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Kitchen worktops


Kitchen Worktops Compared

Decide On Your Ideal Kitchen Worktop

Deciding on a worktop material can be as important as choosing the design of your cabinets. You may be limited by your budget, but its worth considering all the options. Practicality is a key consideration as worksurfaces get rough treatment from pans, cutlery, heat and spills, but colour and texture are also important as worktops play a big part in the overall look of your kitchen.

Useful tips

Choose worktops and splashbacks at the same time. You can then match or contrast laminate panels, tiles etc.
Expensive worktops are not usually suitable for DIY installation. Take this into account in your budget.
Mix and match- for example combine one surface made of granite with laminate or wooden worktops.
Get care information for wood worktops from workop supplier or ask our Ajax Builders worktop installers
Worktop materials come in varying thicknesses. The most common thickness is 40mm. Hardword is also available in 27mm and 40mm thickness. Worktops are available from as little as 20mm but can also be manufactured in such as way as to give the appearance of much thicker worktops of up to 100mm if required.

Hardwoods are a popular choice as they blend in well with country-style kitchens and add a natural element to high-tech designs. Choose from solid hardwoods like oak, cherry, maple, iroko, teak or beech, which can be stained in various shades. They can cost more than £300 a metre, but affordable versions are available.

For: Hard-wearing and long-lasting - in fact, they can even improve with age. Stains watermarks and signs of wear and tear can be sanded out and will usually disappear when the surface is re-oiled. (High grade Danish wood oil is available widely)

Against: Spills should be kept to a minimum- some stains show significantly on lighter woods and water can cause damage. Oiled finishes need to be renewed periodically.

Best Used: - Food preparation and dining areas, for example, 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.

Best Look: - Suits all kitchen styles. Can be incorporated into a contemporary scheme using glass or stainless steel to ad a warm feel.

Upkeep: - Wipe up spills instantly to prevent staining. Once established, seal with Danish or linseed oil quarterly to stop drying out. Scratches can be sanded out with fine wire wool.

Sealing Required?: - Hardwoods require an initial programme of sealing using oil. Apply a coat once a day for the first week, then once a week for the next month, then once a month for a year.

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.

Flexibility & Fitting: - Wood is very easy to cut, and is suitable for use in most situations.

Price per linear metre: - Prices start from £200.00 per linear metre

Composite worktop

Composites are man-made materials created using acrylic resins and natural minerals. Probably the best-known brand name is Corian®. Available in a range of colours, it can be virtually any shape and can be moulded to incorporate sinks and drainers; upstands can also be included in the design. Though pricey at around £300 a metre, Unicom offer a 35% discount. Also, its hard-wearing, hygienic and stylish.

For: Little specialist care needed. Stains and scratches can be sanded out. Seamless joins means there nowhere for bacteria to hide. It has a smooth, tactile surface.

Against: Dearer than most top's. May require professional installation.

Best Used: - A very practical and beautiful choice that can be used anywhere, including next to hobs and around the sink.

Best Look: - Dramatic colours such as grey and blue look fabulous in modern and contemporary kitchens. If your kitchen design is quite traditional, stick to neutrals such as cream.

Upkeep: - Wipe up spills to prevent marks. Keep clean with a soft, damp cloth and a mild detergent.

Sealing Required?: - No

Durability: - Composite is very tough and more durable than many natural stones. As the colour runs right the way through the material, any scratches can be sanded out.

Flexibility & Fitting: - This worksurface can be thermoformed into different shapes without joints to create streamlined, seamless worktop runs.

Price per linear metre: - Prices start from £86.00 per linear metre

Granite worktops

Best Used: - 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.

Best Look: - Granite is a luxury material that never falls out of fashion and suits traditional and modern styles. Choose from a classic polished finish, or a honed matt for a more contemporary look.

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

Sealing Required?: - No

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 at once.

Flexibility & Fitting: - With advances in modern technology, granite can be cut into a variety of shapes and sizes, although it is very heavy to transport and difficult to manoeuvre.

Price per linear metre: - Prices start from £82.99 per linear metre

Laminate worktops

Laminates come in a huge variety of colours and designs. They are very affordable, costing from as little as £40 for a three-metre length, and can be installed by a competent DIY-er. They come with curved or straight edges, which can be fitted with either matching or contrasting edge trims. Smooth and textured surfaces are available.

For: Plenty of inexpensive versions. No special care. Easy to clean and install.

Against: Deep scratches will show although colour-matched repair products are available. Light coloured laminates may stain in heavily scuffed or scratched areas.

Best Used: - General usage, including food preparation areas, sink runs and around hobs and cookers.

Best Look: - Can accurately mimic other worktop materials, including granite, slate and wood, so it will suit modern and traditional schemes.

Upkeep: - Very low maintenance. Clean with mild detergent.

Sealing Required?: - No

Durability: - Resistant to most stains and chemicals, but not to heat or steam. Not suitable as a cutting surface. Choose a thicker high-pressure worktop for greater durability.

Flexibility & Fitting: - One of the few materials that can be cut and fitted by a DIY enthusiast rather than a kitchen professional.

Price per linear metre: - Prices start from £31.00 per linear metre


Best Used: - In wet areas. Perfect for a seamless integrated sink and worktop run.

Best Look: - Suits most schemes. Available in a wide 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.

Sealing Required?: - No

Durability: - Stain and water resistant. Heat resistant to 250°C, but best to use a trivet. As it is a solid surface material, scratches can be sanded out.

Flexibility & Fitting: - Can be formed into any shape without the need for ugly or unhygienic joints.

Price per linear metre: - Prices start from £121.00 per linear metre

Quartz worktops

Best Used: - This surface has overall natural, durable qualities combined with luxury and style. Virtually the toughest of all counter tops also boasts zero absorption. Very hygienic and long lasting!

Best Look: - Will fit in with almost any kitchen design. Available in various colours, something to match every colour scheme.

Upkeep: - Low-maintenance. Simply clean with a damp cloth and mild detergent.

Sealing Required?: - None required

Durability: - Stain and water resistant. Heat resistant to 250°C, but best to use a trivet. As it is a solid surface material, scratches can be sanded out.

Flexibility & Fitting: - When quoting for the supply and fitting of a complete worktop we would strongly prefer a sized sketch, scanned, faxed or posted so that we all agree on exactly what was quoted on. Without that information it's extremely difficult to provide an accurate quote. However this process gives peace of mind that the end result will be exactly what you want!

Price per linear metre: - Prices start from £121.00 per linear metre (please check our site for current prices)

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