There are several factors to consider when deciding to buy a kitchen worktop, including durability, material, cost and appearance. Because of the pros and cons of each materials, it’s important to consider the practicalities of each, such as maintenance requirements and the needs of your home.
Traditional stone: granite and marble
Style: Traditional, suited to stately homes and kitchen that are focal points of the home. Colours and patterns range to suit different palettes and schemes.
Sealant needed: Yes, every ten years from installation, including at the time of fitting.
Durability: High level durability, granite and marble can withstand high temperature and does not easily chip or break.
Maintenance: regular cleaning is needed to avoid bacteria build up. Water resistant only meaning liquids such as citrus, alcohol and vinegar can be damaging if not cleaned up immediately.
Cost: from £200-300 per sq metre
Verdict: Good for home where maintenance is regular and buyers are willing to spend more for a traditional aesthetic.
Non-porous stone: quartz
Style: Similar to other stone, traditional. More contemporary colours can be dyed into versions of the stone making it more versatile with unusual colour schemes.
Sealant needed: No, quartz worktops have a built in sealant which makes it non-porous.
Durability: High strength, unlikely to break or chip and can withstand intense heat. Completely water resistant and does not collect bacteria as completely sealed stone.
Maintenance: Regular household cleaning.
Cost: £100-200 per sq metre
Verdict: Affordable stone worktops, with the appearance of traditional stone and the advantages of a modern worktop. Very hygienic due to being non-porous.
Disposable material: laminate
Style: Versatile, laminate comes in a variety of patterns and colours. Can emulate the appearance of stone or wood worktops. Popular in rented houses and flats.
Sealant needed: No, laminate comes in sheets that do not require sealant – attache with special adhesive.
Durability: Low, resistant to chemicals but damaged by heat. Can be scratched and torn relatively easily.
Maintenance: Low maintenance required, often replaced.
Cost: From £30-50 per metre
Verdict: Good for cheap, low maintenance households where it is expected to last a few years, then can be replaced with new or more hard wearing material.
Hard wearing, high maintenance : wood
Style: Country style kitchens, rustic and more natural aesthetics. Suits houses and apartments. Unlike with other materials, marks from burns can add character to the wood surface.
Sealant needed: Yes, wood – especially hardwood – requires regular oiling. Wood should be oiled once a month for the first year and then once a year thereafter.
Durability: Medium to high durability. Wood can be scratched, which can be covered by varnish/oil layers. Easily burned with hot materials and can be warped by water if not sealed properly.
Maintenance: Regular oiling, low strength chemical cleaning.
Cost: from £300-400 (Depending on variety of wood)
Verdict: Ideal for homes looking for a classic look kitchen worktop, with time for regular maintenance, and won’t mind cosmetic imperfections.