Wood is the most eco-friendly option for kitchen worktops, warm and mellow, wood is available in a variety of grain patterns and colours, from light woods such as pale beech, to dark woods such as black walnut. Wood is also hygienic and easy to repair. Looking after wood worktops requires nothing more than applying a thin coating of oil twice a year to prevent it drying out, plus removing any burn marks or scratches by sanding then oiling the affected area. Wood worktops are easy to clean and well priced, however they can be prone to rust stains, scratching and score marks.
Hardwood works best for food preparation and dining areas, Iroko and Teak are ideal for using around the sink as they are naturally water resistant with a high oil content. Hardwood tops suit all kitchen styles and can even be incorporated into a contemporary kitchen designs by adding some glass or stainless steel. Hardwood counter-tops can be easily maintained by wiping up spills immediately to prevent staining, sealing with oil to stop drying out, and scratches, scores and burns can be easily sanded out with fine wire wool. If Hardwood worktops are properly sealed and maintained they will last a lifetime if you avoid using the worktop as a chopping board and placing hot pans directly onto the wood. In addition Hardwood is easy to cut and install in most kitchen areas.
Ideal choice if you want a seamless run of worktop with no joins and easy fitting. Can be used anywhere in the kitchen including around the sink and next to hobs. Composite wood work tops are available in a range of dramatic colours and will look fabulous in modern and contemporary design kitchens. If your kitchen design is more traditional, composite worktops are also available in neutral, natural colours. Easy to maintain, just wipe up spills to prevent marks and keep clean with a mild detergent. Unlike real wood, no sealing is required and composite is as tough and durable as natural stone. As an added bonus, the colour runs right through the material, so any scratches can be simply sanded out just lie a hardwood counter-top.
Laminate worktops can be easily fitted on a DIY basis and they're easy to look after too. Great for use in general food preparation areas, around the sink and around hobs and cookers. laminate is available in a range of finishes to mimic more expensive worktop materials such as granite, slate and hardwood, so can be used in both modern and traditional designs. No sealing is required and laminate is resistant to most stains and chemicals, but not great with heat and definitely not suitable as a cutting surface. The two main advantages of laminate as a worktop material are the price and the fact it can be easily cut and fitted by a DIY enthusiast rather than having to hire a kitchen professional.
The cost of the actual worktop will vary tremendously depending on the type of wood, with laminate and composite being much cheaper than solid hardwood. You can pay anything from £60 to £800 for a 3 metre length! The fitting costs are similar however (though working with solid hardwood is still a bit more expensive), if you want a mitred corner, solid wood worktop with the old sink and hob re-fitted and then two coats of oil, this would typically cost around £350 and take one man two days to complete. Remember that a qualified person is required to reconnect gas and electric hobs by law, so factor this cost into any quotations you may receive. To compare quotes from local kitchen specialists, simply click the "post your job" button on this page to get started for free.