Are you planning a kitchen renovation and in need of the perfect worktops? Choosing the right kitchen worktops is a crucial decision that can greatly impact the overall aesthetics and functionality of your dream kitchen. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various worktop materials, including laminate, quartz, granite, marble, and Corian. By examining their advantages, disadvantages, and costs, we aim to assist you in making an informed decision for your kitchen renovation project.
How Much Do Kitchen Worktops Cost?
Determining the cost of your kitchen worktops depends on several factors, such as the chosen material, your location, and the installation charges by your fitter. Laminate worktops are generally the most affordable option, both in terms of material cost and installation expenses. On the other end of the spectrum, granite and marble worktops tend to be more expensive due to the custom cutting required to fit your kitchen precisely. To provide you with a general idea of the average costs, here is a breakdown based on online prices from various retailers:
- Laminate: £30–£200 per linear metre
- Solid wood: £50–£250 per linear metre
- Corian: £150–£350 per square metre
- Granite: £315–£470 per linear metre
- Quartz: £300–£500 per linear metre
- Marble: From £315 per square metre
How to Choose the Best Kitchen Worktop
When selecting the best worktop for your kitchen, three main factors should guide your decision-making process: your budget, the size and style of your kitchen, and how you intend to utilise the work surfaces.
Kitchen worktops vary widely in price, ranging from a few hundred pounds to several thousand pounds. The cost depends on factors such as the type of material, installation method, and additional features like edge profiles, integral draining grooves, and surface finishes. Keep in mind whether the worktops can be installed simultaneously with the kitchen or if they require templating and fitting at a later stage. While laminate and certain solid and quartz surfaces can be easily installed, granite, Corian, and many composite quartz worktops need to be custom-made and fitted.
Different worktop materials offer varying degrees of resistance to heat, impact, and moisture. If you are an avid cook, prioritise worktops with excellent heat, scratch, and stain resistance, such as granite and composite quartz. Conversely, if low maintenance is a priority and you seldom engage in extensive cooking activities, laminate worktops might be a suitable choice. Consider mixing materials in your kitchen to accommodate different uses, such as installing durable worktops near hobs and sinks, using timber as a chopping block, and incorporating decorative materials for breakfast bars or tabletops.
Style and Size
Since worktops cover a substantial portion of your kitchen’s surface area, they significantly influence the visual appeal of the space. Choices related to colour, thickness, finish, and material impact the overall look of your kitchen. For example, in smaller kitchens, light-coloured worktops or those with a glossy finish can help create a sense of spaciousness by reflecting natural light. In larger kitchens, combining different materials or colours can add interest to an island or break up long runs of the same material. Additionally, certain materials, like timber, contribute to a rustic feel in traditional kitchens, while Corian worktops maintain the sleekness of contemporary designs.
The Best Kitchen Worktop Materials
The kitchen worktop not only serves as a functional surface for meal preparation but also contributes to the overall aesthetics of the space. With a wide range of options available, it’s essential to select a material that not only suits your style but also meets your practical needs.
Average price: From £30 per linear metre
Durability: Good scratch, stain, and heat resistance but susceptible to water ingress
Maintenance: Easy to clean; no resealing required
Best suited for: Those on a budget or seeking affordable wood- or stone-effect worktops.
Laminate worktops consist of a wooden particleboard core with a decorative layer and a sealed coating. Modern high-pressure laminates (HPL) utilise advanced printing techniques to mimic the appearance of natural materials like granite, wood, and stone. While providing good value for money, laminate worktops are durable, scratch-resistant, and easy to clean. It is advisable to use trivets for hot pans and opt for an inset sink to prevent water seepage into the core. Laminate worktops start at around £50 per linear metre, with varying lengths available.
Average price: From £50 per linear metre
Durability: Prone to scratches and dents; susceptible to water damage depending on wood type
Maintenance: Naturally antibacterial but requires frequent oiling to prevent stains and water damage
Best suited for: Classic or country-style kitchens
Timber worktops offer an affordable option compared to other materials. However, being porous, they require regular oiling to protect against water damage, spills, and stains. Timber is susceptible to scratches and dents, making it unsuitable for areas near hobs and sinks. Various wood types are available, including oak, beech, maple, and iroko, each with its unique characteristics. Bamboo, a fast-growing grass, is another option known for its water resistance and sustainability.
Average price: From £300 per linear metre
Durability: Good heat, scratch, and stain resistance; hard-wearing engineered stone
Maintenance: Easy to clean; scratches can be buffed or polished out; deeper dents can be filled with resin
Best suited for: Nearly any kitchen style due to the wide range of colours and patterns available
Quartz worktops, also known as engineered stone, are a blend of quartz crystals/minerals, binders, and pigments. They offer excellent scratch, heat, and stain resistance, as well as durability. Quartz worktops can be seamlessly joined and are non-porous, making them antimicrobial. Their advantages include colour uniformity, a broad selection of stone-effect options (e.g., marble and concrete), and easy maintenance. Light scratches can be buffed out, while deeper marks can be filled with resin.
Average price: From £315 per linear metre
Durability: Hard-wearing stone with good heat, stain, and scratch resistance
Maintenance: Polished finishes are easy to clean and require less frequent resealing; honed, brushed, and leather finishes need regular resealing
Best suited for: High-use kitchens with contemporary designs
Granite worktops are a popular choice due to their resistance to heat, staining, impact, water, and acid. As a natural product, each piece is unique, providing a distinctive look to your kitchen. Granite worktops are recommended to be sealed upon installation, and regular maintenance involves resealing. Polished finishes require less maintenance, while honed, brushed, and leather finishes may need more frequent resealing. In addition to their practicality, granite worktops offer a wide variety of colours and patterns.
Average price: From £150 per linear metre
Durability: Stain-resistant but prone to scratches; vulnerable to heat
Maintenance: Easy to clean; light scratches can be buffed out
Best suited for: Modern kitchens; ideal for integrated sinks and splashbacks
Corian is a branded engineered material, composed of one-third acrylic resin and two-thirds natural minerals. It offers unique properties compared to other worktops. Corian is flexible when heated, allowing it to be shaped and formed into seamless integral sinks and curves. It is resistant to stains and durable but susceptible to heat damage and scratches. While minimal overall maintenance is required, light scratches can be buffed out. Corian worktops come in a wide variety of colours and patterns, providing design versatility.
Other Kitchen Worktop Materials
Apart from the popular options mentioned above, there are other materials worth considering based on your kitchen usage and preferences.
Stainless Steel Worktops: Ideal for commercial-grade durability, easy cleaning, and heat resistance. However, they are prone to scratches and dents and can be quite expensive.
Concrete Worktops: Customisable and suitable for modern kitchens with an industrial aesthetic. While they are highly durable, cracks may develop. Concrete worktops have similar pricing to quartz or granite.
Glass Worktops: Versatile surfaces available in various colours and finishes, including options with integrated lighting. Glass worktops are durable, scratch-resistant, easy to clean, and considered eco-friendly. However, repairs for chips, scratches, or cracks can be challenging. Glass worktops are among the most expensive options, costing approximately £360 to £560 per square metre.
For those seeking a balance between value, design options, and minimal maintenance, laminate worktops are an excellent choice. They offer a wide variety of styles and mimic the appearance of wood or stone at an affordable price point. To ensure longevity, it is advisable to select the best quality laminate within your budget.
Alternatively, if low maintenance and design versatility are your priorities, quartz composite worktops are an ideal option. They provide exceptional durability, consistent colour options, and a range of patterns. With quartz worktops, you can create your dream kitchen, knowing that they will maintain their stunning appearance for years to come.
Before finalising your decision, request samples from suppliers and obtain quotes to ensure you make the best choice for your kitchen worktops.