There are a number of different materials that work surfaces can be made of and finding a balance between the aesthetics and practicality is the key.
A good way to get an idea of how a kitchen work surface will look, as well as to get the opportunity to understand it better is to visit a showroom – such as bespoke kitchen experts, Stonehouse’s London showroom. Here you see how they look and how they work in each style.
Some of the most popular work surfaces for the kitchen include:
WoodWood is a very popular material for work surfaces. It gives a rustic, homely and country feel, and there is a wide range of different wood types as well as stains, finishes and polishes which can be used to give you the perfect finish for your kitchen.
You can also use recycled wood – and send your old wooden work surfaces off to be recycled, meaning that it can be environmentally friendlier than other materials.
Wooden work surfaces, however, do have some disadvantages. It is soft compared to stone, meaning that it can easily be dented and can be susceptible to staining. Heatproof mats are needed if you want to put a pan down, and ink from magazines, some fruit and even damp mugs can stain the surface.
Wood can also be lightened by the sunlight and you should be careful about what cleaning products you use of it. Wooden surfaces should be treated with oil and wax regularly to help to protect it.
GraniteGranite work surfaces are known for their luxurious look (it is in fact one of our most popular worksurfaces!). Granite is an extremely hard material and therefore doesn’t chip or scratch easily – the only time it can really scratch it are objects that are as equally as hard or harder. Another reason why granite can be beneficial is that, due to its unique pattern, you will never get two pieces of work surface the same making your worksurface completely unique – and its pattern does very well at hiding any stains that might occur.
Granite is extremely heavy so it can be difficult to install if you want to do it yourself. It is a better idea to find a professional kitchen installer to install it for you rather than try to do it yourself.
LaminateLaminate is very cost-effective and easy to fit for work surfaces. It is light, can be applied to almost any kitchen work surface and comes in a wide range of different finishes giving you a great deal of flexibility. You do need to be able to choose your laminate kitchen worksurface well, to ensure that it looks good.
Laminate is also easy to clean and wipe down, but it can be damaged by scratching and heat. If your laminate does get damaged, although it is inexpensive, you will need to replace the whole section.
MarbleMarble is another luxurious looking kitchen work surface material. It is a natural stone, so hard and difficult to scratch or chip – although a lot softer than granite. It will stay cool in warm temperatures and its natural pattern is also good at disguising stains.
Marble work surfaces, however, can stain – especially from acidic foods like lemons and fruit, and this is why it is actually more common for use in bathrooms than kitchens. You will also need to seal it every year to keep it in good condition.
Choosing the best work surface is fundamental to the design and overall look of your kitchen, but also needs to fit in with the practicalities of what you are using it for. By researching a little about the work surfaces which are available and looking at some examples of kitchens using each one, you are best placed to be able to choose the right work surface for you.