How to Choose Kitchen Worktops
What material is right for you?
The choice of kitchen worktops is overwhelming. The most common materials used are cosy solid wood, affordable high-pressure laminate, strong engineered stone (quartz-stone or terrazzo) and natural stone, such as marble, granite and limestone. But which one to choose? It is worth thinking about what kind of cook you are and how durable you need a worktop.
Cosy and Warm Wood is Sensitive to Moisture
The worktop made of solid wood or glulam gives the interior a cosy and down-to-earth atmosphere. In most cases, oak and ash are used to make wooden worktops, that leave a beautiful and high-quality impression with their characteristic pattern, which is difficult to achieve with artificial materials. Unfortunately, the beautiful appearance of wood may disappear quite quickly if the worktop is in constant use and has to defy moisture and high heat. Therefore, the wooden worktop must be maintained quite often – at least twice a year for average use. One should also bear in mind that if the wood is not properly dried before cutting it into a board, the wooden surface may twist (bend). If you are willing to sand off scratches and damage and re-varnish or oil the wood, this is undoubtedly a good and environmentally friendly choice.
Laminate – Affordable and Simple to Maintain
One of the fairly common options for the worktop is a high-pressure laminate, which with its favourable price and a large selection of patterns is fit for the home of less demanding customers. Laminate is not as sensitive to water and moisture as wood, but care must be taken with heat and the pots and pans should not be transferred directly from the stove to the worktop. In the case of a laminate as well as a wooden worktop, the decision is also influenced by the fact that these materials can also be sawn and drilled by a medium-skilled handyman. And although the technology of laminate production is constantly improving, it is not to be expected that it will be a very durable material. The occurrence of cracks and scratches is likely, and it is possible that the coating glued onto the plate will come off due to moisture, especially near the sink and faucet, which are the wettest spots in the kitchen.
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Durable Quartz-stone or Engineered Stone
Scratching or permanently staining quartz worktops is quite a challenge, as the material is very strong and non-porous. Leave all cutting boards closed in a drawer, as you can freely chop food, cut bread or even hammer meat on a quartz worktop. All this is also very hygienic and the worktop is afterwards easy to clean.
Although it is an engineered material, quartz stone designers have used many nature-inspired patterns that look very natural. Nevertheless, it must be taken into account that the price per square metre of the durable quartz stone worktop is higher than that of worktops made of wood or laminate boards.
You Can Count on Granite
One of the most popular materials for natural stone countertops is granite. Granite is a very robust and long-lasting material, one of the sturdiest natural materials overall. Each granite stone has a characteristic and unique pattern with a wide range of colours. However, when looking at the appearance of and choosing the stone, it is worth taking into consideration that the darker granite stone, the stronger and more durable it is, while the light-coloured one is usually softer and more porous and more susceptible to staining.
Thus, it may be said that the classic black granite is one of the most durable countertop materials to choose from for your kitchen – scratches and stains are not usually a problem with granite, and in many cases, the countertop looks brand new years later with quite minimal maintenance requirements.
Marble – a Symbol of Luxury
Another common natural stone material is marble, which has always been a symbol of luxury. When choosing marble as a kitchen worktop, it is useful to keep in mind that this precious stone needs more prudent owners in order for the marble slab to remain beautiful and clean. Namely, compared to granite, marble is easier to scratch and acidic food products may leave marks on the stone surface. Anyhow, if the worktop is treated more carefully, maintained and also regularly impregnated, the marble material installed in the kitchen will be pleasing to the eye for long years.
If you want to enjoy the beauty of marble, but still wish a stronger worktop in the kitchen, one may also have a look at marble-like quartz stone. Parallelly, marble may be used with great success, for example, as a bathroom countertop, it is also suitable for window sills and for decorating a fireplace, either as a facade covering or for building a fireplace mantel.
Home renovators must be guided primarily by their own habits when selecting a worktop. The technical properties and appearance of the material may not be too important, if one does not spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Yet, for more serious gourmands and home cooks, durable and beautiful stone material suits better, which withstands water and heat and remains equal to new for years and even decades.
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The TOP-10 of our most popular materials in 2021
Our statistics summary from last year tells us that almost half of all the stone worktops we sold last year were quartz, and out of those quartzes the Noble collection proved to be the most successful one. Next up were the granites (close to 20%) and limestones (close to 12%), followed by marble and terrazzo (both at just a bit under 10%). Our top-10 fit five different types of quartz, three kinds of granite, one limestone (the number one spot Jura Grey) and naturally the white Bianco Carrara C marble.