Premium Kitchen Worktop Surfaces, Wood, Granite, Corian and Composite quartz are all popular worktop options in today's domestic kitchens. The question is how do you know which one is the right choice for you? To make things even more confusing Stainless steel, Concrete, Slate, & even Glass could be added to your list of possibilities. The trouble is, there isn't necessarily one perfect solution for everyone. It is, therefore, a matter of considering what's best for you and your family's lifestyle as well as the look and feel you're trying to create.
Timber worktops. Offering a warm, tactile feel that's hard to beat. Although timber is a durable and an aesthetically pleasing material, over time wood can begin to wear and age more rapidly than other solid material options. It's therefore important that you follow the maintenance guidelines in order to avoid discoloured, stained or worst still, warped surfaces before too long. If you love the idea of wood worktops but aren't overly enamoured with the thought of oiling many metres of wood every 3-6 months, choosing a combination of wood and other materials could be a favourable option. Perhaps by using a more durable surface around the high mileage zones such as the sink and the hob, saving the wood for a breakfast bar or areas less prone to getting wet or needing regular cleaning. Also bear in mind that woods, which are naturally oily such as Iroko will require less maintenance, as they take longer to dry out. Something to keep in mind is that wood fabrication can vary massively and has a direct impact on the cost. If you are looking for a clean but traditional look then wide staves is a lovely option, however, the use of wider prime timbers can increase cost depending on the type of timber you use. Narrower stave worktops are generally cheaper but often have more colour variation and have shorter lengths giving a blocked looked that isn't always desirable. Full-length staves can be expensive but create a continues run of timber from one end of the worktop to the other, giving a more consistent colour across the worktop. This is a less efficient use of timber which can push prices closer to that of some granite options, so beware! Properly jointing timbers together is an important factor when looking for a high-quality wooden worktop. It will prevent the wood from splitting away from its neighbouring staves, which ensures the worktops stay flat and stable.
Granite worktops have been popular in kitchens for many years and considering how durable and how aesthetically pleasing it is, it's no wonder why they continue to be a popular choice. Although this choice of material is both practical and beautiful, the hard part is choosing which stone you prefer from a seemingly endless amount of options. You'll find quite a variance in price depending on the particular stone you choose, so be sure to check before getting too attached. Granite surfaces are obviously hard by nature and extremely durable, however, they aren't indestructible or impossible to damage. Putting hot pans or chopping directly on the surface isn't a wise move and it's unlikely that worktop fabricator will honour a guarantee for the damage this might cause. Pan rails, trivets and chopping boards should always be used to protect the super smooth and most often mirror polished surfaces. Staining granite can be a worry so some care must be taken when using your worktops day to day. It's generally not a concern when looking at darker granites, however, if you're looking for a lighter colour it's important that the granite surfaces are sealed by the fabricators prior to installation as they have fine pores, which can allow some substances to penetrate under the surface. This might result in discolouring if not cleaned up promptly. Shades such as Moon White, Valley White and Arran white are all granites which typically need extra care where spillages are concerned. Seek further guidance relating to your exact choice so you make the right choice for your household. Despite all that, granite simply cannot be matched when it comes to natural beauty and I would almost always advise a visit to your fabricator's workshop or stone yard to find the exact piece of stone for your project. Small samples don't always give you the full picture.
Composite (Quartz) stone has become increasingly popular in recent years. Manufactured with over 90% quartz stone and bonded together with resin. The materials durability and clean crisp look is a popular choice for contemporary applications. However, it's a common misconception that Composite worktops are the cheaper option to granite when in fact this could not be further from the truth. On average you could actually expect to pay 30% more for composite compared to granite. The beautiful thing about composite worktops is that it feels, look and acts like granite however it requires less maintenance due to being non-porous and stain resistant. Available in many colours and interesting stone effects, in my opinion, it's ideal for a busy household that's looking for a more neutral aesthetic. It could be argued that it does lack the natural beauty you get with real stone but I have found that Composite worktops are a favourable choice when trying to create a contemporary design. Therefore, this material might not be your first choice if you're going for the more traditional look. Although the increasingly popular marble effects that are now available look incredibly impressive when paired with a Shaker style or other traditional kitchen designs.
Corian worktops may not be something you're too familiar with. Produced using a material called bauxite, (the by-product of the production of aluminium) then bonded with resin. It can be seamlessly joined to flow across your entire kitchen, moulded into sinks, upstands and breakfast bars. In my opinion, Corian surfaces have a slightly less opulent look than a granite or composite surfaces which I put down to the slightly matte or satin surface finish it has, giving a more understated effect. It particularly lends itself to contemporary design where a minimalist effect is desired opposed to a traditional or more luxurious aesthetic. When it comes to durability Corian is hard wearing but it's a softer surface so can scratch more easily than a stone alternative. However, unlike Granite or Composite, it can be repaired much more easily. Moulded sinks, coved upstands and wrap-around end panels are some of the ways you can create an impact with Corian and this is where it really stands out compared to other worktops. Due to its malleable nature, fabrication costs can often be higher than the premium price of a composite (quartz) worktop. So don't be surprised if it's the most expensive worktop quote you receive.
Stainless steel, concrete, slate, ceramic and glass are worktop options that are certainly impressive however it's unlikely that they will ever become as popular as granite or composite in a domestic kitchen. This is probably down to the fact that none of them is as durable, or arguably as beautiful and in the main are significantly more expensive. However, in the right setting they can look fantastic and I must say that I particularly like stainless steel, however denting the metal surface is a worry considering repairing could be costly. As for concrete, slate, ceramic and glass, there is a very real risk of scratching or chipping and unlike Corian, it isn't something that can be easily repaired either. If your desire for one of these options far out-weighs the risks then, by all means, go for it! Just be diligent and make sure you follow the manufacturers/fabricators maintenance guidelines to ensure that you get maximum longevity from the product you choose. It's clear to see that we are not short of options or possibilities when it comes to choosing kitchen worktop surfaces. Just be sure to choose the right product for you and your lifestyle. Premium worktops can account for a notable portion of your project cost so it's not something you want to repeat again in a hurry. At Steven Andrews bespoke we will guide you through every part of the process so that you are fully aware of the benefits and the risks of your choices.
Contact us today to discuss your project.