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We explore the pros and cons of the best worktop materials and give expert tips on how to look after them so they last for years to come.
Choosing a kitchen worktop is not only important to the functionality of your kitchen, but to the overall aesthetic of your home.
The right worktop should look and feel like it fits seamlessly into your design theme, while also being practical for everyday use.
Typically, a good kitchen work surface will last you 10+ years - so material, style and colour are all major considerations.
But finding the best kitchen worktops for your space can depend on a lot of factors, such as personal taste, lifestyle requirements and, of course, budget.
Here’s an overview of the different worktop materials to help you with your kitchen design project…
Quartz worktops are made from engineered stone, usually containing up to 93% quartz particles that are mixed with other materials, then formed into a slab. It has a contemporary finish but also offers a lot of variety in terms of colour and style.
Price range: £££
When thinking about quartz worktop pros and cons, price is an important factor. The cost of quartz can definitely add up for larger kitchens, but the total spend will also depend on thickness and slab size.
Although this is on the more expensive end of the spectrum, quartz does offer some of the best kitchen worktops on the market, and it can give you great versatility when it comes to design.
Caring for quartz worktops is incredibly easy. As it’s non-porous and resistant to bacteria and staining, a cloth soaked in soapy water is usually sufficient for cleaning. This also means that harsh cleaners like bleach are not necessary.
Granite kitchen worktops are a stylish, beautiful and luxurious choice. One that has been a favourite in homes for many decades. The look is timeless, with a striking organic element of natural swirls, veins and unique colouring.
Price range: ££
Granite is a great middle-of-the-road material that offers one of the best solutions for hard-wearing kitchen worktops at a great price point.
Taking care of your granite kitchen is relatively easy, and surfaces can be cleaned with a soft cloth, warm water and mild soap/specialised granite sprays. Make sure you use cleaning solutions that are pH-balanced and avoid applying harsh chemicals or abrasive sponges.
If you want to create a sense of opulence in your home, marble is an excellent choice. It’s long been linked with luxury and can instantly elevate a standard kitchen into something special.
Due to the natural markings of marble, every slab is unique, giving your space a point of difference - this is why marble is such a huge favourite for homeowners.
Price range: ££-£££
Marble kitchen worktops are high end worktops in a similar price bracket to quartz. However, they can work out to be a little bit more cost-effective depending on the type of marble and thickness of slab you choose. The stone can last a lifetime too, making it a great long-term investment.
While it’s one of the best kitchen worktops for luxury seekers, the downside is that marble is a porous stone and can stain. It can also scratch if you’re not careful, making it a tricky option for busy family kitchens. Sealing is typically recommended every year.
To clean, avoid acidic cleaners and opt for gentle pH-neutral solutions instead.
Manmade from 1/3 acrylic resin and 2/3 natural minerals, Corian has a solid surface and looks great in a variety of colours. Corian is actually a brand name, but the term is commonly used to refer to any type of solid worktop containing polymer and natural minerals.
While Corian countertops will have visible seams when the surface area is particularly large (or if it has an irregular shape), most kitchens can get away with a seamless look.
Price range: ££
The cost of Corian kitchen worktops is lower than granite and more expensive than laminate, giving you an affordable mid-range option with hundreds of colours and styles to choose from.
One of the disadvantages of Corian worktops is that they can be prone to dents and scratches. It’s also not as heat resistant as quartz, granite or marble so always use trivets for hot pans and baking trays. Clean the surface with warm, soapy water or an ammonia-based household solution.
Often selected as an alternative to marble, ceramic worktops offer the same high-end finish but with a glossy or clay-like surface. The overall look is contemporary, giving your kitchen area a clean and modern aesthetic.
Price range: ££-£££
Due to the complex manufacturing process, ceramic can be expensive like quartz or marble. However, as it’s a low-maintenance material, it’s a worthwhile investment that will prove to be cost-effective over time.
Although ceramic is a low-maintenance option, it can still be prone to scratches. To maintain the condition of your worktops, avoid using highly acidic cleaners or detergents containing bleach. Opt for a microfibre cloth over abrasive sponges to prevent scratching.
Minerva is a brand of synthetic countertops that is sometimes compared to Corian. Manufactured using state-of-the-art technology, it has colour running throughout, with a silky-smooth finish.
Price range: £-££
Compared to Corian, Minerva can be a much more affordable alternative. At the same time, it offers you a slightly more deluxe option than lower-budget countertops.
Minerva provides you with a convenient and fuss-free kitchen surface. It does not require special cleaning solutions, and most dirt will wipe off with a damp cloth and soapy water.
Made with a plastic overlay and design layer bonded to man-made board, laminate kitchen worktops can mimic just about any finish. Whether you dream of weathered wood or lavish marble, laminate can achieve a similar style without the high cost.
Price range: £
As the most affordable kitchen worktop on the market, laminate is a good choice for anyone with a more modest budget.
Despite promising strength and durability, laminate can peel and may even burn or melt if exposed to extreme heat. To prevent damage, keep work surfaces dry and always use trivets when placing hot cookware down.
Timber worktops come in so many varieties, giving you an easy way to personalise your space and find a look that works with your interior concept.
Wood fits in seamlessly with traditional kitchen styles, while also working well with more modern design concepts.
Price range: £-££
Due to the diverse range of wood worktops out there, the price may vary. But generally speaking, timber is more affordable than stone. Wood also ages well, making it an affordable investment that can last for years to come.
Unlike some of the other man-made materials out there, wood requires bi-annual maintenance with oil products - this will prevent rotting and discolouration. Clean with a soft cloth and warm water after every use, and make sure trivets are placed down to avoid splitting or warping.