The Cheltenham house is being treated to a new kitchen. We had very fixed ideas on the style of kitchen we wanted and have chosen white high gloss units to maximise light with a handleless design for a clutter free profile. The plan is to maximise the sense of space in our tiny victorian galley kitchen. When it came to choosing worktops the decision was far more difficult… In fact the kitchen is due to be installed in just a few weeks and as yet we have still not decided upon a material for the worktops.
The Cheltenham house restoration has been a labour of love and it has been a slow process. Originally the intention was to leave the kitchen alone but as other rooms reached completion the kitchen started to look like the poor relation. Queue a bank holiday mooch around Magnet that rapidly got out of hand – our new kitchen arrives before the end of the month. We got a good deal on the units but my first tip would be to shop around for your worktops. There is a huge choice of materials and costs range from a few hundred pounds to quite a few thousand pounds depending on whether you are going for laminate, solid wood, composite, concrete or solid stone surfaces. No matter which material you go for you’ll save a lot of money by looking online. I found a good selection at solidsurfacekitchens.co.uk and they were able to undercut the Magnet special deal prices by over 25% in most cases.
A Quick Guide To Worktops
I’m no expert but having been in the market for kitchen work surfaces for a few weeks now I’ve been cramming like I’ve got an exam tomorrow. I’ve got a good idea on the price and benefits of the most common (and some not so common) kitchen counter products on the market. All of my costings are based on 8 meters of work surface.
< £500 Laminate
The budget option, laminate worktops have certainly become better looking in recent years and there are premium laminates on the market that certainly deserve a look in. The flat edge profile you can get on some current laminates feels more modern than the older round edged finish, it just depends on whether you mind the visible seams you get along the corners and of course laminate tops will not last as long as more premium materials. They are so much cheaper though that you could afford to replace them every few years and you’d still be saving.
£1k+ Solid Wood
If treated correctly solid wood tops will last for years, you just need to look after them – especially around sink units. I think solid wood can work well in a country or farm style kitchen and can also be used to soften and add warmth to a stark modern city kitchen. Available in many styles from light oak to an almost black wenge there is a solid wood that will work with most kitchen colours and styles. www.worktop-express.co.uk stock over 15 different finishes at rock bottom prices.
It seems that the composite market has seen the most growth in the last few years – Corian was one of the first solid stone replica’s to hit the market years ago but now there are many companies out there and the prices have dropped considerably. Composite work tops all follow the same basic design principle – the appearance is that of solid stone, however, the tops are constructed from a lightweight core structure that is then coated with a stone like man made resin. The result is a very hard surface that feels like stone but without the associated high cost and weight issues. With some composite surfaces you can even add accents like drainage grooves around the sink, just as you can with solid stone. I found a good selection at very good prices at solidsurfacekitchens.co.uk.
£2k+ Concrete / Béton Ciré
For an industrial super contemporary feel you might want to consider polished concrete or Béton Ciré, in both cases the surfaces are usually created on site so there is additional cost involved for time, design and installation services. The natural finish of concrete is not to everyones taste so Béton Ciré might be the best option for you. This ultra fine grained close relative of concrete can be dyed any colour you like. Why not colour match your work top to your kettle! You can get more information and see some beautiful Béton Ciré examples at http://www.modernhomesolutions.co.uk/
£4k+ Solid Stone
Although solid granite or marble worktops can look fantastic and are incredibly hard wearing, for this project they were cost prohibitive. The Cheltenham house is not our forever home and I feel that stone worktops are an investment purchase that we are unlikely to get the value from… Especially as solid stone work tops would approach or potentially exceed the cost of the entire kitchen with fitting too!
Has anyone recently gone through this process? I certainly found choosing a worktop to be the hardest element of the kitchen design to get right. I really wanted to do something a bit different or daring, along the lines of Concrete or Béton Ciré but I think from a budget point of view it is likely to be solid wood or composite that offers the best compromise of aesthetics and affordability.
Has anyone got any other solutions for worktops that I should investigate before committing, I am aware that I haven’t touched on glass worktops but I was put off them having heard reports that they can scratch easily. I’ve also been looking more closely at premium laminates, does anyone have experience with these?