Don’t Get Worked Up Picking A Worktop!
Those lucky enough to get to pick their own kitchen worktop surface face a plethora of options. Wood, stone and man-made countertops all have a wealth of advantages and disadvantages. As an avid user of the kitchen you will also have a set of preferences that may give one surface a slight edge over the other.
Then, of course, there are the all-important aesthetics. You may well have a particular style in mind and be conscious of picking the right surface to match this. There are plenty of pros and cons for each type of material, so you might want to consider these factors.
While this won’t have a direct effect on your cooking, it will affect how you feel about your kitchen. Within the confines of your choice of surface, there is no right or wrong. Wood, marble, and stone are often associated with luxury kitchens while man-made surfaces like laminate often lack the wow factor of these other two surfaces.
Other man-made tops like Corian®, Silestone®, and Hi-Macs® can often look great and give off a premium feel. In the end it will come down to the look you want to create.
Be aware that wooden worktops offer different manufacturing techniques. Butchers block, narrow and full width full stave worktops will all have a very big impact on the visual look.
None of these surfaces are unhygienic per-se, but they do all require slightly different cleaning regimes.
- Wood will not take well to standing pools of water or harsh chemicals. A simple wipe down with a clean cloth will do the trick.
- Depending on whether your stone top is sealed or not, you can use either a light anti-bacterial spray or a specialised stone cleaning spray.
- Laminate is very tough and any household surface cleaner can be used.
Depending on your cooking style, you may get on better with one surface or another.
- If you cook with pastry often, then you might prefer the easier clean-up of stone. While you can roll pastry directly on wood, the post operation clean up can be more involved.
- Stone will deal better with high heat and is nearly impervious to damage (not so with marble, which can scar or burn), whereas wood can char if excessively hot pans are placed directly on it.
- You can cut directly on stone, but it will dull your knives. Obviously if using a wooden worktop, then a chopping board is a must.
A Word on Mixing Surfaces
Mixing surfaces can mean the best of all worlds. By using each surface where its strengths come to the fore, you can make cooking much easier. Consider dividing your kitchen into “Store”, “Prep”, “Cook” and “Serve” areas and then surfacing each as required. For example, having an end grain butchers block designed into the “prep” area can make workflow much easier.
It’s unlikely that any one particular surface would ruin the experience of cooking in your kitchen. Rather, picking the right surface for your needs will help ensure years of happy culinary gusto and satisfied tummies round the dinner table.
Still undecided about which worksurface to opt for? Take a look at our kitchen worktop pros and cons infographic below to get your head around things.
Caption: Copyright: Bodercraft
With thanks to the Author: Jon Buck is managing director at Bordercraft, a family owned business that has been producing fine hardwood furniture from their workshops in the Welsh borders since 1972. All of the timbers they use are sourced from sustainable managed forests and everything they sell is made by their experienced craftsmen in the UK. You can connect with Bordercraft on Facebook or visit their website.