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There’s so many options when it comes to choosing a kitchen worktop. Lots of suppliers have created quick tables to compare the properties of different materials. But all of these grids focus on the worktop and not on you. So we want to put you and your design priorities back at the centre. Join us for a deep delve into the world of worktops.

Designing for beauty

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It is a cliché that we all know well. When it comes to natural stone it is hard for any beholder to deny its beauty. Marble, limestone and granite have been formed over thousands of years. Even the most premium man-made versions cannot match the intricacies that nature produces. When you walk into a kitchen with a stunning marble island or glistening granite worktops your breath is taken away. If your island is to be the centrepiece of your kitchen then stone is the natural choice.

Marble is often hailed as the premier choice for a luxury kitchen. If you choose marble for your kitchen worktops then you will have an array of colours to choose from. You can also guarantee that the piece you choose will be completely unique to you. You might not realise, that there is an abundance of choice with granite too. Although typically associated with darker tones, there is actually a plethora of tones and finishes available for your granite worktop that are just as beautiful as marble.

If creating a kitchen with wow-factor is your top priority then you can probably stop reading here and book in a visit to your local stone supplier. However, it is usually only one of many considerations. How to maintain that wow-factor and continue to enjoy the beauty of your natural stone is usually the next question. So let’s take a look at that in a little more detail.

Designing for practicality

Choosing to use natural stone for your worktops is an investment. We always think of it akin to choosing a luxury car. A brand new Ferrari will be beautiful and shiny and certainly make a statement. But just like any car it will get dirty, could get scratched and it will definitely need to be cleaned. However, you’re not going to take your Ferrari through the drive-through car wash. Instead you will invest in specific products to clean it and have repairs completed by specialist.

We urge you to think of worktops similarly. If you choose marble, then you need to be prepared for the ongoing maintenance. Marble is acid sensitive and also softer than other materials. This is particularly relevant in a kitchen. There’s no such thing as a self-cleaning worktop no matter what material you choose. But with marble it is important to use the correct products in the right way.

If however, practicality is an important consideration, then marble might not be the best option. Lots of people prefer a kitchen worktop that requires a little less maintenance or that they can use with less concern about what they do day-to-day. With this in mind, granite is considered more hard-wearing than marble. It is usually denser and doesn’t scratch as easily. Granite is also not acid sensitive in the same way as marble and limestone.

If practicality is you no.1 priority, then man-made is the best option. There’s a huge range of brands that manufacture worktops to look like stone. Quartz has been a popular choice for low-maintenance kitchen worktops for a long time. These materials look similar to stone, but they don’t have the same qualities. This means that the products that you use to clean them don’t have to be as carefully considered.

Designing for durability

Very closely linked with practicality is durability but the two shouldn’t be confused. Natural stone has been used in buildings for centuries so there’s no denying that it is durable. A marble or granite worktop won’t wear out. That doesn’t mean that it won’t wear though. And this is where the old cliché of beauty being in the eye of the beholder really comes into play. If you are looking to have a worktop that always looks perfect, then marble will need special care and even professional maintenance. However, marble can also be just as stunning as it naturally develops a patina over time. Many people are happy to live with the odd etch mark or scratch on their marble worktop and it’s still a statement in their kitchen. Enjoying the natural wear of a worktop is something that is completely personal.

Granite too is a great choice for a durable worktop. Being a little more hard-wearing than marble, means that you are less likely to experience staining and scratching that create that patina as described above. The other main advantage of granite is its restorability. Being a natural stone, means that the surface of granite can be repolished back to perfection. The structure of a man-made stone such as quartz means that this is not the case. If a granite worktop becomes dull or is damaged then we can use diamond abrasives to bring it back to its original condition making this stone an incredibly durable choice for a kitchen worktop that is beautiful too.

Designing for sustainability

The durability of stone is one of the factors that makes it a sustainable choice for a kitchen worktop too. Ensuring that the materials you choose for your home will not need to be replaced is a key consideration if you are planning a sustainable build. There is also lots of evidence to support natural stone as being more sustainable to produce than man-made alternatives and our recent blog series explores this in more detail.

One of the huge benefits of stone that makes it sustainable once in situ, is its restorability. Marble, granite and limestone worktops can all be restored. If you choose marble and are aware of the ongoing maintenance requirements then you can enjoy that worktop for many years without needing a professional restoration. However, spillages do occur the great news is that marble worktops like granite can be repolished and refinished back to their former glory. This means that you can choose a marble worktop safe in the knowledge that even if it is damaged, it is not beyond repair. And what is more, it will never go out of fashion. No matter how many times you redecorate your kitchen, the marble or granite worktop will always fit in. Natural stone is timeless and with the right know-how its beauty really an endure.

For more on our services for kitchen worktops click here.

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