Worktops

Different kitchen worktop materials have different advantages and there’s a wealth of products on the market nowadays, so it’s important to get advice before you decide. All Timbercraft’s showrooms carry extensive ranges of worktop samples and our designers can offer you individual advice for your own project. In the meantime, here’s some tips to help you get started.

Laminate

The most popular choice of worktop in the UK, laminate comes in a huge array of colours and designs, from granite and wood effects to textured and brightly coloured. More affordable than most other surfaces, they are also hard wearing and easy to maintain.

Ideal for: General usage, including food preparation areas, sink runs and around hobs and cookers.

Best look: Mimics other worktop materials, including granite, slate and wood, so will suit both modern and traditional schemes.

Upkeep: Very low maintenance. Clean with mild detergent.

Durability: Laminate surfaces are more heat resistant than they used to be and will withstand heat from hot spillages and containers. However it is not recommended that you place a hot pan on a laminated worktop as this can warp the surface. Due to the non-porous surface of laminate, liquids will not be absorbed and can be easily wiped away. They are very resistant to most stains and with minimal care will retain their uniform colour without discolouration from staining for years.

Wood

Mixing different materials such as timber and granite can be a cheaper option

For natural warmth and character, solid wood is a great choice for both classic and contemporary kitchens. There is a growing trend for consumers to use warm natural colours and materials in the home. Because it’s a natural material, each piece will vary in grain and tone and it is worth considering that it will develop a patina and character with use. Wood is more high maintenance than other materials; it will require regular oiling but the results are certainly worth it.

Ideal for: Food preparation and dining areas such as islands and breakfast bars. Iroko and teak are ideal for using around the sink as they have a high oil content and are water resistant. One of the advantages of using wooden worktops is their versatility. It can be machined into a variety of different shapes and sizes to add a real feature to your kitchen design. It also contrasts beautifully with other materials used for kitchen worktops such as granite.

Best look: Suits all kitchen styles. Oak, maple and beech will work well in a traditional kitchen. Bamboo, wenge and iroko will give a more modern feel. Exotic timber species such as zebrano can be used to make a dramatic design statement with its beautiful golden colour and unusual dark brown grains running throughout.

Upkeep: Wipe up spills immediately to prevent staining. Oil with Danish or linseed oil quarterly to stop drying out. Scratches can be sanded out with fine wire wool.

Durability: If hardwoods are properly sealed and maintained they will last for a long time, but don’t use the worktop as a chopping board, or place hot pans directly onto the wood, as it can scorch.

Granite

Granite worktops look fantastic and are highly functional. They are tough, durable, heat resistant and easy to keep clean. Every granite worktop is unique, reflecting the geological conditions which created it. It’s one of the most expensive options but it looks great and is often worth the expense for many people.

Ideal for: Any area of the kitchen, including around the sink and next to the hob or oven. A large expanse of glossy granite makes a striking island worktop. Granite can be cut into a variety of shapes and sizes.

Best look: It’s a luxury material that never falls out of fashion and suits traditional and modern styles alike. Choose from a classic polished finish or a honed matt finish for a more contemporary look.

Upkeep: Very low maintenance. Clean using a damp cloth and a mild detergent.

Durability: The best of all the natural materials, it can withstand high temperatures, is water resistant and impervious to most stains, but wine and citric acids must be cleaned up immediately.

Corian

Corian allows a seamless look with an integrated sink

Corian is the brand name for a product that’s a mixture of acrylic and natural minerals. It’s completely solid and available in more than 100 colours. Perfect for creating fluid shapes, curves and flowing lines. As it’s man-made, the colours and patterns are consistent and the joins are invisible, providing a seamless finish that can be teamed with matching integrated sinks to create the impression of one single piece. This makes it really hygienic too, as there are no gaps or joins for dirt and bacteria to hide in. It offers superior design possibilities and has an excellent long-term performance.

Ideal for: Seamlessly integrating a sink and worktop. It’s design options are almost limitless.

Best look: Suits most schemes. Available in a variety of colours – choose bright hues for modern kitchens, white for architectural, and any pale shades for traditional rooms.

Upkeep: Low-maintenance. Clean with a soft cloth and mild detergent.

Durability: Stain and water resistant. Heat-resistant to 100°C, but best to use a trivet. As it is a solid surface material, scratches can be sanded out.

Quartz

Quartz worktops are made up of over 90% natural quartz, which makes them extraordinarily hard and resilient. Because quartz worksurfaces are engineered, almost any colour can be brought out in the surface by means of pigmentation. Not only that, but other types of organic materials such as stone and glass can be incorporated into the quartz-resin mixture. There are many different brands to choose from including Silestone, which is the one and only worktop made of quartz with anti-bacterial protection, giving it hygienic properties that are not to be found anywhere else on the market.

Ideal for: A very practical and beautiful choice that can be used anywhere, including next to hobs and around the sink. Quartz is non-porous and highly resistant to staining from coffee, wine, lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, make-up and many other everyday products.

Best look: Dramatic colours such as dark grey and black look fabulous in modern and contemporary kitchens. If your room design is quite traditional, stick to neutrals such as cream.

Upkeep: Keep clean with a soft, damp cloth and a mild detergent.

Durability: Natural quartz has a hardness of 7 in the Mohs hardness scale (diamond is number 10) therefore Quartz worksurfaces are highly resistant to scratches and knocks but should not be treated with reckless force, care needs to be taken with knife blades.

Mix It Up!

Mixing materials is a growing trend, adding interest and texture to schemes and preventing the look from being overpowered by one material. It may also potentially help to reduce the cost of worktops. For example, granite is a premium material that comes with a premium price, so introducing areas in timber will not only make a feature in the scheme but may also be more affordable.