8 Kitchen Worktop Materials and How Well They Work
Whether you blame Covid lockdowns, recipe box subscriptions, or the latest high-tech kitchen appliances, everyone’s spending more time in the kitchen. Meanwhile, popular open-plan spaces remove the option of simply shutting the door on the catastrophic mess of a big meal, before settling in for a relaxing evening.
The modern kitchen worktop, then, has to work harder than ever before. Impenetrable when standing up to increased use, yet simple and quick to clean, returning to its sleek and stylish position as a backdrop to the perfect interior with ease. Here are ten of the most common kitchen worktop materials in a crowded market.
One of the strongest, most durable worktops around, the scratch-, stain-, heat- and impact-resistant Superstone quartz comes with a warranty of up to 50 years. It has a consistent composition, so although sparkling depth and artistic veining are available options, there’s no large variation from one end of the worktop to the other. What’s more, quartz is thermoformed, meaning bespoke shapes and sizes are molded and installed without joints, allowing the non-porous, anti-bacterial surface to be cleaned with ease.
Nothing quite sells luxury like a granite kitchen worktop. A completely natural slab-cut product, granite guarantees an absolutely unique pattern and colouring, yet the surface itself can be finished in contemporary matt, or a classically beautiful polish. It’s heat, scratch and water resistant, but the durability of granite does require sealing.
Another natural stone product in many ways marble appears to be quartz and granite’s off-brand cousin. The porous rock needs regular sealing to keep up its general protection; it’s not acid resistant, so as well as high-school chemistry, chopping lemons also demands a chopping board; and it’s also susceptible to scratches, so be careful with watches, belt buckles, and jewelry – as well as knives. It is, however, naturally cool. So an excellent choice for baking and pastry work. While for some, the beauty of its naturally-occurring veins is enough to forget its other faults.
If unique and natural patterning is at the top of your wishing tree, then the warmth and depth of naturally-grained wood could be a suitably welcoming and environmental worktop option. Wooden worktops are easy to cut down to the right size, and indeed to cut out whatever shapes you need it to fit around. Easy to cut, however, works both ways, so be sure to save the surface from scratches and scorches with boards and trivets.
The time-consuming sealing process for porous wooden worktops still leaves the surface susceptible to damage if spills and stains are left for long periods. Alternatively, laminate kitchen worktops are more resistant to impact and water, and the mimicking material is often a more functional option, suiting a wide variety of design schemes.
While wood provides either cozy and inviting or rustically charming environments to cook in, smaller and naturally low-light kitchens can benefit from the reflective bounce of a glass worktop. Extremely non-porous, stain-resistant, and jointless, glass is ridiculously easy to clean compared to other surfaces, but far harder to keep that way long-term, with constant cleaning required to keep easy-to-spot watermarks at bay.
Naturally hygienic and easy to clean, completely waterproof and heat resistant, the commercial advantages of stainless steel worktops give cookspaces that high-grade kitchen look. In a residential setting, however, it’s a good idea to tone down the look with softer materials elsewhere in the palette. Easily molded steel worktops, however, can continue into sinks and draining boards without joints, while the easy-to-scratch material gives a certain character that freshly shined steel surfaces miss.
Man-made stone worktops
Corian Solid Surface is poured as liquid, so the non-porous and stain-resistant worktop can mold seamlessly into sinks and splash back, with any possible color available. Concrete’s stripped-back industrial look, meanwhile, is extremely fashionable right now, but choosing the material for a kitchen worktop demands plenty of sacrifices. The heavy, porous material is easy to stain and hard to clean, plenty structurally durable but not especially scratch resistant, and difficult to fit. A good alternative is next125’s NX 950 fitted kitchen. With all the durability, hygiene, and functional attributes of ceramic, itself one of the most functional worktop materials, but is made to look like concrete.