Choose the Perfect Worktops for Your Kitchen
By Tara Neil
Your choice of worktop will make a big difference to the way your kitchen looks. It will also make a difference to its functionality, and this factor is sometimes not as well-appreciated as the look. Choosing the right material and style is important, both for creating your ideal kitchen environment and for creating a durable food preparation surface that is suited to your needs.
There are a few natural materials that can be used to make surfaces. One of the most popular is wood. It’s certainly attractive, and there is a warmth to the colour of a wooden worksurface. It is relatively easy to install and to repair, and can be easily tailored to the shape of your kitchen. Unfortunately, it is also high-maintenance. It doesn’t like water, and it is fairly susceptible to burning, scratching, and staining. It needs regular oiling to keep it in good condition.
Some kinds of stone are also popular choices for kitchen worktops. Notably, granite and marble are good choices. Marble is truly beautiful and comes in a range of colours but, as far as stone worktops go at least, it is fairly susceptible to scratching and staining. Granite is much more hardwearing but it also requires very strong cupboards to support its weight and, as a porous material, needs regular sealing.
There are also a variety of man-made materials that can make excellent worktops. Solid surface worktops are made generally from a mixture of resin with various minerals. They can be formed into any shape, look virtually seamless even when made from multiple pieces, and come in a range of styles. They are also durable and, since they are the same material all the way through, can even be carved to make draining boards. They can be vulnerable to scratching, however, and will be scorched by direct contact from hot pots and pans.
Laminates are a very common man-made worktop material. They have a less-than-perfect reputation, but modern laminates are miles ahead of the older ones that spawned that reputation. They make for affordable, long-lasting worktops that can look convincingly like other materials, but can be vulnerable to scratches and scorch marks.
Glass makes for visually stunning and decidedly modern worktops. The kind of glass used for worktops does not break easily, and offers simple maintenance. It’s highly heat-resistant and almost completely water-resistant. It can scratch, but lighter scratches can be polished out, and etched glass is an option that does a very good job of concealing scratches.
Another synthetic option that a lot of people don’t consider, is concrete. Concrete can be moulded to a range of shapes, and can come in a variety of colours. It is very durable and just gets harder as it ages, and its bold appearance makes it a great statement piece. However, it is less robust than you may think, and visible seams have to be included to allow for expansion. It will usually also have to be poured in-place, and this can mean a period of a couple of weeks before you can use your kitchen again. It is also prone to staining and needs regular sealant treatments.
Tara Neil are kitchen, bathroom and bedroom specialists, with a wide variety of styles available in our kitchen showroom in Woodley, Reading.