It can be a difficult decision to choose your new kitchen worktops. As the heart of your home, and undoubtedly one of the most expensive items, your kitchen needs to be perfect. Your worktops are usually the most prominent feature in your kitchen and therefore you will want to make sure you make the right decision. They are the WOW factor.
Have you found yourself weighing up all the several types of stone to choose from? Are you feeling overwhelmed? It is critical to realise that there are several distinct worktop types all with their benefits and drawbacks. This blog aims to help explain the key differences between all the variations of stone we recommend you use for your new kitchen.
What are the Most Popular Types of Kitchen Worktops?
Quartz is the most popular, however, we also sell granite, marble, and porcelain worktops. Quartz is an engineered stone consisting of around 96% quartz and 4% resin/colourings. There are several variations in quartz as they are produced in an enormous array of patterns and colours. Granite and marble are both natural stones that are cut from a quarry rock face in blocks. These blocks are then delivered to manufacturing facilities where they divide/cut the blocks into slabs and polished them (what you see in our factory). Porcelain is also synthetically made from ceramic clay and mineral colouring.
What are the Differences?
Each type of stone has good qualities however, some have slight limitations in terms of durability. Granite is a considerably tough stone due to it being an igneous rock. If the granite worktops are sealed correctly and then maintained, it will protect them from staining and germs producing over the many years of its' life. When looking at heat resistance, we recommend not placing hot pans directly onto the surface as it may damage it. A simple test can be carried out to see if your granite needs sealing by pouring a small cup of water onto the surface and leaving it for 30 minutes. If the water does not absorb the worktop seal is fully intact.
Quartz has higher durability levels than granite. Our care and maintenance guides explains how to tackle everyday stains such as grease and limescale. We usually recommend just using CIF cream which lifts tougher stains right off the surface. While quartz worktops have a level of heat resistance (normally up to 150 degrees depending on manufacturer), it is not recommended to place hot pans onto the surfaces directly as the sudden change in temperatures may discolour the worktop. Instead, use a stone chopping board or trivet.
Porcelain is the most resilient type of stone we provide when it comes to withstanding heat and stains. This is a result of the intense heat they experience throughout the fabrication process. If porcelain is not installed correctly, it may crack due to the pressure. Therefore, you must be careful to talk through with your worktop supplier and make they are confident in supplying porcelain.
Marble is a gorgeous natural stone with some attractive veining, but it is softer and more porous than engineered stone. Therefore, it is the most prone to stains and damage. If it is purely the marble veining and style you like looking at a quartz such as Sergio's Bianco Carrara might be the best option. Many quartz materials have similar veining and look like real marble. If you want to use marble in your home, some other great areas to use marble would be in a bathroom or for a bespoke table top.
Our new range of reycled glass we have in stock by Compac is a great option to choose from as the range is made from 100% recycled glass making it fully sustainable - a great option for anyone thinking of the environment. Recycled glass is not heat resistant so make sure to use trivets instead of setting these items directly on the worktops. This surface is also a hygienic option. Due to its non-porous surface no germs can get inside the surface and grow.
What is the Most Expensive?
This all depends on the brand (as with a lot of things!). For example, quartz can be quite a cost effective option, however, if you buy from a large reputable brand such as Caesarstone, it will be more expensive and will be less eco-friendly (unless your supplier stocks these in bulk). When it comes down to it there isn't a huge difference in the way quartz is produced between different manufacturers. There are expensive options and more cost effective options in all materials. It's all about finding the solution thats right for you. Speak to one of our team for any advice.
What Works Best for Outdoor Worktops?
We recommend granite, quartz, and porcelain for outdoor worktops. Any outdoor product should be durable, and these materials have strong UV resistance. However, you must make sure the quartz you select is UV resistant, as not all are. The surface of quartz might become discoloured over time if the material is not UV stable.