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Kitchen Worktops: Buying Guide

The kitchen serves as the heart of any home, providing a space for families to gather, cook, eat, and socialise. In this crucial area, the worktop stands as one of the most vital components, often dictating the aesthetic and functional elements of the entire kitchen. Choosing the right worktop can seem overwhelming due to the myriad of choices available. However, this guide aims to simplify your decision-making process, offering a comprehensive overview of various worktop materials, their pros and cons, and factors to consider when buying.

Before you start

Before delving into the world of kitchen worktops, it’s essential to consider some factors that might affect your choice. Material selection, colour, finish, size of your kitchen, and budget are all critical considerations to ensure you select a worktop that fits your space perfectly.

Worktops, due to their expansive surface area, can be quite expensive. As a result, they’re likely to be a fixture in your kitchen for a decade or more. Therefore, getting your choice right the first time is crucial. By gaining a comprehensive understanding of what goes into choosing a kitchen worktop, you can confidently make a decision that aligns with your kitchen design and lifestyle.

Check Your Measurements

One of the first steps towards getting the right worktop is measuring your kitchen space accurately. This step entails identifying the locations where you plan to place your kitchen cabinets and measuring the length and width of these areas. These measurements should be precise to ensure a smooth fit for your countertops.

The measurements should correspond with your chosen kitchen cabinets. However, you should slightly increase the width to allow for an overhang. Remember to consider the shape of your cabinets and take into account corners and cut-outs for sinks, hobs, and taps. Knowing the desired thickness of your worktops is also crucial as thicker material will cost more.

After you’ve gathered your measurements, multiply the length and width of each section together in meters to find the total square meter area (sqm) of your worktops. Worktops are often sold per square meter, making this figure essential.

If this process seems daunting, you can opt to hire a professional kitchen fitter to take the measurements for you. They can ensure maximum accuracy and advise you on the number of separate worktop pieces you might need.

Ask for Samples

Understanding the material you want for your worktops is as important as measuring the space needed to fit them. Different materials suit particular kitchen aesthetics. For example, wood might work well in a traditional kitchen, while granite and quartz lend a more contemporary feel.

It’s helpful to have a concept of your desired kitchen style before choosing a worktop, as it makes it easier to narrow down which material you should select. Requesting samples is the best way to get an idea of how these materials will look. Reputable kitchen retailers should provide you with large samples that you can place in your kitchen, allowing you to visualise the material.

Consider Your Budget

Budgeting is another crucial step in the process of choosing a worktop. The cost of your chosen worktops will be heavily influenced by the material, its thickness, and quality. While worktops can be pricey, you should pick a material that suits your home and your everyday kitchen use.

When you have a clear idea of the aesthetic you want for your kitchen, this will narrow down your material choices. Combine this with your measurements to get an average cost of required materials, enabling you to budget effectively.

Remember to factor in potential installation costs if you’re not planning on fitting the kitchen yourself. These costs can vary, so always ask your chosen kitchen fitter for a quote.

Countertop Materials

There’s a broad range of kitchen worktops available, with common materials including laminate, wood, granite, Corian, and quartz. Each material has its pros and cons, so consider these carefully in relation to your specific requirements.


Laminate worktops are cost-effective and versatile, capable of imitating a variety of other worktop materials but at a significantly reduced cost. Constructed by binding a plastic overlay to a wooden board and coating it to simulate the desired surface, laminate worktops can come in a range of styles and colours not feasible with other materials. Their antibacterial and easy-to-clean properties make them a durable yet inexpensive option.

However, you should be cautious about the quality of laminate you purchase. Poor quality laminate scratches easily, and once this happens, it cannot be repaired. Laminate is also susceptible to peeling, burning, and melting when exposed to very high heat.


Granite is a luxurious worktop material. Stylish and beautiful, granite is hard-wearing, heat-resistant, and antibacterial. It’s also very easy to clean, requiring only warm water and a microfiber cloth or a granite spray.

However, granite can be incredibly heavy and expensive. Despite its durability, it’s still capable of being scratched. You should avoid cleaning granite with abrasive cleaners and sponges. Know more about Quartz, Click here.


Timber countertops offer a more homely and rustic feel and can work well with almost any kitchen style. The wide variety of natural grains and colours means you can find a unique style to suit your aesthetic. Timber countertops age well and are a natural fit for Shaker style kitchens or any traditional kitchen in soft and neutral tones.

However, wood can both scratch and stain easily. If exposed to water, you should wipe it clean immediately. Wooden surfaces also need sealing at least twice a year to maintain their integrity.


Corian is unique when it comes to kitchen worktops. Made from a blend of natural materials pressed and bonded together with an incredibly strong resin, Corian can be easily moulded to fit most kitchen shapes while being an entirely seamless single piece. Corian has the added properties of being heat, scratch, and stain-resistant, as well as being very easy to clean.

Corian is more expensive than wood or laminate. However, its resilience and price make it an excellent middle ground between more expensive materials like granite and cheaper alternatives.


Quartz, another man-made alternative to natural stone, is similar to Corian, being fortified with a resin for maximum durability. Quartz is one of the hardest-wearing types of worktops out there, coming in a vast range of colour options and being simple to keep clean.

However, this durability comes at a price. Quartz is heavy and one of the most expensive worktop materials out there. Know more about Quartz, Click here.

Countertop Edges

Choosing between the types of countertops available isn’t just about material. The edge and thickness of your countertop can be just as important to aesthetics as what they’re made out of.

  1. Eased edges are the classic type of countertop edge, being geometrically enticing and looking good in most kitchens thanks to their smoothed corners.
  2. Bullnose edges take the safety properties of eased edges and smooth off the edged angles for a rounded finish. Bullnose edges are a good option if you have young children and particularly thick counters.
  3. Bevelled edges offer an uncommon edge type, with a sloping 45-degree angle, helping to reduce chipping and increasing resistance to wear and tear.
  4. Ogee edges use concave and convex arches to curve the edge out in a pleasantly rounded shape.

Worktop Finishes and Colours

While many countertops come with their standard finish, you can add a personal finish or colour to your chosen material to make it truly your own.

For colours, there are three common choices.

  1. White is a good option for brightening up areas. It blends well with neutral styles and helps your kitchen appear more open, making it ideal for compact or dark spaces.
  2. Black helps emphasise bold tones while minimising the appearance of marks on your worktops.
  3. Grey works well with a pastel colour palette or to soften bold hues, making it very versatile.

As for finishes, there are several choices.

  1. Gloss finish adds a substantial shine to your worktops and helps enhance an already impressive material. Its reflective properties can make small areas feel more open and inviting.
  2. Matt finish is entirely sheen-free, softening dark tones while making marks less noticeable for easier maintenance.
  3. If you choose laminate worktops, a textured finish is an option. Wood and stone work well for natural texture replication, providing a premium look for less while being smooth, organic-looking, and easy to clean.

Where to Buy Kitchen Worktops

Reputable kitchen retailers like Excel Marble and Granite are ideal places to buy kitchen worktops in United kingdom, typically offering a wide range of material and edge options to choose from. Many kitchen retailers can provide all the material options mentioned in this guide and help you install them, meaning you’ll have no trouble designing your perfect kitchen. It’s also worth noting that many kitchen retailers offer free, no-obligation home measurements and professional advice on choosing the right worktop.

In conclusion, choosing the right worktop for your kitchen involves a comprehensive understanding of different materials, their pros and cons, and the design aesthetic you want to achieve. With careful planning, accurate measurements, and a well-thought-out budget, you can find a worktop that not only enhances the beauty of your kitchen but also serves its functional needs.


How often should I seal my wood countertops?

Wood countertops should be sealed at least twice a year to maintain their integrity. If the surface is exposed to water, make sure to wipe it clean immediately.

What is the most durable worktop material?

Quartz is one of the hardest-wearing types of worktops. It’s fortified with a resin for maximum durability and is naturally resistant to nearly all scratches and stains.

Is it necessary to hire a professional for measuring the kitchen space?

While it’s not a necessity, hiring a professional can ensure that the measurements are as accurate as possible. They can also advise you on how many separate worktop pieces you might need.

Can I add my personal touch to the finish and colour of the worktop?

Yes, many worktops come with their standard finish, but you can add a personal finish or colour to your chosen material. Choices often include white, black, and grey for colours, and gloss, matt, and textured for finishes.

What type of countertop edge is best for families with young children?

Bullnose edges are a good option if you have young children. These edges take the safety properties of eased edges and smooth off the edged angles for a rounded finish.

Are there any budget-friendly worktop materials?

Laminate worktops are cost-effective and versatile. They are capable of imitating a variety of other worktop materials but at a significantly reduced cost.


Investing in a kitchen worktop is a significant decision that requires careful thought and consideration. With this guide, you are well-equipped to make an informed choice that complements your kitchen style, fits your budget, and serves your functional needs.