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Kitchen worktops explained

So much choice

Gone of the Days of Henry Ford where you could have black or black!, these days there are many choices of different materials for kitchen worktops. It is no wonder Homeowners feel confused in which option best suits them.

Over the years a few major brands have grown and grown and often their marketing is very good and will lead you to their product (whilst telling you all the bad things about another product so how do we get to decide what we want).

There are also many perceptions when it comes to worktops. For example people will often say “I don’t think I want granite as it stains”, ultimately any worktop if not treated correctly can have issues its just knowing how to handle them, think of it like a car, it might work perfect when you take it out of the showroom but if you don’t maintain it and replace the oil every so often at some point in time even the most expensive car in the world will stop working

kitchen worktops explained

We are here to try and give an honest advice on the route to take, this will be different for each customer as they will have criteria, they want the worktop to meet for example:

•Durable to heat straight from the oven
•Never needs resealing
•Uniqueness by being natural
•Plain bright white with no speckles

We can try and ensure you look at the correct products based on your requirements.

Challenges to a kitchen worktop

Kitchens have many objects that are sharp, hot, hard and acidic etc meaning worktops need to be durable, all stone worktops are durable to some of these everyday challenges.

Some everyday occurrences will affect any worktop:

Chopping on the worktops

Dust – worktops which have a block colour with no movement will show up dust easily and be harder to keep looking clean.

Chemical Attack – many items like bleach, BBQ cleaner can damage a worktop.

Dropping items – heavy and blunt objects hitting the edge of the worktop can cause a chip to the edges, this is not covered by warranty

Grease – cooking oils, butters, fats can be hard to remove but cleaners will remove them, certain materials like unsealed granite can be damaged permanently by letting grease soak into the surface.

Heat – pans directly out of the oven or off the hob can cause damage on some worktops, as standard we always recommend using a trivet.

Knives – cutting directly on the worktop firstly will damage your knives but can on some worktops cause damage which cannot be removed, we recommend using a chopping board always for cutting.

Chemicals / Strong coloured foods – Exposure over long periods can cause staining issues, ensure you wipe up after yourself and don’t leave liquids sitting there longer than necessary to prevent stains..

Overhangs/Support – often in kitchens people have overhangs on islands/breakfast bars these will withstand normal day to day use, but on occasions for example a party, if people sit on the worktops it can cause it to crack.

Some are more durable to these than others, and all will need some ongoing cleaning/maintenance, unfortunately there is no self-cleaning worktop available yet!

Each of the worktops we provide performs well in most circumstances, but there is no one worktops which is a perfect solution for every potential risk. Everything has some element of trade off, and you need to think about the attributes which are more important to you.

We will do our best to give you advice so please feel free to come in to discuss or call if that’s easier.

The worktops options available

We supply a large range of different worktop materials from many suppliers. Here is a summary of the different types:

Concrete – is not common in the UK, used much more in the USA, the worktops are often made in situ in the kitchen so will have minimal seams, there will be ongoing sealing required with this type of worktop and sometimes can have staining from leaching of the concrete.

Corian/Solid Surface – this is a seamless worktop, you can see the joints, but to touch they will be seamless and smooth. This worktop scratches more easily than others and often people will have it re-sanded every couple of years which will bring it back like new. Corian is one of the most hygienic worktops due to being seamless and is standard in hospitals/dentists etc to stop the spread of bugs!

Dekton/Neolith/Lapitec – has high resistance to scratching and staining (although the polished finishes are more prone to show scratches) the material has a printed surface so the edges, grooves will look different to the main worktop surface. Whilst it is a worktop much more durable in chipping, the edges are just as likely to chip as a quartz or granite if hit with a blunt edge object

Glass – very stain resistant and high chemical resistance, although the high gloss finish makes it very hard to keep it from being smeary

Granite – Hard wearing against scratching, strong for overhangs, it can chip if hit with a blunt object. If the worktop is sealed and ongoing sealer is applied staining should not be an issue. But you can get some granites pre-treated so you won’t need to do anything for 10+ years.

Laminate – economical , but not very tough, once the surface has been chipped or pictured and water penetrates the worktops life is over, prone to heat and water.

Quartz -hard wearing against scratches, strong for overhangs, can chip on the edge if hit with a blunt object, large array of colours and price groups almost now the industry standard. Can be hard to clean in dark black colours

Stainless Steel – almost indestructible, although can be smeary when cleaned, It can be scatched and is a very industrial look often seen in commercial kitchens.

Wood – unique and warm look, very hard to stop it staining or water marking, often used as feature on islands, very good and soft to chop on.

kitchen worktops explained

If you need any further advice then please contact us.