Having the right worktop in your kitchen is a matter of balancing your budget with your requirements – not always an easy task. While some worktops are relatively cheap, they may not last very long and others will cost many thousands of pounds, but will last forever. Knowing what the advantages and disadvantages of each type of worktop are, will allow you to make an informed choice.
This type of worktop is by far the cheapest and will last the least amount of time. The colours you can choose are almost endless and the look can be good, although not high end. Laminate worktops need to carefully fitted, especially at the joins, so that water and other elements do not get through and blow the underlying chipboard. You should also protect the surface from excessive heat to maintain the finish.
Granite can be the most beautiful stone and when highly polished the look cannot be beaten. However, unlike many beautiful things, granite is not high maintenance. In fact all it needs is to be sealed once every ten years or so. Despite this you should be careful not to place hot pots and pans directly on the surface and spills should be cleaned up straight away. This is especially the case with anything acidic which could get into the porous surface. Granite worktops will be cut to fit, but large areas may require two or more pieces which must have a seam or seal.
Wood looks warm and inviting in a kitchen and is especially useful where food is prepared – as a bread board or cutting board as an example. However the upkeep can be time consuming for a solid wood surface. You will need to soak up spills immediately so that it does not soak into the wood grain and you will need to oil the surface regularly especially in the first weeks. You should never place anything hot on the surface and avoid cutting directly on the surface unless you want a rustic look.
This very modern look can be incorporated into any contemporary kitchen. Each piece of glass is painted on the underneath to create any colour you wish – making this very flexible. However the surface can be slippery and it can be easily scratched. This very hygienic surface will need to b regularly cleaned with glass cleaner to prevent water marks, however it will retain its sparkle if looked after.
Composite worktops can, in many cases, be produced to the exact size and shape required meaning, that there is no need for seams or joins. Composite stones come in a very wide variety of colours and finishes, which your designer will be able to advise you on the best combination to go for. This surface is very durable – more so than granite. It is more impervious to stains, more scratch resistant and is easy to look after. A simple wipe with a mild detergent is all that is required, however it is best to avoid acidic spills. It is possible to combine different stones to create a more dramatic and interesting design.
This surface is very hygienic and is used in many commercial kitchens. The look can seem industrial, however if the surface is looked after carefully it can retain its shine for a long period of time. Even though it is worth noting that scratches and dents are likely, this can oftentimes simply add to the charm of the surface.
Once you know the pros and cons of these surfaces you can decide which surface is best for you, taking your budget and kitchen design into account.