Kitchen worktops: pros and cons rundown

Kitchen worktops come in a wide range of materials, colours, finishes and thicknesses – but which worktop is right for you and your home? Here’s a quick rundown of the most common kitchen worktops and their properties.


Laminate is seen as the budget alternative to luxury surfaces such as granite and wood, but this doesn’t mean it has to be poor quality. Just make sure you invest in high-pressure laminate. We recommend using the “coin test”: rub the edge of a two-pence piece vigorously on the surface of the worktop. If the laminate is of a high quality, the surface won’t mark.


  • Very affordable: prices start from just £30 a metre
  • Hygienic and easy to clean
  • Easy to fit: laminate is one of the few worktop surfaces which lends itself to DIY fitting
  • Comes in a wide range of finishes


  • Beware the false economy of ultra-cheap laminate worktops. These will wear quickly, and may be prone to chipping and scorching.
Laminate worksurfaces in small wood kitchen

Laminate comes in a range of patterns and textures


Wooden worktops, whether in a delicate ash grain or chunky walnut butcherblock, can really make a kitchen feel like that overused phrase, “the heart of the home”. They instantly add a warm, natural feel to any kitchen, and look fantastic with a wide range of complimentary colours. They are more high-maintenance than man-made worktop materials, however, so it is worth considering whether you will have the time to give them the care they need.


  • Each piece is unique, giving your kitchen its own particular character
  • Comes in a wide range of styles and grains
  • Cheaper than granite
  • Has natural anti-bacterial properties


  • Requires regular care, applying oil twice a year to reseal
  • Can stain, particularly if it comes into contact with rust
  • Can scratch so mustn’t be used for chopping (however, scratches can be removed by sanding with a fine wire brush)
Wooden worksurfaces

Wood adds a warm, natural feel


There’s nothing like the cool feel of a stylish granite worktop while preparing food. Unfortunately this luxury item doesn’t come cheap, but for those able and willing to invest here are some points to consider.


  • Now becoming more affordable
  • Each piece has its own unique pattern
  • Durable and heat-resistant
  • Easy to clean
  • Very hard-wearing (virtually indestructible!)
  • Low maintenance


  • Expensive
  • Can stain when exposed to acidic liquids like red wine
  • Needs specialist installation: definitely not a DIY option
  • Very heavy (cabinets may need to be reinforced to support it)
Granite worktops

Granite is hard-wearing and looks great, but it doesn’t come cheap

Composite stone

Composite stone is a good option for those who like the look and feel of natural stone worktops but want something a bit more flexible. Composite stone can be shaped using heat, without the need for joints, so it’s great for an integrated, seamless kitchen run.


  • Doesn’t need sealing as it’s non-porous
  • Comes in a range of different colours and finishes
  • Durable
  • Heat and stain resistant
  • Scratches can be sanded out


  • Very heavy
  • If not well installed, seams may be visible


Corian is the brand name of a man-made worktop material containing natural minerals and acrylic. The surface resembles stone and can be easily shaped to create a fully-integrated kitchen run with moulded sink.


  • Easy to remove stains
  • Very hard-wearing
  • Hygienic
  • Heat and stain resistant
  • Low maintenance
  • Scratches can be sanded out


  • Expensive


Glass can look very chic, especially in a contemporary-style kitchen, and as it is seamless it’s naturally hygienic. However, its tendency to smudge easily may make it too high-maintenance for a busy kitchen.


  • Reflective so can create the illusion of space in smaller kitchens
  • Toughened for extra durability
  • Long-lasting
  • Heat and water resistant


  • Needs frequent cleaning to remove smudges and prevent water marking
  • Expensive

Stainless steel

The material of choice for commercial kitchens, steel is often considered too harsh for the home. However, it has many natural advantages – hence its popularity with professionals – and the look can be softened by partnering with other materials such as wood.


  • Strong and durable
  • Very hygienic
  • Easy to clean
  • Waterproof
  • Heat and acid resistant


  • Industrial appearance
  • Scratches easily, although this doesn’t affect its anti-bacterial properties


Quartz, or engineered stone, worktops are made from 93% Quartz and 7% polymer resins. Quartz is a good alternative to granite for buyers who want something a little more low-maintenance.


  • Durable
  • Non-porous
  • Doesn’t require sealing
  • Hygienic
  • Low-maintenance
  • Stain-resistant and easy to clean
  • Uniformity of colour and pattern means that what you see in the showroom is what you get


  • Expensive
  • Very heavy (cabinets may need to be reinforced)
  • Needs professional installation
  • Seams may be visible
  • Exposure to sunlight over time can cause discolouration

More about kitchen worktops from one of our design experts

2 Responses to “Kitchen worktops: pros and cons rundown”

  1. steve

    Aug 20. 2015

    hi i have a corian worktop and think have put too much polish on it as soon as you touch it it smears and marks as if there is a layer of polish on can you recommend something that will remove the polish and take it back to when it was new hope you can help

    many thanks steve

    Reply to this comment
    • Barry Reed

      Aug 27. 2015

      Good Afternoon Steve,

      If you could contact the store on 0121 362 7300 then we can discuss your problem and hopefully assist you further

      Kind Regards


      Reply to this comment

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