Worktops that Won’t Wear Out.
Last week I talked about the advantages of wetrooms for minimising maintenance costs in rented properties. This week I’m moving onto kitchens.
One of the most troublesome items in any kitchen is the worktop. Formica/ chipboard worktops are temporary at best, and not always cheap either. Water will inevitably penetrate around the sink, and nothing swells like chipboard when it gets wet. Soon it becomes a soggy mess with costly replacement inevitable a few short years down the line. Yet most people fit Formica/chipboard as a matter of course, without considering the many alternatives. These include resin composite materials which look similar to Formica but are far superior. Other options are slate, stainless steel, wood, glass, and lino or tiles on boilproof plywood. Large 60 cm square tiles on plywood with a hardwood edging offer a highly durable and inexpensive alternative worktop which looks classy. Worktop tiles need grouting with epoxy resin grout – never cement based grouts which crack and stain. Wooden worktops scratch easily, and may become mildewed behind the sink, unless teak, which is all but unobtainable unless reclaimed. I have also heard of worktops manufactured from recycled plastic and glass. The glass is a really striking turquoise.
Personally I prefer to fit neutral-coloured granite in my own properties, which is not necessarily as expensive as people assume. The worktop pictured and another almost the same size across the room came to £240 in total, new from a reclamation yard in Devon. Not bad for a permanent job which positively exudes quality and class, and can be re-fitted even if the cabinets beneath need replacement. The supplier offers a strictly no-frills service with a choice of just three colours, has a muddy dog in a muddy yard, and I had to collect and fit it myself.
On the other hand, for higher-end properties, you can have the full service from many internet-based suppliers, with drainer grooves, polished cutouts for undermounted sinks, and upstands at the back so no need to tile behind. I did that in the flat upstairs from the one shown, when I thought I was going to sell. This was a much more costly purchase, but it looks great.
It’s important to remember that lighter-coloured granite needs sealing against stains with a silicone based sealer.
That about raps it up for worktops. Next week I’ll consider sinks. The choice of sink can have major implications for the longevity of your worktops, particularly if you still insist upon using Formica/chipboard!