The major design decision for any new or revamped kitchen still remains to be around the units. Of course, cabinetry is a crucial style element, but the impact made by a suitable worktop choice should not be underestimated in the overall scheme.

And, with worktop materials changing so radically in recent years, the choices can be a little overwhelming. Here at Stone and Earth we’re keen to demystify the choices and provide some practical guidance to help you choose the most suitable surface.

So, here’s our low down of what you should consider before you invest in a counter top for your kitchen:

Your budget

Kitchen worktops are available in a huge variety of price points from cheaper laminates to more high cost granites. Your choices can seem to be quickly narrowed by what you can afford but, with developments in man-made materials bringing costs down this is not as much the case as you might expect. And, whilst cheaper options can be good idea they may not last as long more durable stones or composites.

You could also consider the possibility of mixing and matching your worktops. Mixed worktops are on trend, so you can go with the flow and save on the pennies.

The layout of your kitchen

If you’re already fixed on this, it may well help to push you in a certain direction. Longer, straight sections are often cheaper and easier to fit, while seamless materials such as composites make sense if you have lots of corners and shapes to navigate.

The best material for your kitchen use

The most popular surface on the market has remained laminate. Being such a versatile and cost-effective surface, as well as hard wearing and easy to clean make laminates an obvious ‘go to’ for many worktop shoppers.

Be warned about the cheaper end of the market where damage can occur more easily. Burns or scratches can lead to unhygienic surfaces. Shop carefully to avoid falling foul of the huge variations in quality.

Whether you are after a traditional or modern finish hardwood can be a great solution provided you’re willing to put the work into its maintenance. One of the attractive features of a wooden surface can look even better as the years pass. Watch out for stains though – maybe not best suited to busy household with young children or clumsy red wine drinkers!

Solid surfaceworktops are made by applying an acrylic resin to the top of a substrate material like wood. They provide one of the best solutions to those seeking a seamless, glossy worksurface. Again, caution needs to be exercised. Whilst the resin exterior is waterproof, if any water gets within the substrate material it can cause irreparable damage.

A relatively new entry in to the worktop market is that of ceramic, an extremely hard-wearing and durable surface which is resistant to mildew, mould and bacteria. Water won’t cause any damage to the material and can be easily wiped clean away.

Ceramic won’t need to be resealed either, making it cost-effective in the longer term.

Granite, the product of many millions of years of cooling magma remains the hallmark of truly top spec kitchen. It continues to be associated with the most luxurious of kitchen designs. Its hard-wearing, heat resistant qualities make it practical too. This is one for the experts though – super heavy and in need of skill fit.

For those seeking the luxurious finish of a stone surface like granite but also wanting to achieve a more uniform and consistent surface should look to quartz, a man-made alternative.

Being man made means quartz is available in any colour or design of your choosing and boosts many the same properties as granite such as ease of cleaning and low maintenance.

For a comparison of all surface options, please visit our Choosing your worktop page.

Whatever your price point, design ideas or layout restrictions there is a surface that is fit for your home and our experts at Stone & Earth would be delighted to discuss the choices with you by phone or in our Worcestershire showroom. To find out more, please visit our showroom or call 01527 833300