Kitchen worktops of the stone kind can vary widely in the materials used, although their solidity and strength is beyond question. The costs of a completed work surface, however, may be dictated by the materials used. The durability of the material may not necessarily reflect its strength: Some more costly materials may simply look better or have a more stylish appeal. They may carry a greater cachet than engineered stone or manmade alternatives. But if you consider the trouble that a stone mason or a kitchen worktop manufacturer has to go to in order to hew an entire slab of granite – maintaining its quality in terms of colour and shape – into a kitchen worktop, then you can appreciate that the expense ought to be higher. You must note that you are paying for the material as well as the workmanship. A really eye catching piece of marble or granite will be more expensive than a poor quality piece of the same material.
Natural stone kitchen worktops can be found that are made from limestone, marble, granite and soapstone, as well as slate – which is the material common to many pool and snooker tables. Silicate materials include quartz. You will also find metal worktops (such as zinc and aluminium), wooden worktops (both soft and hardwood) and glass. Each of these surfaces needs to be maintained in different ways. For example, some experts recommend that you seal certain stone worktops on an annual basis. Wooden worktops, such as sandalwood, will obviously be far better maintained if any work that involves knives is carried out on a plate or a work board. And some surfaces will stand up to a good bleach cleaning, whereas others – including stone – do not appreciate the abrasive nature of bleach, and they have special cleansers of their own on the market.
Refurbishments and home improvement can often mean a simple paint job or new furniture. However, worktop changes in the kitchen are often more expensive, and they usually require more work – the choice of a worktop can impact on a home for decades. Given the expense of stone, what other stone options are available when it comes to your kitchen worktop?
Stone tiles are good for tighter budgets. They have a stone look at the fraction of the cost. Other kinds of tile include porcelain. It is heat resistant and stain resistant. You are unlikely to scratch porcelain, and it has been fired in an oven during its manufacture, so it is a durable material. A slightly less expensive option to porcelain tiles is ceramic tiles. These too are stain resistant. Grouting may require resealing in order for these tiles to be protected against staining.
Tiles are a good option for unusually shaped kitchens as the tiles themselves can be cut to fit into the areas in question. The work can easily be carried out if you’re good at DIY, but if the job is a difficult one in terms of occupying an unusual space, you may need professional assistance.