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Choosing Kitchen Worktops

Kitchen worktops are one of the most important aspects of any kitchen. They can instantly transform the appearance of a kitchen and give a dull and drab space a new lease of life. The most popular materials for kitchen worktops are stainless steel, wood, granite, composite and laminate. Each of these materials has its own advantages as well as different appearances and styles.

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What To Look For In Kitchen Worktops

The main things that you should consider when looking for kitchen worktops are:

Practicality – The practicality of the worktop, such as how easy it is to maintain and how easily it is marked or damaged, is very important to consider.

Heat Resistance – If you do a lot of cooking, then you may want to consider using worktops which are heat resistant such as granite rather than wood or laminate.

Hygiene – For the most hygienic worktops, stainless steel is the best option. Other worktops have grooves, cracks and dimples which bacteria and food can build up in.

Hardwood

Best Used For: Hardwood is suited to food preparation areas and dining areas such as breakfast bars or islands with stools around it. Certain hardwoods, such as teak, are water resistant due to their high oil content which makes them suitable for use around sinks.
Best Suited To: Depending on the wood being used and the style of the profile, hardwood worktops can be used in both modern and contemporary style kitchens.
Maintenance: Any spillages should be wiped up instantly. The worktop should be sealed with oil every year. Scratches and marks would require the worktop to be sanded down.
Durability: Provided that the worktop has been sealed properly and chopping boards are used for cutting, there is no reason why the worktop shouldn't outlast the rest of the kitchen.
Flexibility: Hardwood is very flexible as it can be cut and shaped as required.

Composite

Best Used For: Composite is a very beautiful and practical choice for kitchen worktops, especially those which will have exposure to water and hot pots and pans.
Best Suited To: Modern kitchens suit bright and bold colours, while traditional kitchens are suited to light cream or white worktops.
Maintenance: The worktop can be wiped clean with a damp cloth.
Durability: Composite worktops are extremely tough and resilient to scratches and marks and will outlast the rest of the kitchen.
Flexibility: Using special equipment, the worktops may be thermoformed to create the required shapes and styles for bespoke kitchens without any seems or joint marks.

Granite

Best Used For: Granite is perfect for using all around the kitchen.
Best Suited To: This luxury worktop can be used in combination with either modern or contemporary units to create various effects. Polished surfaces help to give a modern appearance whilst matt worktops look mare traditional.
Maintenance: The worktop can be wiped clean with a damp cloth.
Durability: The strongest of all the materials, granite will outlast all other materials available.
Flexibility: The granite worktops can be cut into pretty much any shape or size required, however it can be extremely heavy and hard to manoeuvre

Laminate

Best Used For: Laminate is suitable for most areas in a kitchen; however isn't the best material for around cookers or hobs.
Best Suited To: Depending on the type of laminate you choose, the worktop can be used in most types of kitchens.
Maintenance: Laminate worktops are easy to clean down, however once damaged are difficult to repair.
Durability: While its resistant to most stains, it does not stand up to scratches, dents or heat marks.
Flexibility: Laminate worktops can be easily cut to most sizes without any special tools or requirements.

Stainless Steel

Best Used For: In commercial kitchens or areas where hygiene is important such as food preparation areas.
Best Suited To: As mentioned, this suits commercial kitchens. It can also be used in modern looking kitchens.
Maintenance: The most hygienic of all materials for kitchen worktops. The biggest problem is that it is easily scratched and hard to restore once damaged.
Durability: Resistant to acid and heat, strong and waterproof, this material is the most durable material available.
Flexibility: Most worktops can be cut from single sheets of stainless steel, meaning that there is no need for joints in the worktops.

The author has many years experience in the property and home renovation area and currently works for a company offering a wide array of home renovation products, including conservatories, replacement windows and besoke kitchens.

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