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What Type of Worktop should I choose?

Posted by Aaron Dronsfield on
What Type of Worktop should I choose?

Choosing the right worktop is probably the most important decision to make during the planning of your kitchen. Not only do you have to consider the colour but whether the worktop will withstand all the day to day activities life throws at it. 

During this blog we will breakdown the most popular worktop materials and rank them under the areas of colour choice, impact strength, maintenance, price, heat resistance, scratch resistance and stain resistance. Using this information will hopefully help you to make the right choice for not only your budget but your needs. 

Colour Choice

Positioned as one of the most visible aspects of your kitchen, the colour you
choose for your worktop can make a substantial difference to the overall
look and feel of the space.

There are a few key elements you should think about when selecting a colour, one of the most significant being whether you want light or dark surfaces. Consider how much natural light your kitchen benefits from and whether it’s a small or large kitchen, as the latter can handle a darker colour scheme whilst the former works well with light colours to create a brighter, more open environment. 

When it comes to the colour variances available across different materials, you’ll find some are much more limited than others. Natural materials like wood and stone are often restricted by their original form, though there are substantial light and dark variations. Engineered materials like laminate and quartz can offer numerous alternatives – often replicating the look of marble, concrete, wood and granite. Quartz, in particular, is able to create a striking resemblance in both colour and texture, with premium quality designs able to transcend the original source inspiration with a consistent composition to avoid discolouration or shading.

Impact Strength

With sharp knives and cast-iron skillets aplenty, your kitchen worktop needs to be able to withstand everything that daily life throws at it. Whilst you can do everything in your power to be careful, accidents happen and sometimes they’re completely unavoidable.

Your worktop is arguably one of the most hardworking elements of the entire kitchen, so it makes sense to select a material that has strong impact resistance
and durability, especially considering how costly some materials can be to repair. It is worth bearing in mind that you get what you pay for across all materials, with cheaper variants often much easier to damage.

Wood is naturally softer than most other surface materials, meaning it can be prone to dents, with laminate also susceptible to damage due to it’s less solid composition. Marble and concrete can chip and scuff – of all the natural materials, granite is the strongest. Quartz, by far, is one of the most enduring, made up of one of nature’s strongest minerals.


How much time and effort you’re willing to devote to the upkeep of your worktops is something you should consider before selecting a material.

Realistically, no one wants to spend hours cleaning and maintaining their worktops – but there are some materials that require a little more care and attention to be aware of, should you be after something particularly low-maintenance.

Wood, granite and marble require regular sealing because of their porous nature, with marble in particular renowned as being notably difficult to look after, vulnerable to staining even after being sealed. You’ll also need to regularly varnish wood if you want to maintain the colour and texture. In terms of day-to-day cleaning, granite, quartz and laminate can be cleaned with warm soapy water, whilst it’s recommended that you get a specialist cleaner for marble.


There will be a kitchen worktop to fit every budget. Most materials, in fact, can be sourced at both low and high price points. You need to carefully
consider how much money you want to allocate towards your worktop – generally speaking, between 20-25% of your overall budget is an average
amount to spend.

As mentioned previously: you get what you pay for. For almost every worktop material you’ll be able to source a cheaper alternative, but spending less can mean that you’re risking the overall quality and design.

Laminate is a low-cost material and you can even fit them yourself without needing much DIY knowledge, but it is more prone to damage and can look and
feel cheap. For the majority of the other materials, the price can vary depending on the specific type you choose within each variation – spending more on granite, marble and quartz can often ensure a long-term investment. You should also factor in ongoing costs, with granite and marble requiring regular sealing.

Heat Resistance

Every worktop surface is able to handle the heat of a hot cup of tea, but it is often the first casualty to a hot pan, so you’ll want to factor in the heat-
resistance properties of each material.

At the lowest end of the scale with the least heat-resistance is laminate, which can burn or even melt when exposed to very hot temperatures. Wood is also
susceptible to scorch marks, whilst quartz is highly heat resistant but it’s recommended that you use trivets or pan stands.

Natural stones like granite and marble are well prepared to handle high temperatures, with marble in particular always cool to touch because of it’s low heat-conductive properties.

Scratch Resistance

Ideally, you want your worktop to look as good as new, for as long as possible. Minor scuffs and scratches are somewhat inevitable because of the sheer day-to-day use of your kitchen, but some materials are more susceptible to scratches whilst others may make them appear more

The texture and finish of the material have an impact here, with stainless steel and concrete in particular known to show up scratches and cracks – though some argue this adds to the authenticity and creates a worn appeal. The natural strength and resilience of granite and quartz allow them to withstand scratches well, though if you were to damage your granite surface, it is not easy to repair.

Stain Resistance

Another important aspect that should influence your decision is its ability to repel and deflect staining. Spills and splashes are inevitable in any kitchen, but some surfaces react in different ways, mainly depending on
whether they are porous or the type of finish.

As one of the more porous surfaces, marble is highly reactive to acid – lemon or vinegar can leave dull etching marks – and any spillage needs to be wiped up immediately with a very mild, pH-neutral soap. Regular sealing of both marble and granite can help but can’t effectively prevent staining. Concrete is also prone to showing marks, especially spills like red wine or coffee.

You need to be quick on clearing up water spillages on laminate or wood worktops, as they can absorb liquids and swell, whilst the colour can also change when oiling wood surfaces. Quartz and steel virtually repel stains due to their non-porous properties, also making them highly anti-bacterial.

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