and stone so no sealing is required. A quartz surface can withstand heat, staining, knocks and even scratches. You should only need warm water and mild detergent to clean.
Oak or walnut hardwood worktops may accumulate knocks, burns and stains in a way that would not occur with stone. However, imperfections can be sanded away, or embraced as part of the character. Wood should be treated then oiled every 6 months, and avoid abrasive cleaning products.
Toughened glass worktops are extremely hard wearing and a fairly new innovation. They can be printed and coloured to almost any finish and are attractively reflective. However, since this material is prone to smearing, you should expect to buff with a microfibre cloth to maintain its sheen.
This is the part of the kitchen that offers flexibility of design. With a variety of units, you may find you prefer a mix of materials. Alternatively, look for adaptability in your materials, so you can refinish and refresh them with a change of design.
Hardwood cabinet fronts don’t come cheap, but they have a timeless appeal that will see them maintain their elegance through different kitchen styles. Wood is adaptable too, with different finishes and paints that can radically alter the look. Avoid abrasive cleaners on wooden cabinet fronts, as these can damage the material. To remove grease and grime, mix vinegar and water 50/50 in a spray bottle. Then rub in a mix of vegetable oil and vinegar and buff the wood. This will protect against future staining.
This is an increasingly popular material for kitchen cabinet fronts as part of the trend to have signature pieces of kitchenware on show. It allows you to display kitchen items whilst protecting them from the detritus of a working kitchen. But it is prone to smearing, which is unsightly. Household vinegar is again your friend here. Spray on the glass and buff with newspaper to clean and protect the glass.
For that ultra modern look, glossy acrylic cabinet fronts are perfect. This material is equal parts retro and contemporary, and is a wonderful way to add a stylish splash of colour. But they really show up the grime in a working kitchen! Clean with warm water and a couple of drops of mild detergent. Make sure your cloth is lint free to avoid leaving remnants on the surfaces.
When it comes to flooring, your material should complement your worktop and cabinet fronts. It’ll take a lot of footfall, so durability and ease of maintenance is key.
Hardwood flooring consists of natural graining which is appealing within most design concepts. It’s a classic kitchen flooring which comes with an ongoing commitment to the upkeep of the wood, with regular refinishing required. To avoid maintenance, many choose an alternative of engineered wood. This gives the look of wood but without the maintenance.
For a modern and durable look, stone flooring can be perfect. Stone tiles withstand scratches and stains, so are an ideal low maintenance option. If you choose stone tiles, go for larger sizes to minimise areas of grout. Avoid porous stones such as limestone or terracotta which should be regularly sealed to avoid permanent damage from spills and staining.
Through the power of engineering, vinyl is enjoying a come back. With finishes from stone to wood to ceramic tiles, and a range of price options it’s a flexible choice for floors. It’s now a far more hardwearing material that days gone by, but the most durable products come with the highest price tags.
From the industrial to the farmhouse, the sink is everyone’s least favourite thing to clean! When the dirt and grime builds up, an unmaintained sink is unsightly and unhygienic. So it’s important to choose good quality materials.
You get what you pay for with this material. Cheaper options are made from thinner stainless steel which is more likely to become stained or damaged. Limescale build up can be a problem with steel, so use a baking soda and water paste to coat the scale, and spray with household vinegar to wipe down.
This sink material wonderfully complements a stone counter surround, and is just as durable and hard wearing as a granite worktop. They’re a real statement as you can choose from a range of colours. Although the material is scratch and stain resistant, you should avoid abrasive cleaners and keep it regularly wiped down to maintain its condition.
They’re heavy so must be properly supported, but a ceramic sink is durable, low maintenance and looks great. This material can be maintained using household cleaners without damage. A well maintained ceramic sink can last a lifetime, and are easy to clean as well as heat resistant.
It is perhaps an obvious point, but investing in high quality materials will pay you back in both aesthetic appeal and durability. To discover beautiful granite, quartz and marble worktops for your kitchen, just get in touch.