We look at the design considerations and questions you should ask yourself while looking at the pros and cons of different styles, right down the the practical aspects like preparing food, cleaning and price.
Bear these in mind and this article will help you to whittle down your options and make the daunting task of choosing your new work surfaces that little bit more peaceful and enjoyable.
For many, the kitchen is the most important room in the house, after all, it’s where families and friends come together to spend time eating, drinking, socialising, entertaining, waking up and winding down.
With all this at stake, you need kitchen worktops that will reflect your personal and domestic style.
First, let’s start with the questions to ask yourself and the points for consideration to help you with your deliberation!
Obvious, but important. If you’re under any illusions about the costs of certain materials, you might end up feeling a little dejected.
You don’t want to have to cut back on such a key aspect of your kitchen, so make sure you can afford exactly what you want.
Consider how you work in your kitchen right down to the minutiae like putting hot pans down on the worktop surface.
If you don’t want to be left with marks on the surface and you prefer the super clean look, consider the more heat resistant options listed below.
Accidents are a fact of life unfortunately, but clumsiness is a little more foreseeable.
If you’re someone who might end up doing a little more cleaning than others, then here’s something else to consider.
Some work surfaces are extremely resistant to spills, others don’t fair so well over time if not dealt with quickly; opting for a harder wearing material will serve you well if this is you!
Consider the space available for your work surface as you may want to ensure that you use whole pieces where there are no visible joints/seams.
Where space is limited and there are likely to be joints, splits and corners, some materials lend themselves much better than others – this is certainly a key consideration during the selection stage.
Cooking appliances and sinks will often dictate how deep your work surface needs to be.
Does your kitchen have a drop sink or freestanding cookers? Think about how this will look between two sections of your work surface.
Which material is best?
The choice is really yours and will largely depend on the above.
To make that decision a lot more informed, here’s a rundown of the main types of material and the key advantages and disadvantages for each.
It’s important to remember that many brands are producing materials that are increasingly more durable and robust in order to withstand the demands of modern living alongside affordability, so don’t rule any out and be sure to seek expert advice!
A very popular stone choice, granite is seen as a stylish option with a ‘high quality’ feel to it.
Being a natural stone means that there are many different shades and patterns of granite available on the market to match the chosen style of your kitchen.
Granite will allow you to save money because it’s strong, durable and long-lasting.
It has high resistance to heat and is particularly easy to clean which is important where hygiene is concerned.
On the downside, granite is not easy to repair when it gets damaged and it’s heavy so requires full support from cabinets once fitted.
Because it’s a natural substance, it’s porous and so needs to be sealed once every two years.
Granite is typically £25-70 per square foot.
Quartz is a man-made stone which shares many of the visual qualities of granite.
It’s scratch proof and can easily withstand being chipped meaning it’s very low maintenance, and because it’s non-porous it doesn’t require sealing which also means it’s highly stain-resistant.
Quartz is a great option for those with a greener outlook since it contains waste materials!
The disadvantages are that it’s not so good with heat and can tarnish as a result of high heat exposure, i.e. placing hot pans on the surface.
The style favours a contemporary look over a natural one and prices are in the region of £30-100 per square foot.
Ceramic is a popular choice because of its versatility – the huge variety of colours and textures available means that it’s very easy to match to a particular kitchen theme.
One of the great advantages of ceramic is that whilst being harder than both granite and quartz, it can be installed at a much lower thickness, as low as 10mm, which gives a really clean, modern and refined look to your worktop and kitchen.
There are more options available around adding finishing touches to ceramic such as decorative tiles.
Generally speaking, ceramic is a cheaper option and won’t require replacement for years.
Do bear in mind that ceramic surfaces are prone to scratches and the grout joints between tiles can be difficult to maintain so any spillages on the grout should be wiped up straight away.
Pricing in the region of £5-50 per square foot.
Favoured by many modernists, glass offers a sleek, glossy look which makes for a very refined overall feel.
There are a multitude of different designs, styles and colours available.
Glass is durable as well as heat and water resistant.
In addition to that, it can be extensively customised and cut to exacting shapes to fit any space.
It’s very resistant to stains and won’t allow for a build up of mould, so keeping it clean is easy.
One drawback is that it can be cracked if exposed to excessive weight.
Another is that highly acidic substances left standing on the surface will cause it to deteriorate.
Glass is usually more expensive in comparison to quartz and granite at around £30-85 per square foot.
Wood is an extremely versatile material that can completely transform a kitchen whether that be modern or traditional.
Traditional go-tos such as beech, maple and oak look great and nowadays more modern aesthetics are being achieved by using bamboo.
Overtime wood develops its appeal and character, improving with age.
Being solid means that any accidental damage can be sanded away whilst also being naturally resistant to germs and bacteria.
Although a cheaper alternative, wood does require some upkeep such as being oiled to ensure continued water-resistance.
Homeowners opting for wood should avoid direct application of heat and cutting directly on the surface.
Expect prices in the region of £25-50.
Laminate is high density chipboard coated with plastic and it is currently the most popular choice for kitchens in the UK.
It comes in many different styles, colours and sizes as well as a variety of finishes like wood or granite ‘effect’.
Laminate is particularly affordable, it’s waterproof and easy to install, so there are potential savings on both installation costs as well as materials.
Laminate doesn’t fair so well with heat and can be damaged by sharp or heavy objects.
Prices range from £5-20 per square foot.
Whether you’d like some minor changes to your kitchen or you want a larger space to cook, eat and socialise in, our experts can provide you with exactly what you need.
We have access to the highest quality materials, and those materials will be put to use by our skilled, experienced team to ensure that you’re left with the kitchen you’ve always dreamed of.
For more information about our kitchen refurbishment services, please feel free to get in touch with us today and we’ll be more than happy to help you.