A Comparison of Four of the Most Popular Types of Kitchen Worktop Surfaces

Granite – Solid Wood – Acrylic Polymer – Quartz

Choosing your kitchen worktop surface has never been more complex and never has there been so many different and diverse choices in colour texture and appearance available for your kitchen.

So which to choose? Do you go for a stone worktop, a resin type or a real wood work surface?

The following guide should help you with your choice…

Granite Surfaces

Granite is both a very fashionable and practical solution for the kitchen and offering the prestige of a real natural stone product, it is in my opinion; today’s number one popular choice!

Granite is available in about 100 types and colours and can be purchased in polished, honed or textured surface finishes. Usually supplied 3cm thick for kitchens surfaces, granite is very durable, extremely hard wearing and is difficult to scratch and stain.

Granite comes in continuous lengths of up to or just over 3 metres and widths large enough for any kitchen units – for spans over 3 metres you must have a joint, but most good granite suppliers make this blend-in well with the overall surface.

Sinks can be installed over or under the granite work surface, with grooves cut into the surface for draining. Granite lends itself to curves and other shaping very well, so almost all situations and all kitchen designs can be catered for.

Up-Stands set at the back of the granite on the wall look great at about 100mm high and you can also clad far higher behind the cooker for instance.

Granite truly is a popular choice for a kitchen work surface and it is also one of the two natural products. Falling prices have also aided the current popularity for this type of stone and is probably one of the main reasons why it has become the current number one choice for better kitchens.

Pros

  1. Granite is very tough
  2. Granite is durable
  3. Granite is fashionable
  4. Can cost less than the other choices
  5. Long lasting

Cons

  1. Not many light or plain colours available.

Cost

  1. Some granite is surprisingly low in cost, whilst others can be expensive
  2. Overall, granite is in my opinion the best choice for value
Solid Wood Surfaces

Solid wood is the other natural choice of worktop surface I will be discussing here and it certainly has its own unique charm.

Solid wood worktops, are made from real wood strips and are glued together to form a board. This form of construction helps the wood from warping or splitting and provides stability and ease-of-cutting when the worktop is being shaped.

Many common hardwoods are available including; oak and beech and the wooden worktop board is often coated or treated to enhance the colour and help resist the rigours of a busy kitchen.

A wood worktop surface can look fabulous within some country kitchens and even some contemporary styles, but beware; the surface can wear and go a little patchy in busily used areas of the work surface – with this in mind; this appearance can still be attractive in the right circumstances and to be fair, has to be accepted with a solid wood surface.

Pros

  1. A beautiful natural product

Cons

  1. Can become patchy in appearance after a while
  2. Water can stain it

Cost

  1. Varies according to the type of wood but probably the cheapest option

Acrylic Polymer SurfacesAcrylic Polymer surfaces were very popular a year or two ago but have stalled a little in favour of granite.

Acrylic Polymer with mineral surfaces are a coating/sheet that are formed onto a wooden board attached to your kitchen units, the joints are then blended-in, to give a seamless worktop surface.

Available in a host of colours, Polymer work surfaces can look very smart, especially if in a contemporary setting.

The surface however is not as hard as granite or quartz and does require care as it may wear, scratch or mark in a busy kitchen. Manufacturers do offer reasonable guarantees, for this type of surface, but if you do need it to be extremely durable, then in my opinion, it is not the best choice…

With this said; it is extremely versatile and can be fitted to form a surface almost anywhere in the kitchen!

Matching sinks are also available… Visit your local supplier for more information!

Pros

  1. Very smart when new
  2. Extremely versatile and it allows for seamless surfaces

Cons

  1. Not as long a life-span as granite or quartz
  2. Scratches and marks too easily

Cost

  1. May well be the most expensive option
  2. Is not great value for money

QuartzQuartz is in many ways a man made version of granite.

It is made from around 97% quartz (one of the hardest materials on earth) and then mixed with a resin bonding compound – this is then processed to form a very hard stone like product that is very difficult to stain or scratch…

Note: In Italy, Quartz is often advertised as scratch and stain proof, but this is not the case in Britain.

Quartz surfaces are made in an array of colours that normally can not be obtained with natural stone. This includes many plain colours, such as; beige, sand, cream, off-white and even a true white.

Quartz also offers some exceptionally bright colours such as red, orange and yellow. Black, with a reflective fleck is however the most popular quartz work top colour and is in my opinion, is certainly very attractive.

Quartz is usually supplied as an alternative for granite, where colour is the issue and is available from most good granite factories – do a local search on Google for your nearest supplier.

Pros

  1. Exceptionally tough and difficult to scratch or stain
  2. Long lasting

Cons

  1. Not a natural stone

Cost

  1. One of the most expensive choices

My adviceOverall, granite is still the choice I would recommend, this is simply due to it’s price and durability.

The other surfaces I have discussed here are still in many cases very beautiful and although they are not my choice, still have there place in the right kitchen.

Alan Bottomley

Alan Bottomley is a Granite Worktops Designer and Fabricator for Hart Granite, who are a granite worktops manufacturer and specialist supplier of stone products – their URL is: [http://www.hartgranite.co.uk] if you would like more information.

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