Choosing The Right Worktop Material For Your Kitchen
Fitting a new kitchen can be a daunting experience, all you want to do is a transform you tired looking kitchen into place where you can entertain guests, but with so many cabinets to choose from it can be hard to know where to start! Cabinets vary greatly in terms of both quality and price. As a generalization, pre-built solid cabinets are usually of a much better quality than their flat packed counterparts, but it is always a good idea to do a bit of research before you buy a particular brand.
If possible, go to the showroom in person and assess the build quality for yourself. It can be hard to get a feel for how well built a cabinet is just by looking at photos online. If your budget allows, I would always suggest you opt for a solid wood cabinet over flat packed laminated chipboard cabinets, they are much stronger and will outlive their chipboard counterparts many times over.
Thankfully, when it comes to choosing a kitchen worktop, your options are much more clear cut. Most kitchen worktops fall neatly into one of three categories, and each category of worktop has its own benefits and downsides:
Laminated worktops are usually made from wood chips. The chips are bonded with a thermo-reactive glue and then pressed into board by high pressure rollers at high temperature. The result is a reasonably durable board that can be produced to pretty much any dimensions, but it certainly won’t win any beauty contests at this stage. The board is beveled to give it a bull nose, and laminated to improve aesthetics, protect the porous wood chip interior, and create a hygienic food preparation surface. Laminated worksurfaces can be installed by almost anyone with a reasonable competency in DIY, but they seldom last more that a few years without beginning to show signs of wear and tear. Laminate edging strips are prone to de-lamination and often catch on clothes and break off leaving the unsightly chipboard exposed. The main benefit of these types of surface are that they are comparatively cheap to buy. If you have the budget to stretch to either a man made solid surface, or a granite surface, then the benefits in terms of durability and aesthetics are certainly worth the extra outlay.
Composite Stone Surfaces
A relative newcomer to the worksurface scene, composite stone surfaces are constructed by bonding quartz with resin. Composite stone worktops are available in many designs, including imitation marble and imitation granite. Blizzard Quartz is a composite stone surface that looks like marble, but is actually much harder and far less prone to scratching. Composite stone is easy to maintain and does not require sealing.
By far the most durable and aesthetically pleasing kitchen worktop, granite worktops are available in a huge range of colours and patternations. Granite is heatproof and will last for years. Granite is the ultimate choice for top pastry chefs because it maintains an ambient temperature that is ideal for rolling out pastry. Whilst granite is a little more expensive that the other options, installing this worksurface can actually increase the value of your home, so it’s fair to view the cost as more of an investment than an expenditure.