Solutions: kitchen worktops

March 15, 2017 / DECORATING, Solutions / 0 Comments
Quartz stone worktop by Stone Italiana. For more details see ELLE Decoration Kitchens Volume 1. Link at end of post.

How to… choose your kitchen worktop

 

From wood and granite to hardwearing and affordable alternatives like composites or laminates, choose the perfect kitchen worktop with our easy pros and cons checklist

 

Stone

Pros Granite is a good choice for kitchens as it withstands high temperatures, is water resistant, impervious to most stains and can be pre-cut to specific shapes and sizes. Slate is a good, more affordable alternative, as it has a high quartz content, which lends it durability; although polished slate is more resilient than honed slate.

Cons Stone surfaces are porous and must be sealed. Marble and limestone are luxurious and striking, but are high maintenance, and both options can be vulnerable in a working kitchen environment even when sealed. Beware of wine and citric acid spills (such as lemon juice) that can damage all stone surfaces. Natural stone is heavy, and can be difficult to handle – kitchen cabinets may need to be reinforced to take the weight. Installation involves professional templating and fabrication, which adds to the cost and installation time.

Price From around £200 per square metre

copper kitchen tap blakes-london

Copper taps bring an industrial edge to this sleek marble worktop. Kitchen design by Blakes London

 

WOOD

Pros Wood lends warmth and natural texture to a kitchen scheme. It can be an eco-friendly option if you source FSC-accredited timber that comes from a sustainable source; better still select bamboo – the fastest growing plant on the planet, which is easily replenished. Consider oily hardwoods such as iroko or teak as they are both water-resistant and have antibacterial properties

Cons Be prepared to look after your wood worktops. The surface should be treated to three protective coats of hard wax or oil when fitted. Another coat should be applied every three months for the first year and every six months thereafter. The surface will scratch – some embrace the aesthetic but for those who prefer a pristine worktop the surface be sanded away with wire wool. The worktop will require templating before installation.

Price From around £90 per linear metre for timbers such as beech, up to £400 per linear m for exotic woods such as wenge

Solid ash makes a striking splashback in this Swedish kitchen. For more details see ELLE Decoration Kitchens Volume 1.

Solid ash makes a striking worktop and coordinated splashback in this Swedish kitchen. For more details see ELLE Decoration Kitchens Volume 1. Link at end of post.

 

Stainless steel

Pros The professional chef’s choice, stainless steel is tough and has natural antibacterial qualities. It’s also waterproof, chemical and heat resistant, which means that hot pans can be placed on the surface without scorching.

Cons This material will scratch – fans of stainless steel accept this flaw as part of its intrinsic charm. Prepare for finger marks – they can be buffed away with a professional cloth or with baby oil and a soft duster.

Price From around £250 per linear metre

Black and an amazing fir green velvet sofa conjured up magic in this home in Copenhagen. First featured in the January 2017 'Winter Living' edition of ELLE Decoration. Photographer: Birgitta Wolfgang/Sisters Agency. Styling: Pernille Vest

An amazing grey-black backdrop conjures up magic in this home in Copenhagen. First featured in the January 2017 ‘Winter Living’ edition of ELLE Decoration. Photographer: Birgitta Wolfgang/Sisters Agency. Styling: Pernille Vest

Copper

Pros Copper is surprisingly practical for worktops and splashbacks because it can easily withstand heat and oil splashes. It’s also naturally anti-bacterial and anti-microbial. It’s a warm and enduring surface that will reflect light and add a glow to the room. As one of the most sustainable materials available, due to it’s long life cycle and 100% recyclability, it’s also the eco conscious choice.

Cons But it’s not one to choose if you don’t like patina, or can’t bear scratches. Used behind a hob, it’ll naturally age and weather more over time than if used anywhere else. It also requires quite a bit of spit and polish to keep looking shiny if that’s how you like it. Soapy water will suffice, but lots of elbow grease also needed.

Price From around £590 per linear meter for a custom-made worktop.

This design from Sola Kitchens shows just how modern this material can be. We also love the nifty retractable shelf! For more details see inside ELLE Deocration Kitchens Volume 1. Link at bottom of post.

This design from Sola Kitchens shows just how modern copper can be. We also love the nifty retractable shelf! For more details see inside ELLE Deocration Kitchens Volume 1. Link at bottom of post.

 

Concrete

Pros Concrete can be precast in pieces or poured on-site to create kitchen islands and worktops of any thickness. Concrete is seamless and has a raw quality with a contemporary industrial edge. It is a tough and durable material that is available in a range of colours/tones but must be sealed for protection.

Cons It can be an expensive choice, and we would recommend that it is installed by a professional.

Price From around £360 per linear metre

This worktop is made from a pre-cast slab sandblasted to a soft finish. Kitchen designed by Erbar Mattes. For more details see ELLE Decoration Kitchens Volume 2. Link at bottom at post.

This worktop is made from a pre-cast slab sandblasted to a soft finish. Kitchen designed by Erbar Mattes. For more details see ELLE Decoration Kitchens Volume 2. Link at bottom at post.

Composites

Pros Alternatively known as engineered quartz; these worktops are made from around 93 per cent quartz mixed with resin; composite surfaces (such as Cesarstone and Silestone) have all the qualities of stone but are lighter, non-porous and do not require sealing. The material can be used for walls, floor and counters, is stain resistant, hardwearing and is highly scratch resistant

Cons Composite materials can be expensive, and are not as resistant to heat as natural stone. Installation involves professional templating and fabrication.

Price From around £240 per linear metre

Quartz stone worktop by Stone Italiana. For more details see ELLE Decoration Kitchens Volume 1. Link at end of post.

Quartz stone worktop by Stone Italiana. For more details see ELLE Decoration Kitchens Volume 1. Link at end of post.

Solid surfaces

Pros This is a manmade acrylic or polyester (think Corian, or LG Hi-Macs) that boasts unlimited design possibilities for walls, floors and worktops. The material can be thermoformed to any shape imaginable. It is non-porous, has no visible joints and can be seamless integrated to include sink designs. The material is also stain and heat-resistant up to 250°C, and is produced in a plethora of colours and surface effects. Plus, as the colour runs right through the material, scratches can be sanded away.

Cons This material can be expensive and is the least eco-friendly option on the list. Installation involves professional templating and fabrication.

Price From around £175 per linear m and £310 per linear metre for brands such as Corian

Arguably the copper-clad cupboard fronts rather steal most of the attention in this kitchen, but anything less than a seamless Corian worktop would have killed the look. For more details see ELLE Decoration Kitchens Volume 2. Link at bottom of post.

Arguably the copper-clad cupboard fronts rather steal most of the attention in this kitchen, but anything less than a seamless Corian worktop would have killed the look. For more details see ELLE Decoration Kitchens Volume 2. Link at bottom of post.

 

Laminate

Pros Affordable, durable, water resistant and easy to clean, laminate worktops realistically replicate the look of natural materials such as stone and wood. The worktops are quick and easy to install, and are one of the few options that can be tackled by a competent DIYer (although we would suggest that you always use a professional tradesman).

Cons The material can scratch and scorch, and the damage is usually irreversible. It has visible joints and limits the type of sinks that can be used – conventional inset sinks (that fit into a prepared cut-out in your worktop) are best suited for use with laminate worktops.

Price: From around £20-30 per linear m; curves and breakfast bars from around £45 per linear metre

An unsightly cooker hood is turned into a bright, boxy work of art in this loft apartment located in a converted school in Antwerp, Belgium. The cabinetry is the work of Dries Otten (driesotten.be), a designer with a love of combining simple lines and playful colour

A black worktop, made from high-pressure laminate with a section of bright green plastic in this loft apartment located in a converted school in Antwerp, Belgium designed by Dries Otten (driesotten.be). For more details see ELLE Decoration Kitchens Volume 2. Link at end of post.

 

For more inspiration on all things kitchens download a digital edition of ELLE Decoration Kitchens Volume 1 for just £2.99 via the ELLE Decoration app. Not forgetting ELLE Decoration Bathrooms Volume 1, also available for download via the ELLE Decoration app. Price £2.99.

And… from 2 March to 5 April 2017 ELLE Decoration Kitchens Volume 2 is available absolutely FREE with the April “Decorating” edition of ELLE Decoration, on sale at all good UK newsagents.

april_kit1_2_bath_849_300

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Ends



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