If you’re looking to replace a kitchen worktop, it can be a daunting and expensive task. There’s a lot of preparation and research that needs to go into the process, and it can be difficult to know where to start.
For more than a decade, Worktops.net have been providing exceptional products and services to the kitchen and bathroom sectors in the UK. We supply the top brands like Corian, Silestone, Caesarstone and Dekton to name a few. Along with these products, we have a wide selection of other options available for you to choose from.
Contact us to discuss your requirements today or to request an online quote in minutes. You can also call us on 0208 935 5337 for more information.
Kitchen remodelling starts with replacing worktops with a new design and colour scheme
In all but perhaps a few homes, the kitchen is much more than a place for cooking food. It is the communal hub of the home where family and friends gather in sociable intimacy and as opposed to the formal atmosphere of the lounge, the kitchen lends itself to comfortable socialising.
It is a small wonder then that people would spend considerable sums of money on a well-designed, functional, and aesthetically beautiful kitchen which is at once the engine room and showcase of the house.
Worktops arguably play the biggest part to set the tone in the kitchen, perhaps because they are the most evident and certainly the most functional part.
If you have any plans to upgrade your kitchen, replacing the worktop is the most obvious and smartest place to start, because with even a moderate budget you will achieve the greatest impact. If your budget allows a complete makeover with new kitchen units, floor and wall cladding or tiles, lighting, and perhaps even a set of new appliances, you can create your dream kitchen, but none will make the singular impression of stylish new worktops.
When you decide to replace your kitchen worktops, your first decision will be which kitchen worktop to choose and to budget for what you can afford.
What options are there to replace kitchen worktops?
Replace the worktop
Unless a new design and layout are absolutely necessary, your existing cabinets can undergo a complete metamorphosis either with new kitchen countertops and perhaps new facings on the door and drawers, or even just a lick of paint to brighten up the room and create a new atmosphere.
Your choices of premium quality kitchen worktop materials for a complete upgrade include:
If there are budget constraints, you can still replace old kitchen worktops with:
- Stainless steel
- Laminate worktops
Other options include:
- Install overlays on laminate kitchen worktops
- Refurbish the solid wood worktops
When should you replace your kitchen worktops?
When your kitchen worktop surfaces are damaged or begin to look worn out, it is clearly the time to replace them but there are several other reasons why people decide to replace their kitchen worktops.
- Any unstable work surfaces·
- When they are difficult to keep clean and hygienic.
- When they require a lot of maintenance.
- When they no longer match the kitchen décor or style.
- When you need to upgrade your working space in the kitchen.
What are the benefits of replacing your existing kitchen worktops?
Provided you carefully plan and design the new worktops and choose wisely, you can expect to recoup all the expenses of renovating your kitchen when you want to sell your house, making it a more attractive proposition to buyers.
Of course we don’t make our homes more comfortable and attractive for the next owner, we do it to improve the quality and enjoyment of living in the house ourselves. Replacing the kitchen worktops and renovating the kitchen makes it a more pleasant space in which to gather and entertain, makes it easier to clean and maintain, and makes it easy to sustain the highest levels of hygiene.
If you never want to sell, you reap these benefits for even longer when you retire in your home with a lovely kitchen and ultimately leave a memorable home to your heirs.
Can you simply put a new worktop length over the old laminate worktops?
As long as the supporting structure (such as the cabinets or kitchen worktop frames) is strong enough to support the weight of the new material without sagging or collapsing, you can overlay the existing tops with just about any material of your choice, instead of replacing kitchen worktops. This would be the most budget-friendly option to get whichever kitchen worktop surface you require.
All is not lost if your existing supports are somewhat worse for wear, as you can reinforce them if they are salvageable, clad them, and add new doors.
One factor to bear in mind when you overlay the existing worktops with a new one of your choice is the extra height of the new worktop’s thickness. In most cases, this will not be a problem but will take getting used to.
What kind of modern kitchen worktop overlays can you use?
Instead of replacing the existing worktop, a budget-friendly option is to add spice and create an entirely new look by overlaying the existing top with one of the following materials:
- A fresh coat of paint is a cheap option, but not very long-lasting.
- A fabric overlay glued on top of the old worktop can create a unique appearance at a very low cost but is not very durable either.
- Tiling the surface will create a more durable surface, with endless creative options.
- Overlaying the existing worktop with thin slabs of materials up to premium products such as quartz, sintered stone, granite, marble, or solid wood.
Is it better to replace or repair kitchen worktops?
If you have expensive countertops with minor damage that still meet all your requirements, it will be wise to have them repaired, or if you have the skill and correct tools, to repair them yourself. This category would include scratches, stains, minor cracks, and chips.
The easiest to repair would be solid surfaces and solid wooden worktops. They can be sanded and cracks and chips could easily be repaired and stains are easily removed. Physical damage to granite and marble can usually only be repaired by specialists. Quartz, ultra-compact, stainless steel and glass do not stain, but physical damage is the most difficult to repair and can usually only be done by specialists. Cheaper materials such as laminates are difficult to repair and unless the damage is small, it would usually hardly be worth the effort and expense.
Is it easy to replace kitchen countertops?
The ease or complexity of replacing your kitchen worktops depends on a lot of factors.
- The scope of the project. Obviously, a completely new design will be the most complex, while putting a new worktop on your existing cabinets will be the least complex.
- Are there cutouts, appliances, corners, taps, electrical outlets, or obstacles in the way?
- Are there long spans or large overhangs that will require additional support?
- The weight of the material you choose will affect the ease of handling the material during installation.
- Are the walls straight?
- Are the support structures level?
- Is there a risk of damaging wall tiles or cladding while installing the new worktop?
- Access to the kitchen. Is it on the ground floor, are the doors and passages wide enough to carry the fabricated worktops into the kitchen, and are there any obstacles along the way from the street to the kitchen?
- Your skill level in planning and executing the installation.
If you are doing it yourself, do you have all the specialised tools and equipment to work with the different materials?
- Are you using professional installers who are experienced in dealing with unexpected challenges and who might have to make adjustments or alterations on-site?
Tips when replacing your kitchen worktops
- Sketch the kitchen design and worktop
- Measure the length and depth accurately, indicating joints, seams and overhang
- Mark the exact positions and dimensions of the kitchen sink, basins, stove tops, etc.
- Accurately measure island countertops, breakfast tops, etc, and indicate overhangs, especially without supports.
- Consider all the functional and aesthetic features of the different types of new worktop material.
- Decide whether you are going to replace the cabinets, refurbish them, put on new cupboard doors, or keep them as they are. If you decide to keep them, ensure they are strong enough to bear the weight of the new kitchen worktops you decide on.
- Decide on factors such as integrated basins, sinks, and accessories such as splashbacks, upstands, edging, etc.
- Decide whether you are going to place the new tops on top of the old ones, or remove them and professionally install the new worktop.
- Calculate your budget to install the best quality worktop you can afford to transform your kitchen, bearing in mind durability, hygiene, maintenance, ease of cleaning, stylishness, and the resale value they add to your house.
- Find a reputable fabricator such as Worktops.net to do a survey and professionally advise you on the best material and design options. Unless you buy the material in slabs and do all the work yourself, Worktops.net will use sophisticated digital laser equipment to automate the design, complete with wall imperfections, and send it directly to computer-controlled cutting equipment for precision fabrication.
- Worktops.net also has accredited installers to expertly install your new countertops.
How to install a kitchen worktop yourself
Depending on the type of worktop material, the steps will vary in places, but we will attempt to give you sufficient guidance to install most types of worktops.
Different types of worktop material
- Quartz and ultra-compact worktops are incredibly hard and can only be cut with highly specialised tools. They must be professionally fabricated and installed by expert installers.
- Granite and marble need to be fabricated professionally and you can install them if you have the specialised skill and equipment.Solid surface and solid wood can be fabricated and installed as a DIY project if you have the necessary skill and equipment.
- Some materials (solid surface, granite, marble, etc) are very heavy. Make sure you have sufficient help to carry and lift the correct length worktops in place.
- Also ensure the support structure (cabinets, frames, etc) have a sufficient load-bearing capacity for the material and whatever you are going to place and process on the replacement worktop area (appliances, food, cookware, ornamentation, etc.)
- Install additional supports for long spans, large overhangs, etc.
- Find out which is the best way to affix your specific worktop material to the support structure.
- Draw detailed plans and designs and check and recheck all measurements, with cutouts, joints, seams, overhangs, etc clearly marked. A digital laser measure will be handy, but check measurements in more than one direction to allow for walls that are not straight, floors or cabinets that are not level, etc.
- Plan exactly where the joints and seams will be, how they will be supported and how they will be sealed. The type of material will determine the length of unsupported spans and overhangs and each has a different optimal sealing method. Find out what is best for the material you have decided on.
- Make sure that cutouts for sinks, basins, etc have an edge of at least 100mm from the wall, the front, and between cutouts. For stovetops and hobs, leave at least 50mm from the front edge and 60mm at the back.
- Cut away parts to allow for wall imperfections, obstacles and obstructions.
- Depending on the type of material, leave a gap of at least 1mm between the worktop and the wall or other abutment to allow for thermal expansion. Check with a straight edge and seal this gap with silicon sealant, or other suitable caulking or sealant. Check the exact clearances and exposed edges for each type of material before you start.
- Check your measurements again before you start cutting. Practice on a small piece of material to get a feel for the material and check for chipping along the edge of the cut. It may be necessary to tape along the cuts, change blades, or take other measures to ensure smooth, straight cuts. Jigs are indispensable for round, or profiled-edge materials.
- Make precision profiling and cutting jigs and use a straight edge with secure clamps to guide the saw, router, or CNC cutter.
- Protect the material from marks left by jigs or clamps.
- Apply heat insulation tape around the cutout before fitting the stovetop or hob.
- Accurately fit the worktops, drill holes if necessary, and fix them in the way best for your worktop materials.
Can I keep my old kitchen cabinets when replacing the kitchen worktops?
Unless you also need to redesign the kitchen layout, refacing your existing cabinets and cupboard doors, is a sensible and cost-saving option when remodelling your kitchen. Provided the cabinets are still in good shape and can bear the load, you could spend that money on better quality countertops like quartz, ultra-compact, solid surface, granite, marble, or solid timber.
Even cabinets made from particle board or other cheap-quality materials can be refaced and new kitchen doors added to look super luxurious.
What are the options when refacing existing kitchen cabinets?
- Keep the existing doors and drawers, refinish them with new trim and handles and repaint them and all exposed sides of the cabinets in the colour and style of your choice.
- Replace the existing doors, drawer fronts, and handles, and repaint the sides and frame of the cabinets in any choice of colour and style.
- Replace existing doors and drawer fronts in any material, colour and style of your choice, and clad overlay, or laminate the sides and frame of the cabinets with the same quartz, granite, marble, or solid surface cladding as your replacement worktops, plywood, veneer, or laminate.
How can I make my cabinets look more classy or expensive?
- Reface the cabinets in one of the three options mentioned above.
- Use elegant lighter colours in a small kitchen and lavish darker, crystalline, or metallic colours in a large kitchen.
- Facing the doors, drawer fronts, and exposed sides and frame of the cabinets in exotic textures and colours in top-quality materials, such as quartz, granite, marble, solid surface, ultra-compact, and solid timber will create the impression of very expensive cabinets.
- The right choice of trim handles, and hinges will reinforce the elegant appearance of any kitchen.
- The right kind of warm white ambient lighting, with wavelengths between yellow and white light, including some of the following:
– chandeliers, ceiling or wall-mounted fixtures, track lighting, recessed fixtures, LED downlights, under-cabinet lights, and pendant lights.
For professional advice on the best worktop materials to replace your kitchen worktops, the different brand names, fabrication or advice on DIY installation, please get in touch. You can also call us on 0208 935 5337 for more information.