There was a time when the simple formica worktop or stainless steel were the only options available when wanting to update your kitchen. Colours were all pretty much standard and functionality was more important than style.
Nowadays we can certainly have both, creating kitchens with the wow factor, simply by choosing coloured worktops of many different materials to fit in with the look of our modern home.
- This is the material which most home-owners aspire to. They are finished in a high gloss or can be matt and are hard wearing and designed to last a life time.
- Despite common belief, they can be damaged by acidic foods and strong chemical cleaners, so looking after a granite worktop is important. Particularly cleaning up spills immediately. A sealant can be applied if required.
- Comes in thicknesses of around 30mm
- Hot pans should not be placed directly onto the surface.
- Prices start at around £100 per metre, although smaller offcuts may be available. This price depends on the colour.
- Not as durable as some other products.
- Hard woods do look beautiful and are perfect for a country style kitchen.
- If damaged by scratches or gouges they can be sanded back and resealed. The resealing process should be repeated regularly to keep it in good order.
- Solid wood worktops can cost from around £185 per 3m length
- These worktops are stone, quartz or other aggregate which is then blended with resin to create a hardwearing surface. It does not require a sealant and will not stain.
- They can have pigments added to create interesting colours and designs. In some cases the stones are obvious and will create a shimmer or sparkle to add to the extra dimension of the product.
- Composites can be seamless if they are created to fit a particular space. The sink and drainer can be moulded into the worktop giving a neat finish. However, the DIYer can buy lengths and cut them to size if required.
- Priced at around £80-£100 per metre and are likely to need professional fitting.
For those on a budget, these are perfect. It is possible to buy these from the DIY store, cut them to length and use in nearly all applications. While the look is not as dramatic they still offer a good option provided they are fitted carefully and the joins are properly sealed. At around £30 per metre these are the cheapest option.
While traditionally used in the catering industry, stainless is coming to the home more often. Hygienic and easy to care for, a stainless steel worktop may become scratched quite easily, but with careful polishing it can look modern and streamlined.
Bamboo worktops, glass and concrete are all starting to be touted as the next big thing. Bamboo is a sustainable source of materials and has a green feel to it. Glass will take plenty of careful cleaning, but is hygienic and can be coloured to fit any home. Concrete which has been polished is gaining in popularity, but it must be sealed to prevent water seepage. All of these options are at the high end of the affordability scale, but great for those who don't have to think about budget.