Mark Barry takes us through your options when it comes to selecting a Kitchen Worktop for your home.
Undoubtedly, the task of choosing a kitchen worktop can be quite tricky. The most important elements that one should bear in mind are budget, practicality, durability and style.
While granite may top your list, budgetary constraints may mean that you have to settle for laminate.
The perfect worktop should be able to endure hot pans, wine, oil, acidic food and even coffee while being scratch proof and low maintenance. In addition, it should also fit with your kitchen’s style. Below, therefore, is a look at the different types of worktops that are available and their benefits:
As the name suggests, stainless steel countertops are stain resistant and easy to clean. They are also waterproof, acid and heat resistant and their antibacterial properties mean that they work well in most food preparation areas. Stainless steel is perfect for contemporary designs as well as the loft look. However, it can be very difficult to keep immaculately clean and may be a nightmare to those who cannot stand anything other than spotless surfaces.
When you have unlimited resources to spare, this is the countertop to go for. It is renowned for holding heat well as well as being the second hardest substance – after diamonds – thereby denoting the incredible durability of this surface. And while it does not stain, it is advisable to use a stone seal product after every six months in order to prevent wine and coffee stains from forming. Generally, the final cost of granite worktops depends on variables such as the finish, colour, and country of origin meaning that bargains are well within reach.
Admittedly, laminate may not be the obvious choice for many but recent countertops fashioned out of this material are getting increasingly better scratch and scorch records than in the past. Laminate also has the advantage of coming in a wide array of patterns and colours with the former quite forgiving on stains. It is resistant to liquids, chemicals, and heat of up to 200ºC. Furthermore, it can mimic other materials, so if you cannot achieve the granite look just yet, it will at least get you halfway there.
Wood effuses a warm look that blends well with most kitchen designs, whether contemporary or traditional. Although wooden countertops tend to look like large chopping boards, they will last longer if you avoid cutting food on them. Wood requires little maintenance except for regular oiling which is essential and should any cracks or scratches form, all you need to do is to strip, sand, and re-seal. You also need to be aware of the damage that may be caused by hot pots and water.
While stone countertops may be expensive, they are durable and last as long as fine wine with most customers opting for composite mainly due to its long shelf-life. Additionally, stone is easy to clean, requires little maintenance, is scratch resistant, and is largely unaffected by high temperatures although the use of pot stands is recommended. And should the edges chip, they can be easily restored. However, you should be wary of stones that can be bleached by acidic food since not all varieties are entirely stain proof.