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Kitchens are the among the most used rooms in any home. They are where meals are made and eaten, where families eat, talk, and spend time together. Kitchens are also where many happy memories are made! From making cupcakes with your children and grandchildren to those wonderful times spent with friends and loved ones eating, drinking, or simply spending quality social time together.
Our kitchens double up as a hardworking area that needs to take the work and wear of a busy kitchen and a sociable area in which to spend time with people. Striking the balance between having a beautiful and welcoming space and being hardwearing is tricky, but it can be done. One of the biggest parts of getting this balance just right is in the worksurface you choose.
CHOOSING YOUR WORKSURFACE MATERIAL
When it comes to choosing your perfect worksurface the choices are endless. You have a wide variety of colour, finishes and materials all of which have their own merits and drawbacks.
Ultimately, your choice comes down to how you want to use your kitchen surfaces and the look you want to achieve. From traditional materials to worksurfaces made using new technologies, everybody can have their perfect kitchen and still have a beautiful worksurface to match.
Marble is a timeless classic that adds uniqueness and a touch of luxury to any kitchen. It offers that perfect balance of looking great and is hard-wearing in your kitchen too. Each piece of marble is unique, with a slightly different design and colour.
Traditionally, many of us think of marble as white with distinctive grey veining but you can get marble in a variety of natural colours to fit your design and aesthetic. Marble is a wonderful material for adding classic formality to a hardworking room. It looks beautiful when entertaining but it is also a great material to work on. Home bakers usually find it’s a fantastic worktop for baking, with a surface perfect for pastry making. If you wanted to try your hand at homemade confectionary, a marble worksurface is a great choice.
The downside to marble is that it is not quite as strong as some other types of worksurface. The stone is a little softer which means you will need to use a cutting board to avoid scratches and cuts. It also is prone to staining, especially with acidic spills.
Granite is an old favourite when it comes to worksurfaces and for good reason. It’s hard wearing, heat resistant, durable and won’t require too much maintenance. On top of this it is a beautiful looking material too.
Granite comes in a variety of colours varying from light to dark and comes with that distinctive fleck pattern that this material is known for. This is a long-standing traditional look in a kitchen making it a great combination for all sorts of kitchens and colour schemes. Granite is a hardworking, traditional material that is as beautiful in today’s kitchens as it has ever been.
The thing to watch out for with granite is that it will require some maintenance and resealing every now and then to ensure it remains hard-wearing and stain resistant. Aside from this, granite copes well with kitchen spills in general, but citrus and wine spillages will need cleaning up quickly to avoid staining the surface. Granite is a particularly hard material which is great for minimising scratches and cuts. Although, you will still want to use a cutting board because it can chip, and it might be hard enough to damage your knives too.
For a clean, beautiful look then porcelain is a great choice. Whilst it may not be a traditional choice when it comes to worksurfaces, porcelain is a surprising option. It comes in a variety of colours, styles, and finishes to ensure a great design finish but it's hardwearing too.
Porcelain is one of the tougher worksurface materials. It is harder than granite and almost as tough as quartz, so is great for general kitchen use. Porcelain is easy to keep clean and hygienic and is stain-resistant too. It is also impact-resistant which means less damage from general wear, tear, bumps, and cuts than some other materials. However, dropping something large and heavy onto it may crack it.
One added benefit of using porcelain as a surface is that it is a recyclable material allowing for a more sustainable kitchen as well as a beautifully designed one.
Quartz is one of the hardest materials you can choose as a worksurface. It's durable, heat resistant, and scratch and stain resistant. Quartz worksurfaces are a manufactured stone which means that natural quartz mineral is ground up and then moulded with resin to shape it into the shape needed for the worksurface. This is what makes it so durable and easy to maintain.
Quartz worksurfaces are available in so many styles and colours that you truly are spoilt for choice when it comes to designing your kitchen. The drawbacks are that because it is manufactured rather than quarried, quartz can lack some of the uniqueness of other materials. But aside from a slightly more manufactured feel, this is a great material that works hard, is stain and bacteria resistant, easy to maintain and beautiful to look at too.
Quartzite is the natural equivalent to a quartz worksurface. Quartzite is a natural stone that is quarried and cut to shape which gives you a unique pattern to every piece. Quartzite shares many of the qualities of quartz including how hard the stone is. It is also a material that is stain resistant, scratch resistant and heat resistant so perfect for even the hardest working kitchen.
Quartzite is a material that smoothly fits into either a traditional or more contemporary designed kitchen. It has a similar look to marble with natural veining and patterns which adds a touch of luxury to your kitchen but without too many worries about maintenance, staining and scratching.
Concrete is a hardwearing material that is resistant to both heat and scratches which makes it a great choice for a busy family kitchen and, with its variety of colours and designs, you also have the ability to have custom surfaces made so it can fit into any design scheme perfectly.
If there are any problems with concrete, it is that it does require maintenance with periodic sealing. Cleaning up spills quickly is also a must because it can stain, especially with tough and acidic stains such as wine. It is also important to use a cutting board because although this is a durable material it is soft enough to cut into and scratch.
If you want to pair practicality with a stylish worksurface then Corian® might be the answer. This is a modern man-made material that pairs the best of natural minerals with modern acrylic polymer to create a worktop that is hard-wearing, easy to clean, easy to fit and available in different colours and designs to suit your aesthetic.
When it comes to things for watch out for, Corian® can damage under high heat and is not quite as scratch resistant as harder materials such as quartz. However, small scratches may be able to be buffed out and repaired. Overall Corian® is a great option for hard-working family kitchens. It should cope well with daily use and still give you that beautiful, designed look to your worksurfaces.
For a traditional and natural design, you can’t go wrong with a wooden worksurface. Wood is an inherently beautiful material; each piece is uniquely textured and has its own character which comes across in the look and feel of your kitchen. This is a timeless look that ages well and fits into any home. You can pair a wooden worksurface with a traditional kitchen or go for a sleek, contemporary look – each has their own merits and a wooden work surface works equally well with both design choices.
On top of its beauty, wood offers a sustainable approach to kitchen design, although there can be times when your wooden surface becomes damaged, in theory this can be sanded, repaired, and refinished rather than replaced. Then at the end of your kitchen’s life, the wood can be reused and repurposed.
Wood does need to be treated in order to ensure it is heat resistant and stain resistant and it can still stain if spills are not cleaned up quickly. It is also prone to scratches, dents and scorches on occasion although these should be able to be solved with some sanding and repairing. A wooden work surface will also require regular maintenance with sealing or oiling regularly to ensure it remains at its best.
A sleek kitchen with a high shine calls for a glass worktop. The shine and sparkle of glass adds a sense of both luxury and style, and it looks great with almost any type of kitchen. You can also get glass in a variety of colours and designs. You could even get your own custom-made glass designed for a bespoke kitchen. It's easy to fit too. It can be cut and shaped around your fixtures and fittings and easily cut to shape to fit even the most difficult of kitchens.
In addition to how great it looks; glass is also extremely hard-wearing in a kitchen. It is a non-porous practical material which means spills won’t stain and are easily cleaned up.
Glass for worksurfaces does need to be toughened to ensure that it is durable and resistant to heat and breakages. But in general, this is a wonderful solution for any practical kitchen. You will need to watch out for scratches, although these can be polished out if needed. In addition to this, glass can occasionally crack if heavy objects are dropped on them. Glass is also prone to smudges so in a family kitchen with lots of small sticky fingers it may not be the best choice.
It may not seem like paper is the most obvious choice when it comes to kitchen worksurface, but PaperStone® is a modern and sustainable solution to a traditional kitchen worksurface. This is a manmade composite worktop made from a mixture of recycled paper and natural resin. It’s a great option if you want to ensure your kitchen is as sustainable as possible and it is surprisingly durable and practical too.
Beautiful to look at and equally beautiful to feel, a paper composite kitchen worksurface offers a great variety of colours and natural designs to fit your theme. Well-made and designed for the kitchen, PaperStone® is heat resistant, non-porous and UV resistant too. It can easily be cut to shape to fit your kitchen perfectly and with maintenance can look great for a long time.
This is a great option, but it will require some maintenance by oiling it regularly and use of trivets and cutting boards is a must. The surface could scorch with very high temperatures and can be cut into. Although these issues can be solved with some routine maintenance and sanding and resealing.
WHICH WORKSURFACE SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?
The type of kitchen worksurface you choose is purely down to your personal choice, design aesthetic and how durable you need it to be. For kitchens meant for entertaining rather than home cooking then worksurfaces that are stain and scratch resistant might be more important than one built for high heats. If you have a busy family kitchen, then you may want to stay away from materials that show up every smudge and fingerprint.
Whatever your choice of kitchen, there is a wonderful worksurface to compliment your lifestyle and interior design preferences. Your kitchen can be everything you need it to be - you just need a great worksurface that can handle it.