A Guide to Choosing the Best Kitchen Worktops

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Kitchen surfaces take up a significant portion of the visual field. Not only that, but they also need to be incredibly durable to withstand the demands of a busy kitchen. In this guide, we’ll explore different options to help you find the perfect worktop that meets both style and functionality needs. Let’s get started!

Laminate Worktops

If you’re looking for an affordable and stylish choice for your kitchen surfaces, laminate worktops are worth considering. Laminate worktops are available in various finishes and textures, including wood textures, solid colours, and metallic finishes.

The melamine surface of laminate worktops is known for its durability and hygienic properties. Advantages of laminate worktops include their great value, wide range of colours and finishes, quick installation (often within a day), and low maintenance requirements. However, it’s important to note that the core chipboard of laminate worktops can swell if the joint seal breaks. Additionally, only inset sinks can be fitted with laminate worktops. Choosing laminate with post-formed edges can provide better protection from water ingress, and it’s important to ensure that all cut edges are well sealed.

Contemporary Strada Gloss White kitchen with peninsula. Laminate splashback. Breakfast bar

Compact Laminate

Compact laminate has emerged as a popular choice, bridging the gap between traditional laminate and solid surfaces, offering the advantages of a solid core and the durability of a melamine surface. The solid core of compact laminate eliminates the problems that can arise with chipboard core laminate surfaces.

Compact laminate worktops often have a sleek and contemporary design. Advantages of compact laminate include durable surfaces, options for inset and undermount sinks, and the ability to be fitted within a day. However, they may have a limited choice of colours, are only available in 12 and 20mm thicknesses, and the solid core edges and draining grooves may change colour and become dull over time. It’s recommended to hire professionals with experience in fitting compact laminate worktops to ensure proper installation and avoid potential damage.

Solid Wood

If you want to bring a classic and timeless touch to your kitchen, solid wood surfaces are a fantastic choice. Solid wood worktops have stood the test of time and are appreciated for their warm touch and ability to age nicely, particularly in older or period homes. Advantages of solid wood worktops include their warmth, affordability, ability to be fitted in a day, and the option for repairs. However, they require high maintenance and are not ideal for wet or cooking areas, as a leaking tap or sitting water can cause irreparable damage. It’s important to religiously maintain wooden surfaces, keeping them dry to preserve their condition.

Rustic Oak Worktops, Cashmere Painted Shaker style door

Acrylic/Composite worktops

Acrylic surfaces are a hygienic and seamless option, offering beautiful textures and finishes that create a practical, low-maintenance work surface. Advantages of acrylic surfaces include their warm touch, the ability to integrate sinks seamlessly, and virtually seamless joints. However, they are prone to scratching, especially in dark colours, and they can be relatively costly. The installation process for acrylic surfaces typically takes 5-15 days.

 

Quartz Worktops

Quartz surfaces have become incredibly popular due to their practicality and durability. Quartz is one of the hardest-wearing man-made worktop materials and is available in solid colours, speckled patterns, and textures that mimic natural marble. Advantages of quartz surfaces include their structural strength, durability, wide choice of colours, and the ability to be repaired. However, quartz surfaces can be more expensive than other options, and certain finishes may fade over time, especially around sinks and windows. The installation of quartz surfaces usually takes 5-10 days.

 

Natural Surfaces: Granite, Quartzite, Marble, Onyx

Natural stone worktops offer natural beauty, with each slab being unique. Exotic granite and quartzite surfaces can add a wow factor to your kitchen. Advantages of quartzite and granite worktops include their durability and the uniqueness of each surface. However, they can be more brittle than quartz, require sealing due to their porous nature, and installation typically takes 5-10 days.

Hague Blue Kitchen Island. Marble Effect Quartz, Bespoke Breakfast Bar.

Porcelain Worktops

Porcelain surfaces in kitchen design are relatively new but rapidly gaining popularity. Porcelain surfaces are known for their exceptional durability and colour stability, even in high UV areas. Advantages include their design flair and long-lasting nature. However, it’s important to note that working with and repairing porcelain can be challenging. The installation process typically takes 5-15 days. To ensure successful fabrication, it is crucial to hire experienced professionals with the necessary machinery.

Our Verdict. What is the best Kitchen surface for 2024?

Quartz stands as the top choice for the best overall kitchen worktop due to its vast selection, durability, stain resistance, and reasonable pricing. However, the best kitchen surface depends on your budget and preferences. For cost-conscious buyers, practical laminate surfaces are recommended, with post-formed edges for added protection. If your budget can stretch further and you  wish to create an extraordinary kitchen design, opt for the captivating natural surfaces like granite and quartzite, showcasing the beauty of Mother Earth. As for the ultimate in durability and luxury, porcelain surfaces are an excellent choice.

The final decision rests on your personal taste and specific needs.

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