After kitchen flooring, worktops are the second largest surface in your kitchen so choosing the right one is essential. While we are often been asked what the BEST worktop is, there is no right or wrong answer, as there are pros and cons to each one. How you use your kitchen, and what your style preference is will often determine which kitchen worktop is right for you.
In our ”How to pick a kitchen worktop” article, we explore porcelain, natural and solid surfaces. We take a look at what each offers you, as well as some examples of how they might look in a real kitchen.
We’ll also run you through a checklist of things to consider when deciding on what material is right for your kitchen worktop.
So what do you need to consider?
Assess your budget – there are worktops at every price point from laminates to marble. Often budgets will dictate what you pick, but if you are lucky enough to have a healthy sum, then you’ll also need to think about:Kitchen layout – straight runs are easier to fit, while seamless materials such as composites make sense if you have lots of corners or unusual shapesChoose your profile – the depth of the worktop you choose can alter the overall look of your kitchen. Thinner profiles (12mm or 20mm) are still popular, though we’re seeing edges of up to 50mm making a resurgence.
Porcelain kitchen worktops
Porcelain has been growing in popularity as a kitchen worktop choice as it comes with a long list of pros and very few cons!
Wide selection of colours, patterns and finishesUV resistant so it won’t fadeStain resistantScratch resistant (some people even claim it’s bomb proof although I personally wouldn’t want to test this theory!)Large format sizes – giving flexibility to use one single slab where possible, and seamless joins where two or more slabs are usedComes in standard thicknesses of 8mm and 12mm which is great if you want to achieve a sleek, modern look.
Even though it is scratch resistant, it can be chipped or cracked, so extra care with heavy objects is needed.Expensive material to choose – anything from £5,000 up to £10,000 plus, depending on the size of your kitchen of courseVery difficult to mitre properly (in order to build up to a thickness of more than 12mm)
As the slabs are thin, the corners can be very sharp. If you have young kids running around this is definitely something you’ll want to consider, although you can radius the corners slightly which we have done before.
What makes of porcelain do we use?
Haven’t heard of Dekton? Well let us introduce you! Dekton is a super strong new worktop material that is completely impervious to scratches, stains, heat, ice, or thawing and is giving the likes of Quartz a run for its money as it isn’t heat sensitive.CRL StoneNeolith – great product but expensive. For the right kitchen design, this material can look amazing, modern with industrial vibes.
Natural stone worktops
We tend to use two materials that fall under the natural stone category, these are granite and marble. Granite is one of the most popular kitchen worktop choices and it is both stylish and associated with luxurious kitchen schemes.
Hard-wearing, heat resistant, antibacterial and easy to clean.
Very heavy and expensive.
Natural product so the colours may vary slightly from slab to slab, meaning if your kitchen worktop needs to come out of multiple slabs, there may be differences.
Stunning material, cool temperature – great for baking! Cost – some marbles are on the cheaper end of natural stone.
Easily scratched, easily stained and rather porous (which doesn’t bode well for heavily used kitchens!).
Our advice? If you seal it and clean it (pretty quickly after cooking) and generally take the time to look after it, then it will reward you by looking beautiful – think of it as the icing on a cake. And natural worktops are, on the whole, expensive. But there is no denying it is a classic and it won’t go out of fashion.
As kitchen worktop materials go, this one is relatively new (1960s), with the most well-known being Corian by Du Pont. It is a man-made material which can be made into any shape – a huge bonus when it comes to kitchen design as it allows you to have a worktop and a sink all crafted seamlessly from the same piece.
Uniform and consistent colouring, non-porous, heat-resistant – though a trivet is highly advised. Can form your sink out of it, meaning you can have a sink to match the worktop! Can groove the underside of the worktop for lighting relatively easily.If you scratch or damage the worktop, you are able to sand it down and have it re-finished, meaning it can last a lot longer than other surfaces.
Expensive, can be scratched, can be chipped and some say it can look slightly plastic.
Quartz and Timber Worktops
We spoke to our creative director, Richard, to gain some extra pearls of wisdom to pass on to you when it comes to your kitchen worktop.
“Mixing and matching materials in contrasting colours and textures when it comes to your kitchen worktop can provide a number of benefits; it offers versatility, can help stretch your budget further and can add an extra visual drama to your overall look.
“Different materials can serve different culinary purposes, and can be a great way of zoning different areas of your kitchen – from food prep to your breakfast bar. Two materials that work particularly well together are Quartz and Timber, with Quartz great for the cooking zone and warm wood for the eating area.”
So what are the pros and cons of using these two materials?
Non-porous – very resistant to staining, heat resistant and should they any burn marks appear. Quartz worktops can be sanded down, scratch resistant and impact resistant – Quartz can absorb substantial impacts to it.
Expensive – with so many pros to its name, Quartz isn’t the cheapest material to choose from. Not heat proof – ok so while it is heat resistant and it won’t melt/warp like some materials, placing a hot object directly on Quartz might leave a mark.
We mainly use two companies for our Quartz – Caesarstone and Silestone – with each offering different options. For example, Silestone has a wider colour variety to choose from, while Caesarstone offers a larger selection of finishing, edging selection and edge profiling.