Metal worktops are becoming more popular for use in both domestic and commercial kitchens in the UK, thanks to their durability, ease of keeping clean and stunning looks. There are numerous metals to choose from but the most popular types are stainless steel and copper. Professional chefs love stainless steel worktops and you will find stainless steel often used in their state of the art kitchens. Stainless steel is very hygienic, waterproof and heat resistant.
Available in polished, matt and sandblasted finishes, it looks great and is not particularly expensive either. Stainless steel is easy to look after, simply wash with mild detergent solution and shine with a soft cloth. it is a very strong and durable working surface. However, the downside to stainless steel worktops is that they scratch easily so you can't cut on them. Stainless steel worktops cost from around £250 per metre.
Copper as a counter-top is nowhere near as common as stainless steel, however it is growing in popularity. The advantages of using copper a a worktop include ease of maintenance. Contrary to popular belief, copper is relatively simple to clean and you can wax or oil it periodically to keep it in the best possible shape. In addition copper tarnishes as it oxidises and reacts to the substances which will gradually dull the look and transition to a blend of reds, browns and greens, adding character and looking great in traditional style kitchens. Copper is also inherently antimicrobial, rapidly killing bacteria, viruses and fungi on contact.
Antimicrobial copper surfaces offer exciting options for reducing contamination throughout the kitchen and have been used throughout history as a hygienic material. Even better the antimicrobial property is intrinsic to the metal, so lasts the lifetime of the product, even after considerable wear and scratching, copper offers ongoing protection against disease-causing germs. Finally, although Copper is not cheap to buy as a finished material, but can often can be salvaged from scrap yards or commercial applications, so it's popular with those committed to green living. Unlike many chemicals, Copper is not harmful to people or the environment and completely recyclable.
There are over 350 different antimicrobial copper alloys available today in a wide range of colours and textures. So whatever your kitchen design, you should be able to find an antimicrobial copper option to suit. It is important to note that to preserve the antimicrobial properties, copper surfaces should not be waxed, painted, lacquered, varnished or oiled. Covering the surface will impair their antimicrobial efficacy. Prices for copper worktops start at around £500 per metre including the substrate, the copper and fitting.
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