Worktops are an element of the kitchen that can be overlooked when it comes to the initial stages of planning and design. However the worktops, much like choosing paint colours, can make or break the way a space feels and even to some extent, the longevity of the kitchen.
Marble countertops are absolutely stunning but the surface is porous and can stain easily so if you want a surface that will look as good in 10 year’s time then low maintenance quartz could be a better option.
To help you decide what will work best for you, we’ve put together a few useful tips on quartz, marble, timber, granite and quartzite worktops…
1 / Q U A R T Z
Quartz worktops are durable and will look just as amazing in years to come as the day they are installed.
Easy to clean, all you need is a non-toxic, non-acidic cleaner or a little soapy water.
It’s important to remember that whilst Quartz is strong it’s by no means bomb-proof. Warm items can be placed on the surface but anything above 70°c placed directly onto the worktop could cause damage due to thermal shock.
Having said that, this is the same with most kitchen surfaces and can be avoided by placing something beneath a hot object such as a wooden board or trivet to avoid unnecessary heat exposure.
2 / M A R B L E
Nothing can touch marble for its natural beauty and exquisite markings; it really is second to none in terms of pure aesthetics.
Carrara marble is (relatively) inexpensive compared to other surfaces, but as a porous surface, you must be comfortable with the damage that inevitably occur in a working kitchen.
Lemon and other acidic ingredients will eat into the marble while spices like tumeric and chilli powder, and even tea, can cause everlasting damage.
This Georgian Hunting Lodge project has Carrara marble in the kitchen, prep kitchen / pantry and scullery. The ogee edge gives a traditional feel to the marble.
3 / T I M B E R
For a prep table we love to specify a solid oak top, such as English pippy oak which has lovely natural burrs and lots of character.
The prep table at the Old Rectory project has a beautiful English pippy oak worktop which is wax oiled to provide a protective finish.
Above is another example of the pippy oak worktop on the prep table in the prep kitchen at the Cotswolds country house project together with a close up so that you can really see the natural burrs in the timber. It’s a very special surface and works really well for prep tables.
The prep table in the Knightsbridge project is natural oak with a wax oiled finish. It’s a simple, beautiful way to show off the natural European oak that we used for this project.
The island at the Park Lodge project has a cylindrical breakfast bar which is finished in Ludgate oak and is situated across from the main sink/ prep area separating the two integral spaces.As a general rule, wood and water do not mix well and wooden worktops will quickly deteriorate, so we always specify quartz or stone for a sink area.
4 / G R A N I T E
Granite worktops are beautiful, durable and extremely robust. In recent years they’ve gotten a bit of bad reputation due to the black highly polished granite that became popular but was really tricky to keep looking good due to every fingerprint showing up very easily.
One really clever way around the issue of the polished finish is to choose black anticato worktops – the top is mottled, almost like it’s been hammered and very reminiscent of soapstone worktops which are so popular and prevalent in North America.
The worktops at the Ashurst House project are all black anticato granite.
Similarly the island at this project in Chelmsford is black Anticato granite which looks wonderful paired with the Caesarstone quartz on the cooking run behind.
The beautiful island at the Cotswolds country house project is granite and has an incredible veining that is so reminiscent of marble and a more durable alternative for a hard-working kitchen.
The granite worktops in the Cotswolds project have so much natural movement and combine with the rest of the kitchen design to create a timeless and classic English design.
5 / Q U A R T Z I T E
The polished quartzite worktops specified at this project on the island create a wow focal point that has the perfect combination of beauty and durability.
Above is a great close up of the Bianco Eclipsia quartzite on the island which provides a lovely contrast to the much paler, more simplistic quartz throughout the rest of the kitchen.
Worktops are without a doubt the workhorse of the kitchen so functionality is key.
At Humphrey Munson our showroom kitchens are all fully functioning spaces that we use for cooking so we typically use quartz because of the durability and low maintenance. We ensure worktop samples are available to view when a client visits either of our showrooms for the design meetings and would recommend trying to view a larger sample if you can, whether installed in the showroom or at the manufacturer’s showroom.
If you include a kitchen island, try to be mindful of the size and check with your designer that worktops are available in one piece to avoid any joins if possible.
Many projects have such large kitchen islands though that there is no way to avoid several discreet joins in the worktops such as the Tudor Manor House project where the island measures 5.5m!
For more information on working with HM on a project, please call us on 01371 821300 or email us at email@example.com.