Your kitchen worktop goes through a lot: it’s where the shopping is unloaded, meals are prepared and homework is completed, so it’s important that it’s durable enough to take everything life throws at it. Yet it is also a key visual component of your space, so needs to look good and complement your cabinetry.
Choosing the right material for a kitchen worktop
The primary factor to consider is material, the most common options being stone, wood, man-made composite and laminate, each coming with its own unique properties.
Natural stone and wood, with their varied colours and markings, look stunning in a period home, but can scratch and stain, requiring sealing and regular maintenance. A fuss-free alternative is a man-made composite material, such as quartz or Corian, which blend natural minerals with resin to create highly durable surfaces that are non-porous and easy to clean. However, these can be costly and require specialist fitting.
If you’re on a budget, laminates are the best choice. Comprising a plastic overlay and design layer bonded to man-made board, they can mimic hundreds of finishes, from weathered wood to veined marble, at a fraction of the price, while being water resistant. Alternatively, zinc, stainless steel and concrete are becoming increasingly popular as a way to achieve an on-trend industrial look.
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Where to buy a worktop
Specialist natural stone and composite worktops are usually included as part of a bespoke fitted kitchen and supplied by the cabinetmaker. However non-specialist laminates and some timber worktops can be bought in standard sizes or by the metre, then cut to size and fitted by a tradesperson or competent DIYer.
Finally, kitchen worktops are big investments so, once installed, make sure you know how to care for them. For impenetrable man-made composites and laminates, soap and water or a mild detergent is all that’s required, but timber surfaces will need oiling at least once a year.