How to Choose the Best Kitchen Worktop
Ranking among the most important decisions we have to make in our lives, ‘which kitchen worktop should I choose?’ is possibly the biggest which relates to the home. All jokes aside, you can repaint a wall, convert an office back into a bedroom and hide Nana’s bequeathed sideboard, but replacing a kitchen worktop is no easy task. It’s a choice you really have to get right the first time, weighing up all factors until you know – beyond doubt – which material is right for you.
What is the Best Type of Worktop for a Kitchen?
To make your decision-making a little less dramatic, here’s the lowdown on the most desired types of kitchen worktop materials.
Just saying ‘granite kitchen’ is enough to send shivers of envy down many people’s spines. It is a thing to which lots of householders aspire, a sign that they’ve ‘made it’. It’s not simply a sensible investment, it’s a feature which can be showed off and enjoyed for years and years to come.
What is it? It’s a natural, igneous rock, formed of several different minerals which include quartz and feldspar. It is mined from locations all over the world and cut into manageable slabs which can more easily be used to create gorgeous worktops.
Appearance: The beauty of granite is that no two pieces will ever be the same, due to the occurrence of mineral ‘inclusions’ and veins which feature throughout the stone and determine the colour (from Blue Pearl to Sahara Gold). Plus a highly-polished gloss finish looks stunning.
Practicalities: Granite is extremely hard-wearing and hygienic, so perfect for kitchens. It can endure the day-to-day knocks as well as resisting extreme temperatures, heavy weights and sharp knives. However, granite is porous and so food preparation boards, etc., should be used to maintain the excellent condition of your worktop. Spills, especially from highly acidic or coloured foods must be wiped up immediately – but then, you’re not the type of person to leave a mess, are you?
Maintenance: While hot water and a soft cloth will do the job, be careful with soap or detergents as they can put a film on top of the sealant and can dull the shine, so you may want to use products which are specially formulated for granite worktops. Never use bleach or abrasive cleaning products. Granite requires sealing every few years, to prolong its life. All County Stone worktops are sealed with a one-time application sealant that will last for 30 years before requiring another application.
Fitting: Your worktops will first be templated, so that the fitters can get the exact measurements. This information is then fed into a highly-specialised machine which cuts the granite precisely – typically from the same slab to ensure colour consistency. The physical installation can take as little as two to four hours, depending on the complexity of the job.
Best for: Those who use their kitchen as a showpiece, who are fastidious with cleaning and where there isn’t too much traffic.
Currently very trendy, quartz is the optimum kitchen worktop material. The wide range of colours means that it can suit all types of home, and being non-porous and stain-proof means it’s a practical option, as well as an attractive one.
What is it? It’s usually offered as THE alternative to granite; a man-made composite of predominantly natural materials (usually around 92-93 per cent) mixed with resin and colourants. We offer three types of quartz: Silestone, Caesarstone and Compac, all brands which are equally resistant, enduring and beautiful.
Appearance: Fantastic for a more personalised, yet lasting kitchen, quartz can be manufactured in neutral or plain shades and exotic patterns (like Cream Valentino) and neon colours (Fuchsia, Orange and Verde Fun, to mention but a few).
Practicalities: As quartz doesn’t absorb water, it’s both hygienic and won’t stain. That’s why it’s found in many commercial food preparation areas. It resists abrasion and scratches, though we’d still advise using cutting boards, trivets for hot pans and soft cloths to clean with. It’s very strong and when looked after, can retain its sparkling appearance for years on end.
Maintenance: It doesn’t require the sealing that granite does, but do take care when cleaning and preparing food. Never put very hot pans directly on the surface, as they could mark – particularly on surfaces which contain mirror-like flecks.
Fitting: Much like with granite, the worktops will be created using a template and then cut to the exact sizes.
Best for: Those who want to appearance of granite, but which has that bit more strength and a lesser requirement for sealing and instant cleaning.
You may not be familiar with Lapitec, but here’s betting you’ve seen it around and not realised. It’s extremely popular in kitchens and bathrooms as it offers all the benefits of granite and quartz.
What is it? It is manufactured when specially chosen ceramic elements are blended together under extreme heat and pressure to form one, incredibly strong and beautiful ‘sintered’ stone.
Appearance: With several Lapitec collections on offer, there are many finishes and colours available –from the mildly textured Satin Collection to the highly-polished and shiny Lux range. Lapitec is cut from the same slab, meaning fewer joins, for a sleek, continuous effect.
Practicalities: A non-porous material which is anti-bacterial, Lapitec is often used around swimming pools and for paving, giving you an indication of how durable it really is. It’s easy to clean – just use a neutral detergent and warm water – though its non-porous properties mean that it is stain and acid resistant. It can additionally endure frost, high impacts, abrasion and UV light so it won’t fade or scratch.
Maintenance: As Lapitec receives an anti-bacterial treatment in the manufacturing stage and it doesn’t absorb liquids, it doesn’t need to be resealed.
Fitting: Lapitec is delivered to us in huge slabs, which usually means that the entire kitchen can be surfaced from the same piece, ensuring consistency. The slabs may be huge, but they’re extremely light, meaning that the fitting process can actually be easier than using natural stone.
Best for: People who are staying put for a while or who want a work surface with a uniform appearance. It’s also recommended for those who are admittedly a little on the lazy side or simply don’t have the time for constant tidying; you don’t have to wipe that spill up straight away.
Are you looking for a 100% natural stone kitchen worktop which looks stunning and makes your kitchen a pleasure to be in when entertaining? Plus you want it to stand up to everything life throws at it? Then slow down and cast your eye over quartzite.
Quartzite is a metamorphic rock. This means it starts as one type of rock and changes into another. Sandstone is super-heated and compressed over thousands of years. During the process, minerals in the rock bind together extraordinarily tightly making it super hard and durable.
The way quartzite is naturally created means no two pieces are the same. The hues, patterns and tones of each slab are entirely unique. So for one of a kind design, quartzite can be the best kitchen worktop choice.
Appearance: Quartzite kitchen worktops are available in black, white and grey. Along with this, as a natural product, some other colours can exist due to the natural change and differences in the mineral. The way quartzite is formed means no two pieces are identical. The tones, hues and patterns of every slab are completely unique. Quartzite worktops becoming more and more popular in recent years thanks to their stunning appearance.
Practicalities: Quartzite is exceptionally hard-wearing and durable, so ideal for kitchens. It endures day-to-day wear and tear and is easy to clean to keep hygienic. You should be aware that quartzite is porous and so food preparation boards should be used to elongate the superb condition of your worktop. Spills, especially from highly acidic or coloured foods should be immediately wiped up.
Maintenance: A soft cloth and warm water does a great job but be careful with soap or detergents which leave a residue and dull the shine. It is best to use products which are specially formulated for quartzite worktops. Definitely never use abrasive cleaning products or bleach! Adding to this, quartzite needs sealing every few years, to help prolong its life. All County Stone worktops are sealed with a one-time application sealant lasting for 30 years before reapplication.
Fitting:First your worktop is templated so fitters can get the exact measurements. This information is programmed into a highly-specialised machine to cut the quartzite precisely from a single slab to ensure colour consistency. Quartzite is phenomenally hard and needs precision cutting equipment in the hands of craftsmen who really know what they are doing. Mistakes can’t be put right! The actual delivery and installation can be completed in two to four hours, depending on the complexity of the job.
Best for: If you want a 100% natural stone centrepiece in your kitchen for years to come. It suits people who keep a clean and well-maintained home who want to wow guests
How Do I Choose a Kitchen Countertop?
If you’ve read this far you’ll have a much better idea of the types of kitchen worktops available. In addition, you’ll know there’s a lot to take into account before making your final decision. From appearance to maintenance, take the time to understand everything about your final countertop.
Appearance is what most people focus on as your worktop can dictate the colour scheme for the rest of your kitchen. If you already have a firm colour and design in place then choose your stone carefully. For example, a natural stone like quartzite is limited to black, grey, or white with patterns and tones naturally occurring. Comparatively, quartz is manmade or ‘engineered’ with added resin which can be coloured with dyes during manufacturing.
Practicalities should be considered with how hard you work your kitchen and how fastidious you are at cleaning. Natural stones are incredibly hard-wearing having been formed from igneous rock over thousands of years. That being said, it can still be porous so can stain if you don’t wipe up spills reasonably quickly.
Maintenance is often forgotten when thinking about different types of kitchen counters. Often we can neglect these surfaces, especially if you’ve only ever used a cheap prefabricated kitchen. When investing in a bespoke worktop, you should understand the regular maintenance along with cleaning requirements. Some stones need to be sealed every so often, a great supplier will ensure the worktop is sealed properly to last decades before it needs reapplication.
Fitting is the final stage of your installation taking care and attention. You should pick a supplier with expert experience in fitting your chosen material. Bespoke stone countertops need to be perfectly cut from a single slab, plus their weight means it can take a number of hours to complete the final installation in your kitchen.
FAQs about the Best Type of Kitchen Worktop
What is the hardest wearing kitchen worktop?
Worktops incorporating natural stones offer incredible durability. The rocks are formed over thousands of years under intense pressure. You could look at options like granite, quartz and quartzite.
What is the easiest countertop to maintain?
Man-made laminate countertops tend to be easier to maintain as they are often stain resistant and cleaned with hot soapy water. That being said, stone worktops aren’t hard to maintain but you need to wipe up spills to avoid stains and have them resealed every few years.
What is the most popular colour for kitchen countertops?
Interior designers and home owners opt for a wide range of colours for kitchen counters. Generally, black, grey, and white tones are the most popular as their neutrality works with most design styles.
Is it better to have light or dark worktops?
This can depend on your tastes and your particular room. For example, light countertops can help to maximise small kitchens with low natural light levels. Dark grey or black can be striking and creates a centrepiece in larger lighter kitchens.
Do dark worktops make kitchens look smaller?
If you are working in a tight space and already have dark cabinets then black, grey, or dark blue counters can make your kitchen look smaller. If you’re worried about this then lighter tones can help to create the feeling of space.
Country Stone Can Help Find Your Perfect Type of Kitchen Worktop
Hopefully the above has helped you to make a more informed decision about which kitchen worktop to choose. At the very least, you can depend on excellent customer service and incredible value for money. We’ll work with you at every step of the way to ensure you get that kitchen you’ve always dreamed of. If you’d like to find out more or obtain a quote, please get in touch on 01243 544 770 or send us a message online.