So you’ve decided to have a kitchen re-fit to herald in the summer months and all that’s left now is to choose the ideal worktop material for your kitchen worktops – simple right? Not necessarily, In fact, with such a wide range of materials to choose from, finding the right material for your kitchen worktops can often be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you decide on the right worktop material for your kitchen.
1. GRANITE WORKTOPS
There are a number of key benefits to granite worktops. Here are just a few pros of granite worktops.
- Easy to maintain – The superb finish of granite makes it extremely easy to clean and maintain.
- Extremely durable – Granite is one of the most durable materials in the world and is denser and stronger than all other natural stone. Each slab is unique and heavily resistant to scratching and staining making it a firm favourite for kitchen worktops and surfaces.
- Heat resistant – s one of the most durable materials in the world, Granite is also extremely heat resistant – yet another quality that makes it an ideal material for kitchen worktops
- New range = Lower cost – There are now a number of Granite materials that out-price even Marble Carrara worktops, which were previously seen as some of the least expensive natural stone materials around. Steel Grey and Azul Platino granite are among some of these new materials that we now stock in our very own Bristol showroom in Kingswood.
- Versatile Design – Granite is also a highly versatile material. It can be moulded to a variety of unique shapes and styles – ideal for bespoke designs and fittings.
Despite their beautiful looks and durability, Granite worktops also have their drawbacks:
- Extremely Heavy – Granite worktops are extremely heavy and difficult to move around.
- Porous Material – Granite is a porous stone, meaning that if it is not correctly sealed the counters can absorb wine, juice or other oily liquids, causing the worktops to create stains that may be rather difficult to remove.
- Can be pricey– As beautiful and hard-wearing as it may be, certain types of Granite are still a little pricier than their other stone material counterparts.
- It’s not 100% bulletproof – Just because Granite is an extremely durable material, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is 100% bulletproof. In other words, despite its extremely hard-wearing properties if a heavy object is dropped on a corner of the worktop, it can still crack or chip the granite.
2. MARBLE WORKTOPS
Renowned for its timeless beauty and individual character, marble is yet another popular choice of natural stone worktops. Like granite, marble worktops have has its fair share of pros and cons:
- Dazzling beauty – Marble stone is well known for its exquisite beauty and natural veining. Each slab is unique and comes in an array of spectacular colours and patterns.
- Heat resistant – As a naturally cool material, marble is very heat resistant. This means that it can easily withstand hot pots and pans that are prone to kitchen worktops
- Easy To Maintain – Like granite, the smooth finish of marble makes it exceptionally easy to clean and maintain.
- Scratching – Due to its porous nature, marble is susceptible to staining, particularly oily and acidic liquids like red wine and cooking oils used in the kitchen
- Regular Maintenance – As beautiful as it is, marble is highly susceptible to scratching and staining. This means regular maintenance and cleaning are needed and therefore it’s important to be cautious with any spills, particularly from acidic and oily foods or liquids.
- Repairs – Whilst marble tiles in a bathroom can easily be removed or replaced at a fairly modest cost, replacing a whole kitchen unit is much more difficult and costly.
3. QUARTZ WORKTOPS
A material that is becoming increasingly popular in recent years is quartz worktops. Otherwise known as engineered stone, it is a man-made alternative to more traditional natural stone worktops like granite. Engineered to include a number of similar qualities to its natural stone counterparts, but at a more affordable cost, Quartz has a number of pros and cons.
- Hard-wearing & durable – Like granite, Quartz is an extremely durable material. It is highly resistant to scratching and staining, yet with added flexibility, making it far easier to work with when it comes to installation and bespoke worktop edging.
- Minimal Maintenance – Like their Granite counterpart, Quartz worktops are extremely easy to clean and maintain. A simple clean using a mild dish-washing soap and warm water is all that is needed to keep these worktops looking as good as new.
- Non-Porous Stone – As a non-porous stone, Quartz resists staining from household acids, mould and mildew much better than its natural stone counterparts. As non-porous, Quartz worktops also require no sealing.
- Antibacterial – As a non-porous surface Quartz worktops will not harbour bacteria or viruses, another factor that makes them an ideal choice for kitchen counters, bathroom worktops, flooring, splashbacks and vanity tops.
- Very heavy – Quartz countertops can often be even heavier than granite.
- Not as heat resistant – Quartz worktops are not as resistant to heat as other natural stone materials like Granite so make sure you are careful when using any hot pots and pans in the kitchen.
- Weathering – Unlike its natural counterparts, Quartz stone can start to fade in colour if exposed to too much natural sunlight
- More visible seams – Seams can also be seen more readily on Quartz worktops – however these are notably less visible when you choose a slab that is darker in colour.
4. LAMINATE WORKTOPS
Like hardwood, Laminate worktops are another cost-effective and versatile kitchen worktop material and have become increasingly important in recent years. However whilst laminate worktops may look like a great option on paper there are a number of drawbacks with the material. Here is a list of the main pros and cons for the material:
- Cost-effective option – Laminate worktops are one of the least expensive materials around and so this makes them a very popular choice for many homeowners on a tighter budget
- Durability – Despite the lower price, Laminate worktops are still extremely durable and resistant to scratching, heat and staining.
- Easy to install – Whereas natural stone materials such as granite and marble stone require installation from specialist craftsmen, laminate worktops are quick and easy to fit.
- Must be treated with care – Whilst they may be resistant to scratches, stains and heat, Laminate worktops require regular care in order to maintain their look and feel. As with other worktop surfaces it is important that you try to avoid cutting or placing any hot pans directly onto the work surface in order to prevent any unwanted damage.
- Shorter lifespan – Unlike other natural stone materials like Granite, Laminate worktops are more likely to deteriorate with age and more prone to dinks and other marks as the years go by – this is particularly noticeable in cheaper laminate worktop options.
- Susceptible to water damage – Due to its timber base there is an increased risk of water ingress with laminate worktops, meaning that water could end up penetrating the joints of the worktop and cause the timber to blow.
5. CORIAN WORKTOPS
Unlike other solid surfaces, Corian worktops are not made up of a chipboard core. Instead, they are formed from an acrylic resin combined with natural minerals. This provides an added level of flexibility and means that the work surface can easily be cut into a number of different shapes and sizes.
Easy to maintain – Corian worktops are, for the most part, easy to maintain and minor scratches or marks to the surface can easily be overcome with everyday cleaning products.
Stain resistant – Like other stone counterparts such as Granite and Quartz, Corian worktops are a non-porous material and this means they are able to stand up to daily wear and tear, and staining.
Easy to cut, shape and install – Like hardwood worktops, Corian worktops can be moulded in a variety of different shapes and the joints between the different sections of the worktop can be made to look seamless.
Expensive – Corian worktops are known to be more expensive than other solid surfaces due to its enhanced qualities and flexibility. Yet the benefits they offer do not necessarily outweigh the longer-term benefits that natural stone materials such as granite can provide.
Doesn’t age well – Unlike their natural stone counterparts, Corian worktops are known to collect minor scratches and colourations over time.
Avoid hot pots and pans – As with other worktop materials such as marble, corian worktops are often more susceptible to damage from hot pots and pans than other worktop materials such as Granite and Quartz stone. In a similar vein, you should always make sure to avoid cutting directly onto a Corian work surface as this can damage the worktop. Instead, make sure to use a chopping board or worktop protector to prevent scratching or marking the surface.
STILL NEED HELP?
Still struggling to decide on the ideal material for your kitchen worktops, or would like to hear more on how stone worktops can offer a wealth of benefits to your kitchen space? Then get in touch with one of our expert team today and we’ll happily help you find the right material for your needs. Alternatively, pop on down to our Bristol showroom and see our exclusive range of stone materials on display.