The kitchen, by far, is the most expensive room in the house in terms of updating. It’s also the room in which we spend most of our waking hours! If done well, a new kitchen can add value to your home making it a worthy investment. Choosing the various elements to your new kitchen, including kitchen worktops, can be a bit of a minefield. There are so many options available at a vast variety of budgets that it can be quite overwhelming! Once you start drilling down through the options, however, you can eliminate a lot because of budget, style and space constraints. I’ve put together this handy guide to kitchen worktops to help you through the elimination process…
Laminate and solid laminate worktops
The most popular kitchen worktop material currently in the UK. Laminate and solid laminate worktops are cost-effective and low-maintenance. Solid laminate worktops contain several layers of laminate and have a more contemporary, thinner finish to traditional laminate kitchen worktops. Because both are manufactured, they can come in pretty much any finish you can imagine. Giving you the look or real stone or wood without the maintenance and cost.
Real wood worktops
Hard wood worktops are a great compromise between laminate and stone. Real wood is more durable than laminate and cheaper and easier to maintain compared to stone. Real wood ages beautifully and can be sanded and re-oiled to change the look or to just give it a new lease of life. As wood is naturally porous to water damage, it does need to be kept oiled every couple of years at least.
Natural stone worktops
Granite and marble are the most popular types of natural stone worktops. Both are completely unique in their natural markings and shades and need sealing to protect from liquid damage. Marble is naturally more porous than granite but both are naturally antibacterial and easy to clean. Natural stone worktops are very durable and heavy and can take a lot in terms of daily wear and tear. But can’t be repaired once cracked or chipped and are also expensive. Natural stone is the most popular worktop material in Cyprus where I grew up, and it’s such a beautiful material to work on. It’s particularly useful for baking as the cool surface is perfect for working dough on!
Manmade stone worktops
Manmade stone worktops, such as quartz, can compare to natural stone worktops in terms of price but are far more durable. Because of this, manmade stone worktops can often have a thinner finish and look much sleeker. Each manufacturer will have slightly varying methods of producing manmade stone worktops, but generally natural stone pieces are bonded together with resin to create the solid surface. The result is a beautiful smooth finish, but you will need to use trivets for hot pots as it’s not as heat-resistant as natural stone. Other examples of manmade stone worktops are corian, earthstone, terazzo and silestone.
Whatever comes to your head when you think of glass, clear it all out. Toughened glass is harder than stone, heat-proof and non-porous meaning it’s very low maintenance. Glass worktops can be made to any finish – you could even have glitter or artwork sealed in! Take a look at my post on glass splashbacks to find out more about glass worktops.
It wouldn’t be a guide to kitchen worktops if I didn’t mention metal worktops too. I know that copper is still popular and that stainless steel worktops are also a ‘thing’. But just don’t go there… honestly! Unless you have a commercial kitchen, just stay away from metal worktops in your home. Apart from being naturally antibacterial, there’s just nothing positive to say about metal worktops. This is probably after my 6 years of waitressing as a student. But commercial kitchens are hot, loud, echoey and stressful places and this is really not the vibe anyone would want in their own home!
Budget aside, other elements to consider when choosing kitchen worktops is the architecture of your home and style of your kitchen cabinets. Many suppliers now provide visualisation options so you can see what your new kitchen will end up looking like.