Kitchen worktops radically changed from sitting in the backseat to becoming the star of your kitchen, setting the tone and style for the heart of your household. Nowadays, they need to be stylish, tough and functional, which is why carefully choosing the right surface material is tough as nails.
Tempting as it is, you can’t simply pick out a worktop material based on looks. If it were, granite, marble or even quartz worktops would be your leading choices.
You need to consider other factors, such as the durability, cost and maintenance. Added to are your personal taste, the existing style of your kitchen, among others.
So to avoid wasting resources purchasing a regretful surface material and to avoid the additional stress of deciding which material best suits your taste and needs, we have compiled the vital factors you need to make choosing an easy and fun endeavor.
Here’s what you need to factor in before investing in a kitchen worktop.
Let’s face it—the budget determines the options. You also need to include in your budget the delivery and installation. And if you’re going for natural stone surfaces, consider the re-sealing required to keep the surface looking immaculately stunning and durable.
Thanks to advancements in technology, today’s worktop materials now come in a wide range of price points, from the affordable laminates and ceramic tiles to the sought-after granites and the engineered quartz worktops.
However, note that the materials belonging to the lower price range could be a good idea at first, but could not last as long compared with composites or more durable stones.
TIP: If you have a tight budget, mix and match worktop materials. Yes, that’s a trend! Use the more expensive material for harder-working areas, while the more affordable materials on areas not-so often used. Not only will your kitchen look up to date, but also you’ll have practical and functional kitchen.
The Kitchen Layout
Consider the layout of your kitchen so that you’ll have a good idea which worktop will work best and fit your desired budget. Easier to fit and much cheaper are straight runs, whereas if there are tons of corners, opt for seamless materials like composites.
The Additional Costs
When it comes to natural stones, composites and wood, you’ll need to hire a professional since these materials will most likely need templating. Every cut out would cost you, for example, an under-mount sink or a hob.
Choosing the Best Worktop Materials for You
We’ve rounded up the ideal worktop materials for your household. They feature their own advantages and disadvantages, which are significant considerations when cementing your decision for your own kitchen.
Natural Stone: Granite
Nothing beats the beauty and uniqueness of natural stones. Each slab has its own signature veining and striation. Although more rare and expensive, marbles are more luxurious-looking and has that classical appeal.
Advantage: If you want to increase your home’s value, then granite is your best bet. This is the most desired worktop material in the market for it never goes out of fashion and fits both traditional and contemporary style homes.
Upon purchase, granite requires sealing. Then you need to reseal it after about 10 years. Another advantage of granite is it is resistant to heat and scratches and is hard-wearing, given it’s properly sealed.
It can stand up to high temperatures and is impervious to most stains. However, spilt wine of citric acids should be immediately cleaned to avoid damaging the surface.
Granite is also low maintenance. You only need a damp cloth and mild liquid detergent.
Best used for: Basically, just about any area in the kitchen, such as next to the oven or hob.
Disadvantage: Although not entirely considered by many as a drawback, granite tends to be really expensive. So if you’re in a really tight budget, you might want to consider other options.
Composite or Engineered Worktops
You’ve probably heard of engineered stones or quartz composites. These are man-made surfaces composed of about 93 to 95% natural quartz crystals and mixed with binders and resins. Thanks to advancements in manufacturing, these surfaces are known for being hygienic, hard-wearing and non-porous.
Advantages: Given its non-porous surface, quartz surfaces are resistant to stain, heat, impact and scratches. Additionally, the non-porous surface inhibits the growth of mildew, mould and bacteria, making it ideal for households with young ones.
It comes in dramatic colours, from blue to dark grey to neutrals and white. The best part—it doesn’t require any initial treatment. Also, it is virtually almost maintenance-free.
Best used for: A stylish, practical option that can be used in just about anywhere in the kitchen, including the outdoors.
Disadvantage: Prices are also comparable to that of natural stones, but again, some don’t consider this as a disadvantage.
Frequently referred to by the brand-name Formica, laminates have been the best budget-friendly worktop surface in the market. This is your best bet when the budget is tight, as installation can easily become a DIY endeavour.
Advantages: Laminates are non-porous and is resistant to steam and most stains and common kitchen chemicals. Modern-day laminates can now mimic the look of granite, wood and slate.
Laminate is also very low maintenance. All you need are a clean with a cloth and some mild detergent.
Best for: It can fit in about any household style, from modern to traditional.
Disadvantage: Laminates, however, cannot withstand steam or heat and are not an ideal cutting surface. This worktop material isn’t ideal if you’re planning on selling your house in the long run. It doesn’t add to your home’s resale value.
The Bottom Line
Modern technology has provided us with super tough materials, from virtually indestructible options like quartz worktops to budget-friendly ones that can mimic the appearance of natural stones surfaces. So when shopping around for the perfect kitchen worktop, just remember that it needs to be able to withstand the daily wear and tear of your kitchen, fit in your allotted budget and above all stylish and expresses your personal style.
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The Marble Store specializes in designing and manufacturing the finest quality worktops for their UK consumers. Over 16 years of experience in responding to the unique needs of the stone industry made them one of the grand producers of granite worktops in the country. Now, with the trust of most consumers, they are now able to produce different edge details and finishes that will make most homeowners fall in love with their creations.