No longer do you have to put up with boring, conventional kitchen worktops. With advances in technology and different treatments and finishes for natural materials, there is a huge variety of new and attractive kitchen surfaces and colours available to suit any kitchen size and budget. From exciting quartz, resin blends and glass, through to stainless steel and sustainable, alternative timbers for the eco-conscious, the sky's the limit when it comes to transforming the look of a jaded kitchen – and with improvement and value-adding very much on the mind of today's homeowner, the addition of a new work surface could well prove to be a sound investment as well as a thing of beauty.
If you thought that bamboo's rightful place was centre-stage in a Zen garden or used solely in the manufacture of conservatory furniture, you'd be quite wrong. Perhaps the most eco-friendly work surface available, bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world and is therefore highly sustainable. Providing a warm-to-the-touch surface, bamboo is ideally suited to most neutral colour schemes and lends itself perfectly to almost every kitchen situation; each worktop bearing its own unique grain pattern.
From £265 per 3 metre length 40mm thickness
Kitchen Finesse 01349 885940.
CaesarStone is comprised of 93% crushed quartz combined with a high-quality polymer resin. When combined with a pigment, the product is compacted into dense, non-porous slabs which can be hewn to suit any kitchen design brief. CaesarStone has numerous advantages over natural stone in that it is more durable, stronger and cleaner and has an enduring shine that exudes quality.
From £210 per linear metre (depending on finish) 300mm thickness
Kitchen Finesse 01349 885940.
Composite stone is a man-made, refined material produced from a 2:1 ratio mixture of crushed quartz and resin to create a work surface with all the charm and practicality of natural stone. Elegant but tough, its highly polished finish is ideal for use as a heavy use counter top and boasts many practical properties such as being heat resistant up to 146°C, stain, scratch and water-resistant – as well as being available in a wide range of colourways.
From £350 per linear metre based on 30mm thickness
Second Nature 01325 50539.
Corian®, invented and made only by DuPont, is a non-porous solid surface material that is stain-resistant. Available in a broad palette of over 100 colours, DuPont™ Corian® is a high-quality product perfect for contemporary kitchen settings where sleek, functionally seamless surface joins are required to maintain continuity of work surface form.
DuPont™ Corian® costs from £310 per linear metre and comes with a 10 year warranty. For stockists and further information call 0800 962 116 or visit www.corian.co.uk.
Caveat: Corian® and DuPont™ are registered trademarks or trademarks of DuPont™ or its affiliated companies. Only DuPont™ produces Corian®.
Taking the conventional laminate into the 21st century, this crackle glass effect finish offers a smooth and hard-wearing work surface ideal for high frequency use utility counter tops, breakfast bars and upstands – giving an expensive look for a budget price.
£105 for a 3m x 600mm length
Wickes 0800 106 068.
A relatively new innovation, Getacore® is a highly functional product made from an acrylic-bound solid surface material which provides a seamless and joint-less worktop which is pleasantly warm to the touch. Getacore® is also completely pore-less and therefore extremely hygienic, making it ideal for food preparation areas. One key advantage of Getacore® is that can be processed like solid wood, the surface able to be very finely sanded in a similar manner to wood parquet. Because of this, any minor traces of use or damage can be simply removed, leaving the worktop as good as new.
From £173 per metre 40mm thickness.
For details about Getacore® contact Kitchencraft sales department on 01246 200517.
Glass work surfaces are very much at the higher spectrum of the market and quite rightly so. Perfect for those seeking a sleek, contemporary feel in a modern kitchen, glass offers limitless design possibilities and can be formed to suit any configuration for counter tops, splashbacks and breakfast bars up to 25mm thick. As hard-wearing as it is stylish, glass is easy to keep clean as well as being acid, oil and water resistant.
Glass work surfaces start from £520 per 19mm thick metre at John Lewis 08456 049 049.
The most popular choice in kitchens today, natural granite gives any kitchen a wow factor that never fails to impress. Hard wearing, classic and virtually maintenance-free, each piece of honed stone uniquely lends itself to the kitchen environment and can be formed to precise and complex designs as well as straight, angular lengths. With its natural tendency to produce a highly-polished sheen finish, granite is waterproof, relatively heat-proof and stain resistant – the perfect partner for any kitchen.
From £250 per square metre
Bellagio Stone Ltd 01926 430626
Discovered in Greece as early as 340BC and in ancient Rome over a Millennia ago, Mosaic tiling or Tesserae was used by local craftsmen to adorn the villas and palaces of both great ages. In the past decade, mosaics have enjoyed a consumer renaissance and are the preferred method of tiling cover for a number of wall and work surface applications including splashbacks and walls. From metal finish, iridescent, tumbled marble, pearlised, granite or plain ceramic, the use of mosaic tiling in any kitchen makes a real style statement.
Basic mosaic tiles range from £30 per square metre to pure opulence such as the luxury Trend G range by Granite Transformations at £295 per square metre.
Granite Transformations 01892 509680
Luxore® worktops are made by engineering quartz into polymer resin to produce a sealed, virtually maintenance-free surface which is highly heat-resistant. Luxore® worktops keep their lustrous gloss and ultra smooth surface for many years, making it a timeless as well as beautiful feature in any kitchen. Stain and scratch resistant as well as non-porous, Luxore® comes in a wide variety of colours, offering a multiplicity of design options.
Luxore® work surfaces startfrom £203 per metre 30mm thickness.
John Lewis 08456 049 049.
If, like an increasing number of people, you are looking for eco-conscious products for the home, then you couldn't do much better than consider a Rubberwood counter top. A product of the Hevea tree better known for producing natural latex for the rubber industry, the spent timber is usually used for firewood after its latex elixir is extracted. Creating a sustainable kitchen work surface from this by-product is a much more sensible use of this beautiful timber. Recycling with a purpose.
From £80 per linear metre 40mm thickness
Second Nature 01325 505539.
Speedstone quartz has the look and feel of granite with highly resistant properties which guarantee a high-gloss shine throughout time, even after extended use. A 15mm thick quartz engineered stone overlay on top of a base board gives the appearance of a solid worktop. Under normal household use, knives and other cooking tools have no effect on Speedstone quartz and whilst direct application of hot pans is not recommended, it is non-porous and virtually stain resistant, making it ideal for heavy domestic use.
From £250 per 3 metre length
Silestone represents the perfect synergy of natural materials and technological advancement. Made by combining 94% natural quartz with resin pigments which are compressed under pressure, the end product results in a lasting, quality work surface. Silestone's lustrous finish is stylish as well as hygienic, ideal for the multifunctional modern kitchen.
From around £400 per square metre
The Worktop Centre 01562 750000.
Stainless steel combines a hard-wearing surface with stunning visual appeal. Whether used alone or combined with other materials such as timber or composite stone, it is an increasingly popular choice for striking kitchen designs in highly contemporary settings.
From £525 per linear metre for 40mm thickness
Second Nature 01325 505539.
Crafted from solid hardwood and pre-treated with specially formulated wax oil to provide a water resistant, natural finish, Tiger Walnut has a unique grain which develops a rich, lustrous patina with age.
From £500 for a 3 metre length
DuPont™ Zodiaq® is a premium decorative surfacing material that combines the strength and beauty of natural quartz with a palette of 30 attractive colours, including glossy fresh whites, dramatic darks, classic neutrals and vibrant bolds, plus an award-winning collection of ‘urban' matte colours called ‘Concrete Block.' Zodiaq® offers exceptional strength and has a lasting finish that needs no sealants or treatments so can be used to create worktops, splashbacks, wall-cladding, and even flooring.
Zodiaq® costs from £300 per linear metre and comes with a ten-year warranty. For stockists and further information call 0800 962 116 or visit www.zodiaq.co.uk
Caveat: Zodiaq® and DuPont™ are registered trademarks or trademarks of DuPont or its affiliated companies. Only DuPont produces Zodiaq®.