When it comes to choosing your new kitchen the worktop will be an integral part of your scheme. Not only does it need to reflect your style it has to be practical and withstand the pressures of everyday living.
With so many worktop options out there the decision making process can be confusing so 4homes have put together a beginner’s guide to worktops to provide you with the basics.
Laminate – The lowest priced worktop
Laminate worktops are usually made from a high-density chipboard, plywood or MDF coated in a plastic laminate to give a stone or wood grain effect. When we talk of laminate most people think of old school Formica who, in fact, still supply a great range of laminates that have been modernised and brought into the 21st century.
Because of it’s construction laminate cannot be molded into shapes and therefore can only be used with inset sinks. Any cut edges can be finished with matching edging strips however some standard size pieces can be specially made with post-formed edges, eg for kitchen islands, breakfast bars etc. Gloss laminates are more liable to scratch than textured surfaces, plus laminates are not heat resistant so chopping boards and trivets should be used when chopping or using hot pans.
The laminate ranges 4homes prefer are Omega, Prima, Durapol and Axiom (Formica).
Real Wood – For the natural look
Wooden worktops look great in traditional-style kitchens. They can be cut, carved and chiselled to fit any shape and can therefore incorporate any style sink and include design features such as drainer grooves. Wooden tops can be made from various woods with a variety of textures, grains and thicknesses, however most will change colour over time.
Due to its very nature wood will take a lot more looking after than other worktop choices. If you love your wooden worktop you have to take care of it by re-oiling every 6 months, preventing scratches and ring marks by using chopping boards and trivets and above all keeping it dry and clean. Standing water and red wine glass rings are no friend to a wooden worktop.
4homes supply wooden worktops from Tuscan Solid Wood.
Composites – For flexibility and durability
A composite worktop is a mixture of natural materials mixed with acrylic resins and therefore will generally have a warmer feel than granite and quartz. Composites can be moulded to fit your kitchen including upstands and drainer grooves and can incorporate any style of integrated sink. It can be either bought in a standard size or templated to your exact design with near seamless joins.
Because composites are non-porous they are easy to keep clean with high resistance to stains and heat which also makes them extremely hygienic. Should marks and scratches appear they can be sanded out or repaired as necessary.
Probably the most well known composite brand is Corian, the rolls-royce of worktops and the one with the highest price tag. This creme de la creme worktop comes in a wealth of colours and will add an air of prestige to any kitchen.
Other than Corian, 4homes also work with Maia and Minerva.
Granite – Hard wearing & long-lasting
Granite is a 100% natural slab of beautiful stone in various colours and patterns. It is difficult to scratch and easy to keep clean although hot pans will still require pan rests. Unable to be molded, granite will be templated to fit your kitchen and joins will be visible however, it can incorporate curves and drainer grooves. Granite is solid stone and will be cold to the touch, ideal if you love to bake breads or pastries.
Granite is a luxury product and therefore can be expensive. If your budget can’t stretch to your entire kitchen you can incorporate granite into your scheme in the shape of an island to add impact and a bit of wow.
As granite is mined straight out of the ground samples are not always representative of the piece you will receive. We therefore recommend a visit to the stonemason where you can personally select your very own worktop slab.
Quartz – Best of both worlds
Quartz may be one of the most expensive options for kitchen worktops but for good reason. It is very similar to granite but involves a two stage manufacturing process. Made up of 90% crushed stone it is combined with acrylic resins and colour pigments, even speckles of mirrored glass for a bit of sparkle.
It’s non-porous surface means it is heat, scratch and stain resistant. Quartz contains anti-bacterial agents and is easy to keep clean therefore it is perfect for use in kitchens, especially around sink and food preparation areas.
Like granite, quartz has a cold surface, can be manufactured with different edge profiles and can also be used with any type of sink. With quartz there is a wealth of colours, styles and patterns to choose from and you can be assured the sample will be the same as your worktop.
At 4homes we work with Compact, Unistone and Quartzstone.
For more information or to see our selection of samples pop into our showroom on Sidmouth High Street.