Your choice of material defines the look and durability of your worktop
We asked our sales director Silver Suurkütt about what you need to consider when choosing the best material for your needs, what are some of the characteristics and advantages of different materials. How to make decisions that guarantee the best possible result for your kitchen or bathroom renovation?
What are some of the biggest design trends of the moment, what do the clients want now?
For the new year we have once again made a summary of our sales, which showed us that the ultimate sales hit for this year… A definite number one on our list of best-sellers for last year is the beige limestone mottled with pieces of fossils – Jura Grey.
Marble-patterned quartz has also become very trendy, while grey granites and artificial stone, quartzes, almost resembling concrete are maintaining their popularity.
We spend a big part of our home life in our kitchens and thus our kitchens need to feel cozy and look nice. In general, we can say that both kitchens and kitchen islands are getting bigger. Naturally the shapes and dimensions of our kitchen cabinets and worktops are made possible by the ever-growing space in our homes as well as the selection, but the trends and realities of architecture and property market also play considerable roles. Currently we see corner-kitchens and U-shaped kitchens more, as well as the growing use of kitchen islands.
What are the main advantages of a stone worktop?
Granite, marble, limestone, and other stones are some of the oldest materials used by man. Stones and rocks have withstood millions of years of storms and all forms of tough natural conditions. Remembering this then, it isn’t surprising how stone as the material for worktops is supremely durable and beautiful. People and their homes are different though and based on those differences in lifestyle and requirements we can decide, which kind of stone would be the best fit for you, and should you prefer marble, granite, limestone, or maybe quartz.
If your priority is beauty and uniqueness natural stone really is the only option. Marble with its singular pattern of dynamic veins or limestone with pieces of fossilized shells and plants are real and incomparable works of art in their own right. Granite is the natural stone that should always be underlined when we talk about strength and durability, but the softer marble and limestone too will stay beautiful and in mint condition for a long time with a little care and correct maintenance. We have been rolling dough on marble slabs and grinding spices with softer stone mortals and pestles for centuries – stone can take it for sure!
However, for someone looking for heavy duty kitchen it pays to remember not all stones are completely indestructible and softer stone worktops can get chipped or dented by stronger hits. The edges of the counters are more fragile, and that is something one should keep in mind when buzzing around a marble kitchen with cast iron pots or pans in hand. Another consideration should be the dimensions of the worktop as the edge of the counter reaching over any support structures can’t be made too large. Even an airier construction of an island or a bar requires some kind of support under the stone worktop.
This is, then, the perfect spot to bring up quartz, or artificial composite stone, which is even more durable and less porous than natural stone (quartz doesn’t absorb any water at all and is thus waterproof). The pattern and shade of artificial stones can achieve such remarkable similarity to its natural inspiration that one can’t always easily tell the two apart. The desired look might be grainy, mottled and speckled like granite, sleek with flowy veins like in marble, or the curious limestone feel with fossils. The colours and options available in quartz are near limitless, and shades and patterns that are not even possible in nature can definitely be achieved.
If you take care of your stone worktop properly it will last you longer than the cabinetry under it, though of course our clients sometimes want to redo their worktops to stay on top of the trends.
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Which colours are in right now?
For this there is no one single answer. Many consider different olive-tones the biggest hit of the moment, but also the classic white, black, and grey schemes are continuingly popular choices. Those who prefer lighter colours would likely pick natural marble or quartz in either pure white, beige or marble pattern. A tasteful pairing with the trendy golden or coppery taps and sinks is a bold green worktop either in marble (Verde Guatemala) or granite (Verde Savana). A very popular option currently is to go with a grey counter (such as Noble Concrete Grey for example) that will compliment furniture both in light colours and different shades of natural wood.
The overall style and atmosphere of the home should also be considered when choosing the material for kitchen worktops. Minimalism is still a very strong trend in interior design, and one that in the kitchen goes together very well with a strikingly patterned stone, letting the personality and beauty of the material take the centre stage. For such impression either a natural stone (Viscount White) or quartz (different Calcatta stones) could be considered..
How to best take care of your stone worktop?
Cleaning quartz counters is very simple as a daily swipe with a moist kitchen towel is generally enough. The more porous natural stone can be a little more sensitive when it comes to some liquids (oils, juices, soy sauce etc.). You can buy specially selected cleaning products from us at Granitop and read more about the correct maintenance of different stone worktops on our website to better ensure your counters stay beautiful and stainless. You can always print the directions out to be used for when you might not have internet connection or want to keep them always at hand.
Can you take your stone worktops with you when moving?
We at Granitop make every worktop and finished product as a special order. That means that every worktop we make and install is specially made to fit the exact kitchen it’s in. If you’re moving into a new apartment, you can of course detach and dismount the worktop and take it with you from your old place but it’s possible your old counter will not be a great fit for your new kitchen. The more specific the original room, furniture and worktop were (consider for example the exact shape and dimensions with finishings of the edges, slots for electricity, appliances, and water etc.), the less likely it’ll be to suit your needs in the next place. The stone might also crack or get otherwise damaged in the process.
So, all in all the best solution will always be to leave the counter in the kitchen it belongs to and order a new worktop from us for your new kitchen to get that perfect fit and finished look.
How much does a stone worktop cost?
We at Granitop have created a calculator on our website with which you can estimate the cost of different solutions. We also include price per square meter in the product descriptions on our website for those materials we always stock at our warehouse. However, you should consider that the price per square meter of the stone is not the only thing that factors in in the final number. Other costs include the shaping of the worktop with slots for appliances, finishing the edges, transport costs according to your location, installation etc. There is no simple and fool-proof equation with which we could give you one single number, but by using our calculator you can consider and compare your options and get as exact an estimation as possible.
Stone worktop can easily seem the expensive option at the time of the renovation or building but typically will turn out more reasonable than kitchen counters from a cheaper material, such as wood or laminate, with the maintenance they require and their much shorter lifespan. When you consider kitchen renovation as an investment in the growing value of your property it is certain, that a stone worktop will be the better option and suit your purposes significantly better than cheap materials would.
What are the most interesting new arrivals in the market at the moment?
We are constantly restocking and refreshing our selection and that’s why we don’t announce every new material we add into our catalogue. But since we’ve been talking about trends, I could single out terrazzo, which is a type of composite stone like quartz is too, but with bigger pieces of natural stone. It has been very warmly welcomed by our clients. The first and foremost difference between terrazzo and quartz is the different production. Whereas quartz is manufactured in slabs, terrazzo is produced by more “natural” means, letting it mature in containers as a block that is eventually cut into desired size pieces, calibrated, and finished in the very end of the production cycle.
Not long ago we received a comment from a client saying, “the end result is even more beautiful than I could’ve imagined!” about a terrazzo product. That kind of positive surprises aren’t that rare, as even though the stone samples are beautiful, they are still small, and the full effect can only be seen when the worktop is ready and installed in the kitchen.
Stone, as a material, is no doubt very beautiful. While marvelling at it we should still remember that a great worktop is only one part of a harmonious whole. Our worktops and other products really only get to shine so bright thanks to the brilliant work of furniture builders, manufacturers of sinks, taps and appliances, interior designers and most importantly – our clients and their impeccable taste that made the final decisions.
Want to share with us photos of your beautiful kitchen or give feedback on the process of ordering your kitchen worktops from Granitop? You can do so HERE or just use #granitopworktops tag in Instagram.