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Help! Which worktop do I choose?

(PART 1)

In the first of a 2 part article, Lorna Puttock explores the different types of worktops available, and which one is right for you.

Lorna Puttock is on the design team at Clarendon Kitchens

Lorna Smith-Reeve is on the design team at Clarendon Kitchens

This is a question I’ve heard so many times.  People change their kitchens on average once every 15 years and are often overwhelmed by the choices now available.  So, with such a vast range of worktop options on the market how do you choose which is best for you?

Which worktop you go for is an extremely important part of deciding the overall look and feel of your kitchen and also has a big impact on budget.  Whilst we can advise you based on your individual needs and requirements, ultimately it will very much come down to personal choice.

At the premium end you may find you prefer the seamless look and versatility of Corian whereas others may favour the strength and natural beauty of Granite.  If you’re working to a tighter budget you may consider Wood, Mistral or Laminate.  There really is a worktop out there to suit all.  The decision doesn’t have to be overwhelming and below is a rundown of the main worktop options we supply at Clarendon, together with a few pros and cons of each.


Corian worktop with integrated sink

Pros: Seamless, Hygienic. Versatile. Stain resistant. Comes in a wide range of colours.
Cons: Can scratch.  Not as heat resistant as granite (although I would never recommend placing a hot pan directly on any worktop surface).
Price Range: High

Corian is a manmade surface composed of acrylic polymer and alumina trihydrate, a material derived from bauxite ore.  It offers a beautiful seamless worktop which is both heat and stain resistant.  It comes in a wide range of colours/designs – you won’t struggle to find a Corian worktop to compliment your scheme.  It is templated onsite once your kitchen cabinets have been installed and fitted by the manufacturer.  Because of this it can be made to fit any shape.  With Corian you can have moulded sinks, curved upstands, drainer groves and curved edges.  Corian is easy and inexpensive to repair and though it can scratch regular maintenance will keep it looking fantastic for many years to come.


Stunning country kitchen in rural Norfolk

Pros: Unbeatable shine. Natural look.  Strength.
Cons: Ongoing maintenance. Poorly sealed granite can harbour bacteria in its pores and stain easily.
Price Range: High

Granite worktops offer a really natural and spectacular look.  The granite is carved straight from the earth and polished till it shines.  It’s a truly beautiful feature to any kitchen.  It is extremely strong –  resilient to cracking and chipping.  As with the Corian, Granite is templated and installed meaning it can be made to fit any shape.  Granite is a porous stone and inferior quality granites may require regular sealing to keep it protected from stains and bacteria, where as more quality products come with a long term sealant already applied.


Quartz worktops, such as Silestone and Compaq

Pros: Strength.  No ongoing maintenance. Stain resistant. Hygienic.
Cons: Areas exposed to direct sunlight could fade over time. Not as heat resistant as Granite.
Price Range: High

Quartz offers much the same features and benefits as Granite.  The main difference is that Quartz is a manmade worktop formed by combining crushed quartz (93%) and resin (7%) to achieve a worktop which slightly tops Granite in strength.  It comes with the added benefit that it is non porous and doesn’t require sealing therefore removing the risk of stains and bacteria.   It comes in a wide variety of designs and colours and with the same beautiful high polished shine as granite.




We will look at the pros and cons of wood, mistral and laminate worktops.