One of the questions we hear most often asked by our customers is “what is the best kitchen worktop?”. The question should really be asked differently.. It should be “What kitchen worktop is best for me?”
Ultimately, the answer to this question lies with you and how you use your kitchen.
We all use our kitchen in different ways. Some people do lots of baking, so may prefer cold surfaces for rolling out dough and pastry. Others may use lots of spices and oils in their cooking and would benefit from a non-porous surface.
- What do you do in your kitchen apart from cooking?
- What type of food do you cook?
- Do you run a catering business from home?
- What style of kitchen are you planning to buy?
With so many questions and options, it’s enough to give you a headache!
The following guide will explain the different material options, their properties, pros and cons and give you an indicated scale of cost. See the handy matrix at the end where we sumarise the most desirable qualities of the six worktop types.
Although showrooms have a wide range of materials available, we will cover the most common materials that can be found in almost every showroom.
Brand / alternative names – Formica, Duropal, Bushboard, Nuance
These are the most cost effective solution for kitchen worktops. A chipboard core finished with a top layer of 1mm thick laminate. Commonly supplied at 38mm thick, although available in 12, 20, 25, 40 and 50mm thick.
There are some laminates that are more expensive than others. For example, some materials have square edges (PP) with every face and edge finished to “seal” the board, while others only have the top and rounded lead edges finished. Those with a ‘PP’ edge can have curves cut with factory finished reinforced edging.
If looked after, laminate tops can last for years. They are easy to clean and are surprisingly resilient to staining. During installation, it is important to seal joins and cut-outs with silicone as they are the areas most susceptible to water ingress.
Guide cost per linear metre £30 – £150
Solid Wood Worktops
Oak, Walnut, Beech, Iroko, Bamboo, just a few of the different types of wood used for kitchen worktops. There is no denying that wooden worktops are beautiful, they add so much character and warmth to any kitchen.
Manufacturers produce them in block form by gluing and joining wooden staves that are 40-120mm wide, creating large boards. Custom-made tops with full-length staves around 200mm wide can be crafted to create the illusion of a single solid wood top.
Solid wood worktops require significant care and attention to maintain their appearance. They are prone to scratching, scoring, and staining, so regular sanding and oiling are necessary to keep them in good condition. Due to these maintenance requirements, wood is commonly used for breakfast bars, butcher blocks, and tables rather than for entire countertops.
Guide cost per linear metre £100 – £280
Brand / alternative names – Corian, Mistral, HI-MACS, Minerva / Acrylic, Solid-surface
100% non-porous with seamless joins, these are one of the most hygienic options for kitchen worktops.
Man-made resin worktops consist of a composition that varies among brands, typically comprising acrylic-resin (80%), quartz, and colour pigments.
These worktops offer easy cleaning and the ability to polish out scores and scratches.
Corian by Dupont is widely recognized as the most renowned brand for resin worktops.
In addition to Corian, HI-MACS by LG utilizes a thermo-forming process for fabricating worktops. This technique allows the material to be shaped and molded according to specific applications. For instance, worktops and upstands are created from a single piece, eliminating the need for silicone-filled joints and enhancing hygiene.
Due to differences in molecular makeup in the acrylic, other brands of resin worktops cannot be fabricated using this method. As a result, Corian and HI-MACS often come at a higher price compared to other brands.
Due to the semi-matt finish and thin profile of resin worktops, they work well in contemporary styled kitchens.
Guide cost per linear metre £280 – £450
Natural Stone (Granite and Quartzite)
Natural stone worktops are second to none in terms of aesthetic form and beauty. Every slab of granite and quartzite is totally unique.
If you want character and drama from your worktop then these materials are for you.
Note: Quartzite is not the same as Quartz worktops.
(See the next section for Quartz worktops) You may also find our in-depth comparison between granite and quartz interesting.
Manufacturers typically cut them into slabs that are 20 or 30mm thick and approximately 3m x 1.4m in size. However, there is no uniform size, so the cost of the material will vary.
There are many different colours of granite and quartzite, each quarried from different parts of the world and each at a very different price points.
Both materials are very hard (6-7/10 on the Mohs scale) so very unforgiving if you drop your best crystal on it.
Although they have very high heat thresholds, it is advisable to use trivets and pan stands with natural stone worktops.
Natural stone is highly porous, which is why the slabs are sealed with a stain-stop during fabrication (similar to Thompsons Water Seal). This protective barrier can be affected by direct contact with hot pans, hence the precaution of using trivets and pan stands.
It is very important to keep surfaces dry and to mop up spills quickly, especially if you choose a light-coloured stone so as to avoid staining.
Guide cost per linear metre £300 – £550
Brand / alternative names – Silestone, Caesarstone, Unistone, Arenastone
Not to be confused with quartzite, quartz worktops are man made. They are predominantly quartz mineral (85-98% depending on manufacturer) and acrylic resin.
Quartz worktops are very dense, hard wearing, highly resistant to staining and have a very low water absorption rate. Unlike natural stones, these do not require sealing.
With normal everyday use, your quartz worktop should not stain, however, some harsh chemicals and solvents can damage the surface which can lead to staining.
Cold to the touch and available in beautiful veined finishes, quartz is a great alternative to natural stones like marble.
Just like natural stone, quartz is available in 20 and 30mm thick slabs which come in uniform sizes of approx 3.2×1.4m.
There are thousands of finishes available from many manufacturers all at varying price points. Expect to pay more for brands like those mentioned above as they will have a higher quartz content and greater control over colour and book matching.
Guide cost per linear metre £300 – £700
Dekton by Consentino is an ultra-compact surface that comprises glass, porcelain, and quartz. It is the hardest material available for kitchen worktops.
The raw materials are bonded under extreme high temperatures and pressure through a high-tech process called Sinterized Particle Technology (SPT). This results in a non-porous and incredibly dense material that is resistant to water, scratches, UV rays, fire, heat, ice, and stains.
In simple terms, it is extremely durable!
Dekton is offered in various thicknesses, including 4mm, 8mm, 12mm, 20mm, and 30mm, and is available in true calibrated slab sizes of 3.2 x 1.44m. It boasts excellent color stability.
With a wide range of finishes, including natural stone and industrial effects, Dekton can be used to enhance the style of any kitchen.
Guide cost per linear metre £400 – £900