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January 11, 2009

Kitchen worktop

Filed under: Kitchen — DO or DIY @ 2:16 pm

Kitchen Worktops

The worktop is the most used element in our kitchens. They need to withstand scratches, spills, knocks, water and heat. It is important to choose a strong and durable worktop that is also hygienic and easy to clean.  These are the top 10 materials suitable for a kitchen worktop..

1, Laminate

Pros:

  • Economical
  • Great choice of colours, patterns and finishes
  • Available in different thicknesses
  • Withstand high temperatures
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • It chips easily
  • It isn’t easy to repair
  • Not totally heat resistant (hot pans will create bubbles in the melamine)

The Look:

  •  It’s cheap – and it looks it
  • "Wooden" laminates just don’t look real

Maintenance:

  • Easy, but avoid abrasives

DIY job?

Yes

2, WOOD

Light woods: beech, ash, maple and birch

Tropical woods: iroko, mahogany, teak

Other hard woods: walnut, oak

Pros:

  • Natural material
  • Wood is hygienic
  • Wood has anti-bacterial enzymes

Cons:

  • Must be treated to resist heat and moisture
  • Stains easily if oiled ( not varnished)
  • spills need to be wiped immediately
  • Can be expensive

The Look:

  • Wood looks clean and stylish
  • Dark wood is  ideal for an exotic or modern kitchen
  • If oiled, wood smells great

Maintenance:

  • Clean it with detergent and damp cloth
  • Need regular re-oiling

DIY job?

Yes. Specialist needed if you want unjointed worktops

3, Granite

Pros:

  • Natural stone
  • Hard and durable
  • Heat resistant
  • Doesn’t scratch
  • Best for a busy kitchen

Cons:

Not much – only that it can drain your bank account

The Look:

  • Many different colours and patterns
  • Timeless
  • Very stylish

Maintanance:

  • Clean with detergent
  • Avoid abrasive cleaners
  • Might need re-sealing every couple of years

DIY Job?

  • Polishing and installing a granite worktop requires a specialist
  • Granite is heavy – make sure your units can take the weight
  • Make sure the worktop can be taken through obstacles in your house (such as narrow staircases etc… really, many people forget this!!!)

4, Stainless Steel

Pros:

  • Hygenic
  • Easy to clean
  • One piece can include sink, draining board and a splashback
  • Hardwearing
  • Heat-resistant

Cons:

  • Scratches are visible
  • Water-marks are visible
  • Shows fingermarks

The Look:

  • Brushed, polished and patterned finishes
  • Ideal for a hight-tech or modern look

DIY job?

Needs a specialist metal-worker

Maintenance:

  • Clean it with detergent
  • Polish it with baby-oil

5, Terrazzo

Terrazzo is a concrete mixed with marble or glass chippings

Pros:

  • Can be customised – into any shape to any length
  • Water and heat resistant
  • Hardwearing

Cons:

  • Must be sealed to prevent staining

The LOOK:

Ideal for a glamorous or retro look

Maintenance

  • Might need re-sealing from time to time
  • Clean with detergent

DIY Job?

Not really. It’s custom made

6, Glass

Pros:

  • Hygienic
  • Easy to clean
  • Versatile

Cons:

  • It scratches
  • Clear glass has to be screwed
  • Toughened, heat resistant glass can’t be used for large cut-outs
  • Expensive

The Look:

  • Has a serious wow look
  • Many colours, textures and finishes
  • Can be illuminated with waterproof fibre-optic lighting

Maintenance:

Clean with detergent then a cloth

DIY Job?

Has to be cut by an expert but could be installed by yourself. ( this depends on the size and shape).

7, Corian

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Waterproof
  • Made of natural minerals and acrylic
  • It can be shaped – cut and carved
  • Sink and grooved drainer can be integrated

Cons:

  • Scarthes show
  • Stainable
  • Expensive

The Look:

  • Has a smooth look
  • Great choice of colours and patterns

Maintenance:

  • Clean with detergent
  • Minor scratches can be gently sanded

DIY job?

No. It must be made-to-order and installed by professionals

8, Ceramic Tiles

Pros:

  • Glazed ceramic tiles are storng
  • Water resistant
  • Easy for DIY’ers

Cons:

  • The grouting stains easily
  • Tiles can chip easily
  • Not all tiles are heat-resistant

The Look:

  • Many choices of finishes, sizes and shapes I
  • deal for a rustic look

DIY Job?

Yes. Very much so

9, Natural Stones

Slabs of marble, slate, sandstone, limestone slabs etc

Pros:

  • Natural material
  • Looks timeless
  • Hard surface

Cons:

  • Most are porous – so they scratch and stain easily (even when treated)
  • Expensive

The Look:

  • Ideal for elegant, stylish worktops
  • Great choice of variety
  • Best to use in combination with other materials

Maintenance:

  • Needs regular re-sealing
  • Avoid abrasives

DIY Job?

No. It has to be cut, polished and installed by experts

10, Others & new materials

This section will be updated constantly – so come back and read more about the latest materials used for worktops

Ceasar Stone: It promises to combine the best properties of Corian and stone – it’s made of crushed aggregate, quartz, pigments and resin. It doesn’t stain, it’s heat resistant, it’s hard wearing, it has no surface defects. Sizes are available up to 3m so you can have a single piece of worktop. It comes in a wide range of colours. It’s cheaper than Corian or Granite. Have you used it? If so, let us know what you think about it.

If you have any problems or questions why don’t you visit our kitchen decoration forum?

Or go to the  kitchen remodeling ideas, or kitchen decorating tips  sections if you have or need any tips & ideas…

 

    2 Responses to “Kitchen worktop”

  1. On January 15th, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Matt wrote:

    Hi.

    Just reading your advice on worktops. I have opted for some hardwood oak worktops, however it seems they have already had a couple of coats of oil. It is a medium-dark oak, but really wanted to stain it to something more like wenge. Is this possible? I have tried a stain on a sample area, but seems to have little effect. I’m guessing due to the oil. How can I make the stain penetrate?

  2. On January 16th, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Admin wrote:

    Yes, it the oil! I’m afraid you’ll just have to sand it back!

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