One of the most vital parts of a kitchen is the kitchen worktops.
They not only provide the all-important space for food preparation but they also contribute an important part to the kitchen’s looks.
They come in a range of materials including laminate, wood, stone and stainless steel.
The most widely chosen kitchen worktops is laminate. It has the benefit of not costing as much as many of the other choices, is easy to keep clean and comes in a range of designs and colours.
A drawback is that chopping directly onto laminate or placing hot pans on it will cause damage – but that is the case with many of the more expensive choices as well.
Laminate can’t be repaired if it is damaged and the seams, where the pieces are joined, will show.
Wood will always produce a distinctive look to any kitchen worktops, making it an excellent choice for areas such as breakfast bars.
The choices include oak, maple, walnut, beech, ash, walnut and cherry. Natural woods will look silky and glow when well looked after.
But when it comes to practicality wood has its drawbacks. It is easily damaged by chopping or hot pans. There is also the care it needs to keep it looking good.
Wood has the advantage over most other materials that it can be sanded to remove marks and stains. But that isn’t a quick or easy job. Wood also needs regular coats of oil applied to keep them in tip-top condition.
Stone sounds rather utilitarian but it covers those remarkable natural materials such as granite, marble and quartz.
None of these will be cheap to purchase but their durability and appearance will more than make up for the cost.
Granite is popular for stone worktops and with good reason. It is found throughout the world giving us colours and patterns, which have been formed by different geological conditions, making its forms very varied.
Because it is a natural material no two pieces are the same a factor that adds to its charm.
It has the added properties of not scratching or burning, but unless it is sealed it will absorb stains, as it is a porous material. Resealing will also be needed after a few years to protect the granite.
Being a natural material granite does have to be quarried and prepared making it an expensive option, but one that will repay with good looks and service for many, many years.
Like granite this is another attractive material with a long life expectancy.
This limestone comes in a range of colours, with a beautiful marbling effect and a sleek smooth finish.
Like granite it is hardwearing and will give many years of excellent service. But also like marble it is more expensive than materials such as laminate.
Quartz is natural stone which has been blended with resins to give a non-porous and hygienic surface. Pigments are also introduced to produce a wide choice of colours.
Like other stone products it is stain, scratch and heat resistant. It can be even more expensive than granite, but the choice of colours and finishes make it a real investment.
Solid Work Tops
Solid worktops are a popular choice with kitchen designers. One of the best known materials is Corian.
Developed more than 30 years ago it is, quite literally, a solid blend of minerals, pigments and acrylic polymer.
The product is moulded which does away with joins. An example of this is constructing the backsplash in one piece with the worktop.
Its solid construction makes it very durable, and because it is moulded it can be shaped to give worktops an interesting and unusual appearance such as curved edgings.
It comes in a wide range of colours and can even give the opportunity to create your own design on the worktop. Like natural stones it is an expensive material.
Stainless steel gives any kitchen a modern, sleek and stylish look. Most widely seen in domestic kitchens on sinks and draining boards its use can be widened to all worktops and cabinet fronts.
It can be shaped to form back splashes that don’t need joins, but to keep that cool clean look does make it high maintenance and needing regular cleaning.
One drawback is that it can be dented and it also scratches, but like every other kitchen worktops the ideal solution is to use chopping boards. It’s kinder to the work surface and the knives.
One advantage is that stainless steel can be bleached without any fear of harm or loss of colour.
This non-corrosive and durable material does come at price, and could be used to make an impact in a few places in the kitchen.
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