PRODUCTS | Worktops 101 - Affordable, stylish & indestructible
Today's post is going to give you low down on worktop materials. I find that a lot of people can feel confused about which material is best for them, how much they could spend & what can be achieved. The worktop is an important part of any kitchen & how you use your space can be crucial to what materials you use. The guide below should help to give you a starting point of what may suit your project, but always ask your designer for more information; as they will be able to recommend suitable products based on your budget, design & lifestyle.
Laminates often get a really bad rep & I know why. When you think of a laminate worktop usually the first thing that comes to mind is a cheap, retro, badly printed not so attractive product. But, laminates have come a long long way since then & they're one of my favourite products to use in the kitchen.
Aside from being incredibly affordable, laminates are a great way to add texture to your design. They come in an array of realistic wood grains, stones ceramics & even metals in some cases. European square edged products offer a super contemporary finish while also being very durable against day to day use. They are highly scratch & moisture resistant & will also withstand some heat (although I'd always advise keeping heat mats handy for any material, to ensure longevity of your worktop.)
With the right products we can usually match kitchen doors with the worktops for a striking finish.
Add some variety by mixing colours & materials in the kitchen. A quartz island with textured laminates elsewhere offers an affordable & stylish finish.
Realistic, low maintenance wood grains & other textures.
Timbers are another affordable worktop option & like laminates can offer some texture & warmth to a room. They are great as feature pieces & work especially well as breakfast bars & dining tables where quartz or natural products would feel cold to the touch.
A wide choice of oaks, walnut, ash, wenge & more can add the perfect accent to your modern or classic style kitchen.
The only down side to timber work surfaces (although some people enjoy this process) is that they do require some up keep throughout the year. Depending how much use they have suffered they may require sanding but will usually always requiring oiling at least once every 6 months to ensure they don't dry out.
Also remember that timber is a completely natural product so it is more susceptible to staining & if not treated properly (over a long period of time) it can crack or even produce mould in areas of moisture such as around the sink.
Adding warmth & texture
Products such as Silestone Shown above.
Quartz is usually the sought after product for the kitchen. It's beautiful, durable & comes in a gorgeous selection of colours & finishes. Developed specifically as a tougher option to granite; quartz is usually 90-95% natural stone mixed with 5-10% man made resin which binds the material together & gives it brilliant properties such as being non-porous (it won't soak up that red wine spill) anti bacterial & resistant to moisture, scratching & a degree of heat.
As quartz is a specialist product it does have to be delivered & installed by a qualified stone mason. The process of templating, manufacturing & installing can add 7-10 days on to the time of a standard kitchen fit.
Prices usually start from approx, £2,500+ for Silestone including services but this can vary greatly depending on the chosen colour, the finish, the amount of quartz required & if you are using, curves, bespoke edging, integrated sinks & other special fabrication requirements.
Versatile use ie with curves & integrated sinks etc.
Photo credit to DuPoint Corian
Products such as DuPoint Corian
Acrylics are generally a great product. As the name suggests, it isn't a natural stone, in simple terms it's a plastic. Completely man made & it's biggest unique feature is it's versatility. Corian can be shaped, curved & I've even seen it tied in a knot, without any joints at all. Meaning your entire kitchen can be crafted as if it were one piece of solid worktop (prepare for an 8 man delivery!) This is also inclusive of integrated sinks, seating areas, upstands, wall cladding, not a single joint in sight.
Corian has a very interesting range of colours but the finish is generally the same, super smooth & semi matt, so if you're looking for a high polished finish Corian isn't for you. The only downside I have experienced with acrylics is surface scratches. Very small marks that appear on the surface during day to day use. They are more noticeable on darker colours & if the light is hitting them them the right way; but, as it's such a flexible product you can give your surface a buff & a polish at home with a simple kit that comes recommended by the manufactures.
Corian is an incredibly contemporary material & is also used to clad buildings (below) & other industrial schemes, I notice it a lot in restaurants & stores when I'm out & aout. It's a very impressive product; but also comes with the highest price point out of our materials here today.
For a similar product that is a little more affordable try Minerva surfaces. They are made from a similar material to Corian but is supplied in pre-cut lengths that your kitchen fitter can install as appose to a specialist stone mason.
Photo credit to DuPoint Corian
Products such as Dekton. Shown above.
Dekton is a fairly new product & has taken the market by storm in the last 5 years. Produced by Cosentino (the masterminds behind Silestone quartz) Dekton is an ultra compact surface, also refereed to as ceramic.
In simple terms, Dekton is a mixture of glass, porcelain & quartz, all ground together & compacted under an immense amount of pressure to form a new solid surface. A surface that is resilient to pretty much anything. It can be used as worktops (shown above), as floor tiles, as indoor or outdoor wall cladding, cabinet doors (shown above), anything.
The performance test in the video below (1 minute) will show you exactly how tough this material is. You have to see it to believe it, (yes, she really does blow torch it!)
Video credit: CosentinoTV
The choice of colours & textures are amazing, realistic wood grains, ceramics, stones, concrete & yet all made from the same indestructible material.
Pricing is usually a little more expensive than quartz but less than Corian as Dekton requires special fabrication processes; but if it fits within the budget it'll be a great choice for your new kitchen.
Extremely hard wearing nature
Choice of colours & textures
Although there are many more worktop materials available in the industry, stainless steel, poured concrete, granite etc, the above options are the ones that are the most popular for the kitchen & the materials you are likely to come across on your search. As usual, I hope you found this post helpful & don't forget to share it with anyone you know who is designing their new kitchen!
See you next time,
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