What worktop is best for my kitchen?
One of the most common questions when buying a new kitchen is, “how do I choose the right worktop?”. Peter Nolan, Director of Sales at Callerton Kitchens, is here to guide you through some of the most popular options.
Worktops are a focal point of the room and therefore it is vital that they enhance the overall look of your kitchen. However, they are called worktops for a reason as you will use them every day, so they need to withstand the workload you place on them.
If you prepare a lot of food from scratch or have a busy household with lots of people using the kitchen every day, you need something durable and hardwearing. If your kitchen is the heart of the party when you’re entertaining you, perhaps you’d prefer something more striking? And if you lead very busy lives, you might want maintenance-free materials.
From working across the North East with a wide range of clients, we know that their most popular worktop choices are: laminate, granite, solid wood, quartz, and solid surface. All of these materials have different advantages and will give your kitchen a different look.
We’ll start with the most affordable but oddly the least popular with our clients – laminate. This is a layered surface bonded onto a chipboard core. It comes in a huge variety of colours and finishes, meaning you’re not restricted on choice – laminate finishes can mimic everything from wood to marble.
Laminate is easy to cut and joint on site, which can also save time as well as money. Other benefits include being water resistant and it’s an easy surface to wipe down. It’s relatively low maintenance and doesn’t scratch easily.
Downsides are that laminate can peel over time, as the surface comes away from the chipboard. It also does not recover from coming into contact with heat – it can burn or even melt.
Our advice is that laminate is worth considering if you are on a tight budget, but otherwise we would recommend an alternative.
Granite is very popular at the moment and for good reason – it can elevate a kitchen design from “excellent” to “stunning”!
It’s a gorgeous stone that is long lasting, heat resistant and practical, but it does require a little maintenance to keep it looking at its best.
Granite is so robust that it is very unlikely to chip or scratch. And it will also not get damaged if you end up placing a hot pan directly onto the worktop. It’s fairly easy to keep clean, but don’t use harsh cleaners on it – soft soap or a dedicated granite spray – and use a cloth rather than a sponge.
Granite does need to be sealed and it will need resealing every 10 years or so. It is also not cheap, but this brings us back to the question of price versus value. You might pay a bit more up front than for materials like laminate, but if you look after it right, granite will last a lifetime.
Wood worktops can add a lot of character to a kitchen while still scoring high on durability – but you have to put the work in to maintain them. If you’re after a country-style kitchen then wood should be high on your list of choices.
Wood worktops are typically lower cost than granite and come in a variety of grains and shades, meaning you can get the perfect look for your kitchen. They also tend to age like a fine wine if they’re well looked after.
Speaking of which, if you want to avoid marks and stains then you have to be quick with the cloth to wipe up any spills – and avoid using chemicals on wood worktops. Also, if you do end up with scratches and stains, you can sand them away, which is virtually impossible with other worktop materials.
You also should oil your worktops a couple of times a year to keep it in pristine condition – and common sense dictates that you shouldn’t chop food directly onto it or it will mark. Similarly, it won’t thank you for putting a hot pan directly onto it.
So, while wood is not as durable as stone, with the right care and treatment it can last for just as many years.
Quartz worktops – also known as composite stone worktops – are engineered from crushed minerals which are blended with binding agents and resins. This creates a very hard wearing, watertight surface and with the right choice of brand also offers stain and heat resistance.
Quartz has grown in popularity because it combines the look and feel of natural stone with the low maintenance of synthetic alternatives. It is as durable as granite, if not more so, and requires less frequent resealing. Everyday cleaning is easy, just use a cloth and warm soapy water.
Quartz is certainly not the cheapest option on our list, but it is popular for a reason. It’s attractive, durable and low maintenance, meaning it ticks a lot of boxes.
- Solid surface
Solid surface worktops are a combination of acrylic resin, natural composite material, and ink pigments. They are thermo-formed to create a smooth satin finish, ultra-hygienic, non-porous work surface.
As with laminate there is a limitless range of colours and finishes, from natural stone to concrete effect, and from translucent and solid colours. The nature of the material means that they can be completely seamless.
From a practical perspective they are stain resistant also whilst repairable. Solid surface worktops also have some heat and scratch resistance, but not to the same extent as quartz or granite. You benefit from a surface that is easy to clean and worktop that is low maintenance.
Ask for advice
If you’re not sure about which worktop is right for your new kitchen, check out these completed kitchens for some inspiration!
Alternatively, talk to us – Peter and the team are always on hand to help!