Making the decision to buy a brand new kitchen is not one which should be taken lightly, there are many elements which have to come together in order to create the perfect kitchen, not to mention expense. Planning and preparation are key elements to ensure your kitchen stands the test of time so you won't be faced with making this decision again in a hurry.
Primarily planning your kitchen for optimum efficiency should be considered, remembering the rule about having an efficient work triangle which consists of cooker, fridge and sink, the 3 main areas of the kitchen which are utilised the most, after this should be workspace.
One of the biggest considerations which should be made when buying a kitchen are the worktops, every kitchen requires a clear amount of workspace in order to create culinary delights, and nine times out of ten you purchase the kitchen units separately to the worktops which you require, although to purchase the worktop you will have to know how much space it will need to cater for as worktops are sold in predetermined lengths.
All kitchens are very different and have to cater for personal preference, the decor you wish to have in your new kitchen may also determine what style of units you opt for, colour of appliances you choose as well as style of worktop, whether this be wooden, marble or granite.
Worktops are very easily understated in the selection process, with little thought given except to how well it fits in with the decor, and yet your worktops will ultimately be one aspect of your kitchen which is under constant use. If you are someone who likes to spend lots of time in your kitchen cooking then having hardwearing worktops is a good idea, sometimes you can even buy a butchers block made from exactly the same material, this is a godsend for chopping and slicing without marking your worktops.
It is acceptable to say that your choice in kitchen and therefore in worktops will be heavily dictated by the budget you have to spend. The higher the quality of worktop the more expensive it will ultimately be.
Many DIY stores these days offer worktops which are made from covered chipboard, these will on average be roughly around 30mm thick, these worktops are perfectly acceptable and will do the job required when replacing a kitchen on a lower budget, but if you have the money to spend purchasing worktop of a higher quality then this will ultimately be a better investment.
For wooden worktops the lowest grade industry standard stave is 40mm, but as mentioned these are the lowest standard and made from a poorer quality of wood. 60mm is the accepted trusted standard. All wood has to be graded and therefore goes through an evaluation process which takes into consideration colouration of wood, knots, sapp generation etc before being sorted for usage. The better the grade of wood the better the worktop it will be used for.
There are other things to bear in mind when buying worktops which is hygiene and maintenance, we are all very hygiene orientated these days and like to use our antibacterial sprays and disinfectants on surfaces, so being granite or marble would be perfect. Buying a natural wood worktop means that keeping it clean and cared for maybe slightly harder as the wood will need to be fed or oiled to keep in tip top condition. Some worktops such as granite and marble especially if dark surfaces are a little unforgiving easily showing up spills and smeary marks so it is essential to see which products can be used safely with your worktops in order to keep them shiny and hygienically clean without ruining their natural lustre.
Your worktop has to suit your needs and requirements, both aesthetic and practical, therefore looking at all the alternatives and budgets are essential, there is more to buying worktops than simply matching it with the decor.
Anna Stenning looks into the different types of worktops which are available for installation in the kitchen, which are the best and does cost dictate quality.