Back

03 December 2018

The Pros and Cons of Worktops

Designing a new kitchen and not sure where to start when it comes to choosing a worktop?

From solid timber to precious marble, practical laminate to professional kitchen grade stainless steel.  There is a worktop out there to suit every style, budget and requirement.

And, what’s more, the trend analysts out there are saying that combining work surfaces is the way to go so you don’t need to contend with just choosing one option, you can choose two if you like – but which one or two options do you decide on? And what thickness do you choose? With worktops starting from 20mm and thicker the options are essentially endless.  But fear not, we are here to help you decide on that all-important surface for your new kitchen.

GRANITE 

Granite is a natural stone formed from cooled magma. Its colours range from pinks and reds to greys and browns and each piece is unique.  It is a beautiful and exceptionally hardwearing worktop. 

Granite Worktops via Living EtcGranite Worktops via Living Etc


Pros

Granite is hardwearing, heat, water and scratch resistant, antibacterial and easy to clean (but take care with wine and citric acid, these should be cleaned up quickly to avoid any damage).  When sealed properly it is stain resistant. It’s the ideal option for those looking for a very long-lasting worktop.

Cons

Its exceptionally heavy so requires excellent support and very specialised installation. It’s also one of the more expensive options.

Maintenance

Doesn’t require any maintenance if sealed and installed correctly. A worktop that could last you a lifetime. 

MARBLE

Beautiful and elegant natural stone that is particularly veiny and has a patterned look. Ranging in colour from light greys and off-whites to pinks, greens, browns and black.

Marble Worktops & Splashbacks via Devol KitchenMarble Worktops & Splashbacks via Devol Kitchen

Pros

Oozes timeless charm and if well maintained it can last a lifetime. Easy to clean. 

Cons

Marble is softer than granite and quartz and is more prone to burns and scratching and easily stained by an acid solution, red wine, coffee, tea, oils and juices if not cleaned immediately. Also one of the more expensive options.

Maintenance

Requires a daily wipe down with a microfiber cloth and warm water.

QUARTZ

Quartz or engineered stone is a manmade alternative to traditional granite and marble worktops.  It’s made of crushed quartz bound together with resin to create a hardwearing and customizable worktop.

Quartz Worktops & Splashbacks via Living EtcQuartz Worktops & Splashbacks via Living Etc


Pros

Quartz worktops are hardwearing, durable, easy to clean, antibacterial and available in a wide variety of finishes. And for those that prefer it, it offers a far more uniform look and finish than its natural stone alternatives.

Cons

It’s very heavy, requires very specialist installation, expensive and not as heat resistant as granite.

Maintenance

Doesn’t require any maintenance

SOLID TIMBER

A great option for traditional and contemporary kitchens. Examples include oak, walnut, beech and birch being some of the most popular options.  Oak is durable and darkens over time and walnut is another durable option. Beech and birch are lighter options and great to compliment darker kitchens which are becoming more and more popular.

Solid Timber Worktops via NeptuneSolid Timber Worktops via Neptune


Pros

Solid wood is durable and beautiful and ages well if taken care of properly, gaining a beautiful patina.  Less expensive than stone options. Wide variety of wood grains and colours and each worktop is unique. Antibacterial if well maintained. 

Cons

Specialist installation and maintenance are key.  Solid worktops could also warp if not installed correctly and protected by, for example, end caps. Oak may require weekly oiling until it matures. Can become stained and scratched but this can be sanded out and re-oiled. 

Maintenance

It can be sanded down to repair scratches but simply apply a decent oil to ensure that the surface remains beautiful. 

LAMINATE

Invented in Sweden in the 1970’s, laminate worktops have come a long way since the traditional bull nosed worktops of the early days.  Nowadays it is one of the most popular options on the market with the combination of high definition realistic printing, 3D embossing and tight radius squared off edges laminate worktops are so realistic it’s difficult to tell them apart from their real counterparts and they come at a fraction of the price.

Laminate Worktops & Splashbacks via Architectural Digest & Living EtcLaminate Worktops & Splashbacks via Architectural Digest & Living Etc


Pros

They are readily available, cost effective, low maintenance and easy to install.  In fact, if you’re feeling handy you can install the tops yourself saving the cost of a professional installer.

The range of options on laminates is vast from realistic grains and marbles to on trend super matt solid colours that are fingerprint resistant and they come in a wide range of thicknesses from 20mm to 50mm so you are certain to find a top to suit your style.

They are heat resistant but it’s not possible to put a hot pot directly on the worktop as it can damage it.

Cons

While laminate worktops are water resistant, if water is left to seep through the joins or down the back of the worktop water damage can result in the surface bubbling up and the top warping. 

While the surface is extremely hardwearing, scratching can happen and it is not possible to repair any damage by scratching.

Also worth noting is that cheap worktops are just that: cheap. This is also the case with laminate tops, always ensure you shop around and know what you are buying. A good quality laminate worktop that is properly looked after can last a long time. A bad quality laminate worktop won’t.

Maintenance

No real maintenance required just the use of gentle non-abrasive kitchen cleaner. 

COMPOSITE

Worktops that have become increasingly popular in recent years such as Corian and Caesarstone. They are made up of a blend of minerals and acrylic polymers.

Corian Worktops via Living EtcCorian Worktops via Living Etc


Pros

They offer design flexibility as they can be moulded to suit your requirements to include bespoke shapes including carving the kitchen sink into the worktop.  They are long lasting and need little treatment after installation. They are harder than natural stone. Scratches are repairable. 

Cons

One of the most expensive kitchen solutions. They require a highly trained specialist for installation as well as repair.

They can stain so it’s essential to wipe up any spills as soon as they happen. 

Maintenance

Wipe down with a non-abrasive detergent.

CONCRETE

Made from a mixture of concrete and aggregates, concrete worktops can be precast or installed on site to create a completely bespoke surface.

Rustic Concrete Worktops & Splashbacks via PinterestRustic Concrete Worktops & Splashbacks via Pinterest


Pros

Concrete is hardwearing and increases in durability as it hardens over time.

Cons

It shows stains, it can crack and it requires a professional to install it. Setting can take up to 30 days.

Maintenance

Concrete needs proper sealing when installed and resealing every couple of years as it can become a haven for bacteria.

STAINLESS STEEL

 The go-to worktop for all professional kitchens, stainless steel is an alloy for iron that has been treated with chromium which forms a film on the surface that protects it from rusting over time. It’s perfect for industrial style kitchens.

Stainless Steel Worktops via PinterestStainless Steel Worktops via Pinterest


Pros

Its strong, durable, naturally antibacterial, easy to clean, waterproof, heat and acid resistant and very light. 

Cons

It can be cold and clinical. It's prone to scratching and denting. The surface does heat up considerably when hot pots are placed on it.

Maintenance

Use a mild non-abrasive detergent. 


*Cover Image via Architectural Digest taken by Richard Caplan

 

Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.