Building or renovating a home requires myriad decisions. This is particularly true of the kitchen, which needs to cope with multiple users and functions, as well as making an interiors style statement. When it comes to finish and functionality, one of the most important choices relates to kitchen worktops. Get these right and you’ll have a kitchen that will be a joy to work in – and look at – for years to come.
Laminate – not just for floors
Laminate worktops enjoy enduring popularity due to their affordability and versatility. Laminate performs pretty well for most general kitchen functions, although extra protection is required for chopping or working with steam and heat. One of laminate’s most popular selling points is its ability to imitate other premium counter materials, such as wood or granite. A huge choice of colours and effects means that laminate worktops are suited to both modern and traditional kitchens.
Wood glorious wood
Wooden countertops evoke warmth and are ideal for those who like natural materials. Wood not only performs well over the years – if looked after properly, it improves with age, mellowing as time passes. Make sure you do your maintenance though: your kitchen provider will advise you on sealing and oiling to ensure maximum performance and appearance. As with laminate, protect wooden worktops with a chopping board and avoid scorch marks by preventing any direct contact with hot pans. Spills and splashes should be dealt with swiftly to avoid staining.
Great looking granite
Love a low-maintenance kitchen? Welcome to granite worktops. This work surface ticks all the boxes when it comes to withstanding heat or water. Granite is particularly ideal for heavy use kitchens – the simplicity with which it can be cleaned and sterilised makes it one of the most hygienic choices. What’s more, it should retain its sparkle and resist scratches too. Granite worktops needn’t necessarily mean grey: colour choices range from deepest charcoal to soft-veined terracotta. One cautionary note: splashes of wine, vinegar or citrus juices should be dealt with quickly to avoid acidic stains on this otherwise impenetrable natural surface.
Corian – a blend of natural minerals, pigments and pure acrylic polymer – is one of the newer kids on the kitchen counter block. Over the past three decades it has firmly established itself as modern kitchen worktop classic, thanks to its clean, simple lines and user-friendliness. Corian ranks high in terms of hygiene: due to its formulation, there are no visible pores or voids for dirt, dust or crumbs to find their way into. With a huge palette to choose from and its innate flexibility, Corian offers a unique opportunity to create striking kitchen worktops with colour, texture and curves.
Never heard of Silestone? This compound combines 94 per cent natural quartz with a special resin. The result? An extraordinarily resilient kitchen worktop surface that is still warm to the hand. The product, which was introduced in 1990, is the brainchild of Cosentino in Spain. Its Silestone bacteriostatic quartz worktop incorporates Microban antibacterial protection to fight the growth of micro-organisms such as mould and bacterial throughout the kitchen’s lifetime. Its resistance to stains of all sorts is second to none and – just in case you were wondering – it looks fantastic too.