Worktop woes - which material to choose ? (with video).
Choosing a worktop for your kitchen is an important step in the design process. The worktop is one of the most "stressed" components in any kitchen. It is the surface where you will be preparing delicious meals for yourself, for the family, and for your guests. Food preparation includes cutting, chopping, and even hitting (for example in the case of preparing a flank steak - the steak will have to be tenderised with a mallet), so which worktop will be right for you?
Before we proceed to discussing different materials, I would like to add that it is the worktop that will join all of your kitchen furniture together in perfect harmony, and the choice of the colour, thickness, and material is what will give your kitchen area a unique feel. By the way - if you are wondering about the worktop thickness - it tends to be between 16 and 45 millimetres depending on the material.
What to consider when choosing a worktop:
- Budget - a natural stone worktop can cost more than double the price of a laminate.
- Practicality - is the material right for YOUR cooking needs?
- Longevity - how long will the worktop last you.
- Aesthetics - does the worktop compliment the rest of your kitchen?
At Illya Kitchens, we are able to offer the following materials for your worktop, therefore it is only right that we focus on them:
Laminate worktop is probably the most wallet friendly option. Does this mean that it is not as good as the other materials? No - each material has it's bonuses. Modern laminates are manufactured from plywood, MDF (medium density fibre board), and HDF (high density fibre board), this material is then wrapped in laminate.
- Price - starting around £25-40 per meter.
- Aesthetics - modern laminates can resemble natural wood and stone worktops, with over 100 colours to choose from you will be spoilt for choice.
- Low maintenance .
- Longevity - if looked after properly, a laminate worktop can serve your kitchen for 15 years.
- Not resistant to cutting, chopping, etc - you need to ensure you use a chopping board.
- Not resistant to heat or steam.
- Belfast and undermount sinks are not compatible with laminate worktops.
Illya Kitchens rates laminate 3/5.
Natural Wood Worktop:
This choice of worktop is perfect for a cottage style or a contemporary kitchen. Natural wood worktop can also be used in a modern kitchen on an island to give the kitchen a warmer feel.
For natural wood:
- Relatively cheap.
- Aesthetically pleasing, specifically in cottage style kitchens.
- Wood ages, with time changing it's appearance - your kitchen will feel alive.
Against natural wood:
- High maintenance - wood needs to be oiled and treated regularly to protect it's appearance.
- Not resistant to hot items (a plate from a microwave is fine, but a hot pan from the hob will damage it's appearance).
- Cannot be used as a chopping board (same as laminate).
Illya Kitchens rates natural wood 2/5.
First thing to say about granite - it is a natural stone, found in the Earth's surface. Have no doubt - this is a luxury material that is priced accordingly, but if you opt for a granite worktop you will have no regrets as the longevity, natural beauty, and longevity of this worktop will be remember long after the price is forgotten.
- Best natural stone for kitchen worktop.
- Very durable.
- Can be used with Belfast and under mount sinks.
- Resistant to heat and scratches.
- Works well with any kitchen style.
- Porous - any spills, especially lemon juice and wine should be wiped as soon as possible to prevent staining.
- Requires sealing - not as often as natural wood.
Illya Kitchens rates granite 4/5.
Composite worktops such as quartz have been gaining popularity over the last decade. We often get asked the difference between granite and quartz. The main difference is that granite is a natural stone, quartz is a man made stone. There is no significant price difference between granite and quartz contrary to popular belief that granite is dearer, but please keep in mind that both granite and quartz have price groups. A black granite worktop with sparkles will be significantly cheaper than a plain black granite worktop.
- Big choice of colours.
- More durable than granite.
- Scratches can be sanded out.
- Can be used with undermount or Belfast sinks.
- Spills do need to be wiped to prevent staining.
- Does not have the "natural" hues which are present in granite.
Illya Kitchens rates quartz 5/5.
Did you know? You can have your sink made from the same material as your worktop if you choose quartz or granite, however if you would like a seamless sink (without any joints) then you should consider a Corian worktop - it is a solid surface manufactured using acrylic polymer and alumina trihydrate.
The above listed materials are the main choices in 95% of all kitchens, however if you would like to know more about materials which are not listed such as glass and stainless steel - simply give us a call or use the contact form on our website.
We hope you have found this article useful, if you have any questions please feel free to give us a call on 0203 544 4281.