Since a kitchen worktop is so important, it's vital you pick the right one for your home. At Surfaces Direct we sell worktops made from three distinct material types. Each one comes with its own benefits, and each one can give your kitchen its own distinct personality.
We take a closer look at each worktop material and help you decide which one is perfect for your kitchen.
Laminate worktops are made from a sheet of synthetic material, wrapped around a block of eco-friendly particleboard. They are also available at a lower price than other worktop materials, but that doesn't mean they come with any compromises. In fact, laminate offers many benefits as a worktop material.
For a start, laminate worktops come in a very wide range of finishes. The synthetic material can be given the appearance of wood or stone, as well as more abstract designs. This means you have plenty of choices when you're deciding what to put in your kitchen.
Laminate worktops are also extremely easy to install. They are relatively lightweight, and their composition means you can cut them to size with less fuss than other worktop materials.
Once installed properly, a laminate worktop will provide your kitchen with a highly hygienic work surface. The surface is completely waterproof and non-porous, so water, oils and domestic chemicals won't affect it. Bacteria won't be able to penetrate it either, ensuring it stays completely hygienic. When you need to clean it, you can simply run a damp cloth over its surface to get it looking good as new once again.
However, laminate is vulnerable to sharp objects and excessive heat. Don't place cooking pots and the like on the surface without some kind of potholder, and don't use the surface to chop vegetables or other foods.
Solid surface worktops are constructed similarly to laminate worktops; they feature a layer of synthetic material bonded to a core of particleboard. The solid surface material is a little thicker than laminate, and bears a close resemblance to granite. However, it comes in many different finishes, both light and dark, so you don't need to make any compromises on appearance.
The material also has other benefits compared to granite. Solid surface is easier to install; it's lighter, and with the right adhesive you can create seamless joins between each worktop piece. This gives your solid surface the look and feel of a bespoke worktop. It's also much cheaper than real granite, but without a radically different appearance or functionality.
Otherwise, solid surface has the same benefits of laminate worktops. The surface is non-porous, so food and domestic chemicals won't affect it, and you can wipe it down after use to maintain its appearance. The material is also more resistant to heat and sharp objects, though we still recommend you don't expose the worktop to either of these.
These worktops are a relatively new addition to our kitchens. Unlike conventional laminate worktops, ultra slim worktops use laminate all the way through. Several layers of the material are pressed together into a single piece, which comes with several advantages.
A key benefit is that ultra slim worktops are extremely fashionable at the moment. Measuring 12.5mm thick, and available in many different finishes, they're the perfect choice if you want a stylish kitchen. However, this doesn't mean the material is flimsy or a case of style over substance.
Ultra Slim worktops have extremely high tensile strength; this means that despite their slim profile, they won't break or bend under pressure. The material is highly durable, and doesn't require any special maintenance. You can also create drainer grooves in the surface, creating a sleek, attractive area where you can leave washing up to dry out.
Otherwise, ultra slim worktops have similar benefits to laminate worktops. They are easy to install, their surfaces are completely waterproof, and you can wipe up any accidental spills with a dishcloth. However, potholders and chopping boards should be used to protect the material from damage.
If you prefer something a little more authentic, real wood worktops are still very popular. As the name suggests, these worktops consist of a solid block of real wood. The material is naturally strong and hardwearing, and you can even sand it down if you want to remove minor imperfections.
Wood is an excellent way to bring a little extra warmth and character into your kitchen, especially if you have a minimalist kitchen style. However, the material will complement many different kitchen styles, in part because it's always in fashion. Wooden worktops also improve with age; as time goes by, wooden worktops acquire a patina and their colours deepen. And since no two pieces of wood are the same, you can be sure nobody else has a worktop quite like yours.
Wooden worktops do require some light maintenance throughout their lives. To preserve your worktop's appearance, you will need to oil the surface—every 3 months or so—to keep it waterproof. You will also need to keep sharp or excessively hot items (like cooking pots) away from the surface to protect it from harm.