There are very few pieces of equipment in your home which need to stand up to so much wear and tear as your kitchen worktop. You need your worktop to be durable, hard-wearing, low maintenance, whilst also being attractive at the same time, and that gives you a minor headache when it comes to deciding which stone countertop to go for. As you can see, you ask a lot from your worktop, but it needs to give you everything you ask of it before you make the final decision.
There are many options available to you, and you need to also take into account the design of your kitchen, including the colour scheme you may like both now and in the future – you don’t want to be replacing your kitchen worktop too soon, simply because it doesn’t go with the new colour scheme you have chosen.
Stone countertops are not basic, they are luxurious and look very attractive when teemed with the correct kitchen cabinet colours and materials. You can choose between natural or manmade stone, both giving you the same hard-wearing and attractive appearance.
Which should you go for?
Artificial stone countertops have the highest level of resistance when it comes to heat and anything else which could damage their quality, such as cracking, staining, or heat. This is a durable option, and one which will last for a long time to come, with a high level of resistance to cracking and breaking, as we have just mentioned.
The most common manmade countertop materials include:
- LG Hi-Macs
These are all manufactured using a degree of natural stone, combined with manmade resins. The advantage of this combination is that you are left with a very hard and durable stone, which is very resistant to damage, non-porous, they don’t absorb liquid or bacteria, and they don’t stain either – everything you need from a countertop, and a recipe for your worktop lasting a considerably long time to come.
If however you prefer natural over manmade, you also have choice and benefits open to you. Granite is the most popular, along with quartz, and both offer a natural colour and vein running through the stone. Quartz is available in many brighter colours, because it is mixed with a small amount of artificial resin, to give it a different appearance to granite, as well as being available in matte or high gloss choices too. On the other hand, marble is a very natural and timeless stone, one which will give your kitchen an extremely luxurious appearance. The only downside is that marble is not as hard-wearing, and will take more maintenance in order to keep it looking as fantastic as it did when it was first installed, thanks to it being slightly softer than the other options available.
Because you are dealing with a natural stone, of course you need to look after your worktop. Some types of stone can be damaged easier than others, and we know that in kitchens you are always working with substances which could potentially cause damage, such as salts, vinegars, cleaning agents etc. You can get around this by removing spillages quickly, mopping them up when they happen, and being aware of anything which could possibly stain.
Granite is very good at being resistant to heat, so you can easily put hot pans down on the work surface without much in the way of worry. Marble on the other hand is the stone which is most likely to be damaged or stained, so extra care is needed here, although bakers will love the low temperature of the stone, making it the best type of worktop for baking work.
Finally we have quartz. Whilst quartz is a very strong and hard-wearing stone, it does not work too well with heat, because it is the stone which is most likely to react to heat changes, and could cause cracks; for that reason, simply be cautious.
The choice you go for really is personal, but if you can weigh up the pros and cons of each, both artificial and natural, then you can make a better, informed decision.