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Worktops really are the focal point of any kitchen, regardless of which units or furniture you choose, the worktops will undoubtedly be the making of your kitchen. But you need to consider more than just the look, you should consider the type of use and ensure the material is up to the job. A kitchen worktop really needs to be stain and heat-resistant, easy to clean, durable and affordable. A with most purchases, some compromises may be needed in terms of budget, so carefully consider what your priorities are and what you're prepared to compromise on. The most common stone materials used in kitchen worktops today include granite, limestone, marble or composite stone (engineered stone or quartz).
Granite worktops feature in a lot of dream kitchens, durable, hard-wearing and great looking granite worktops have become the pinnacle of classy kitchen design for many. Granite offers a glossy, smooth surface that once installed will last for many for years to come. Granite is formed naturally around the world, but there are huge variations in colour and grain, giving consumers with a wide range to choose from. Granite is a timeless material which never looks out of place and can be easily fitted in with different colour schemes. Incredibly hard wearing, granite very resistant to heat, stains and water damage, usually supplied with a polished, glossy finish, but you can choose a matt finish if you prefer.
Marble is actually a form of crystallised limestone, but both limestone and marble make stunning worktops, with the only downside being their porosity, which makes them prone to staining. However it is possible to avoid much of the staining by looking after it and cleaning regularly with a mild washing up liquid solution, avoiding abrasive or acidic cleaners as these will dull the surface. On the plus side, limestone and marble make virtually indestructible worktops and look fantastic in any kitchen. be aware however that they are expensive and heavy, so much so that units underneath may require reinforcement.
Composite stone worktops (aka engineered stone or quartz) is a manufactured material made from natural quartz which is bound with resin. Like stone, it's incredibly strong and heat and stain-resistant. There are a number of composite stone brands available in the UK, the most popular brands being Silestone and Zodiaq. Composite stone is non-porous, so just wipe clean and avoid putting very hot pans directly on the surface. Available in many colours and finishes, Composite stone can look much like granite or marble, but much cheaper!
Tiles can be made with ceramic or stone, with stone tiles made of the same material found in solid stone worktops, like marble and granite, but at a fraction of the cost. Tile worktops offer stone like durability at bargain basement prices. In addition, tile worktops can be created on a DIY basis. The disadvantages are that you have to clean the grout joints on a regular basis, so they require more day-to-day maintenance than solid stone worktops.
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