When you design your kitchen, the worktop – with the fronts of the cupboards – is a preponderant element. Whether it is its shape, its layout, its material, it determines the tone of your kitchen. Its daily use means that its design should not be taken lightly. What should be considered in terms of a work plan? What materials are offered? How are these materials maintained? Casually, many elements are to be taken into account when designing your work plan. So follow the guide!
What should you make sure of when choosing your countertop?
The material of your new kitchen worktop should visually match the design of your kitchen. So you need to choose a visually appealing countertop. Naturally choose good quality and solid workmanship. This will make it a lasting investment for you and will ensure long-term use. The materials offered are varied, ranging from the more common ones like fairly inexpensive laminate to slightly more expensive real wood worktops. But harder materials such as artificial or natural stone or concrete are also very frequently used. For all these surfaces, it is relevant to ensure that they are heat resistant and easy to maintain.
What material should you choose for your kitchen worktop?
Each material has its positive and negative aspects. For example, some are very strong while others are easily scratched or damaged. And some materials cost a lot more than others.
For a while, granite was considered the material of choice for countertops. Granite brings elegance to a kitchen. Even the most modest kitchens seem like luxury kitchens when they are made of granite. Historically, granite has been an expensive material, but its cost has come down somewhat as supplies have increased and cast stone has become more common.
Soapstone is another natural stone, usually dark gray in color that has a smooth, silky feel. Over time, the stone takes on an antique patina which can be very attractive in a certain style of kitchen. If you opt for this type of worktop, be aware that it is a fairly hard and stain-resistant material. However, it is likely to scratch over time – although this can add to the patina and therefore charm of the stone.
Marble is another common natural stone used for kitchen countertops. Because no two sheets of marble are exactly alike, each marble countertop will be entirely unique. Due to its extremely high price, it does not necessarily cover all the worktops of the same kitchen. Most often, its luxurious appearance is limited to use on an island or a section of the worktop. Although highly prized, marble may not be the best choice for kitchens due to its propensity to get stained or scratched. It is a stone that is considerably more “capricious” than granite or soapstone.
The countertop material known as “quartz” is actually a product that contains quartz and other minerals, shaped into slabs and bonded with resins. Quartz was created as a more adaptable and better performing alternative to granite and marble.
Ceramic countertops are durable and easy to clean, and they are considerably less expensive than natural stone countertops. Recent innovations in ceramic tiles offer many more design options than ever before, including tiles that look like wood, marble, or even leather or cork.
Laminate countertops are plastic-coated synthetics with a smooth, easy-to-clean surface. Although previously considered rather low-end, they are now very popular due to their variety of colors, patterns and styles.
Wooden worktops offer a nice warm look and are also available in a wide range of colors and finishes. Hardwoods such as maple and oak are very often used species.
For a truly contemporary and industrial look for your kitchen, stainless steel is a good choice. Stainless steel worktops are both heat resistant and durable.
If you’ve planned an unusually shaped countertop or want a truly unique kitchen, concrete may be a good choice. Due to their heavy weight, concrete countertops are usually cast in place, right in your kitchen. The tiles are highly polished and can even be textured or acid stained to produce color. Although concrete can be prone to cracking, new treatments can reduce this tendency. Concrete porosity can also be reduced with additives.
How do you maintain a kitchen worktop?
Anyone who uses their kitchen a lot and uses the worktop every day naturally wants to reduce their cleaning and maintenance efforts. With materials such as ceramic or laminate, cleaning and maintenance are quite simple. However, special care should be taken with solid wood – the surface should be treated with oil or wax very regularly. This is also the case with granite, soapstone and concrete, all three of which require specific attention.
What is the ideal working height?
For reasons of ergonomics, the height of the worktop should always be individually adapted to the user. This makes your activity easier and protects your back at the same time. Because if the work plan is too low or too high, you are forced to adopt the wrong posture.