What is the best material for kitchen and bathroom worktops?

Worktops make all the difference to a kitchen or bathroom and because they dominate the aesthetic appearance, they are probably the first thing you notice when walking into the room. With the right type and style of worktops, you can create anything from a traditional to modern, or contemporary atmosphere.

Top class worktops will either add to the value of your property, while cheaper or neglected worktops may completely put off any potential buyer. Whether you want to live in your home for many more years, or whether you are contemplating selling, the right choice of worktops will make all the difference.
That begs the question, what is the best material for kitchen or bathroom worktops? Of course, there is no easy answer that will cover every taste and budget. This comparison gives you some guidance of what is considered stylish and some of the benefits of each.

Quartz Solid surface Solid wood Natural Stone
Appearance Sophisticated and luxurious. Premier quality. Radiant crystal-like 3-dimensional sparkle.
Fits any design or style.
Luxurious. Premier quality.
Emulates, and even improves, the natural beauty, quality and chic atmosphere of marble, granite or other polished stone.
Always in fashion. Fits any design and style.
Appearance improves with age, gaining character.
Timeless style. From traditional to modern and contemporary.
Each slab unique.
Timeless beauty and luxurious quality.
Always in fashion. Fits any design and style.
What is it made of? 94% top quality natural quartz crystals, silica and other natural stone, blended with resins. 66% natural minerals (Bauxite) and 34% acrylic polymer resin Solid timber, cut into staves and finger-jointed and butt-jointed. Solid granite, marble, limestone, etc. Quarried, cut and polished to desired finish.
Joints Virtually seamless Virtually seamless Near invisible Joints visible
Durability Hardest of all worktop materials. Stronger, more resilient and more durable than natural stone. 10 yr warranty Superior. Stronger, more resilient and more durable than natural stone. 10 yr warranty. Highly durable. Can withstand heavy knocks and will last for generations. Highly durable. If treated properly will last for generations.
Resistant to damage (Scratches, chemicals, heat) Most resistant of all worktop materials. Sudden, extreme temperature changes can cause damage. Non-porous. Does not absorb liquid or stains. Prolonged exposure to sun can fade colours. Highly resistant to damage. Non-porous. Does not absorb liquid or stains. Sudden, extreme temperature changes can cause damage. Highly resistant to damage. Can absorb stains, if not sealed properly. Can be damaged by high heat. Granite more scratch resistant than marble, which in turn is more scratch resistant than limestone (the softest). Micro-pores. Can absorb liquids and stains. All highly resistant to heat. Sudden, extreme temperature changes can cause damage.
Repairable Yes, professionally. Yes. DIY and professionally. Scratches can be sanded, cavities filled Yes, DIY and professionally. Can be sanded, filled, damaged sections replaced. Yes, professionally.
Versatility Can be thermoformed, moulded and shaped. Eminently suitable for flooring, wall cladding, stairs, etc. Can be used in any area or room. Can be thermoformed, moulded, shaped and engraved. Suitable for bar area, lounge, dining room, office, boardroom, bathroom, change room, reception room. Can be cut to any shape. Can be matched to almost any other material. Can be used anywhere. Can be prefabricated to any shape. Can be matched to almost any other material.
Variety of colours Range of 60 vibrant colours, from light grey to white, cream to beige, dark grey and black, yellow and orange, pink and red, green, blue, and brown. More consistent than natural stone. Colour pigments throughout thickness of material. Range of 80 colours, from natural and extra lights and neutral colours to vibrant, bright colours. More consistent than natural stone. Colour pigments throughout thickness of material. Large variety of timber from very light to very dark. (For instance Beech, Oak, Iroko, Walnut, Black Oak, etc) Each slab is unique. Variety of natural colours from very light to very dark.
Variety of style, texture, etc Can be plain, grained or veined. Polished, suede or “volcano” finishes Variety of textures, patterns and sensorial styles from highly polished to matt. Different grain patterns, textures and finishes. From high gloss, honed, satiny, to flamed undulating feel and appearance. Veined to granular. Different textures and finishes. From highly polished to textured.
Hygiene/ Easy to clean Ultra-hygienic. Silestone actively kills bacteria. Non-porous and seamless joints. Very easy to clean. Ultra-hygienic. Non-porous and seamless joints. Very easy to clean. Wood is naturally antibacterial. Is porous and needs to be sealed regularly. Easy to clean, but needs regular cleaning. Hygienic and easy to clean. Is porous and needs to be sealed regularly. Easy to clean.
Maintenance required No special maintenance. Basic cleaning and care. No special maintenance. Basic cleaning and care. Needs to be sealed regularly. Avoid cleaners that can remove/ damage sealer. Needs to be sealed regularly. Avoid cleaners that can remove/ damage sealer.
Thickness 12mm, 20mm, 30mm 6mm, 12.3mm, 19mm 27mm, 40mm 20mm 30mm, 40mm
Size Widths of 132 Cm, 140 cm and 305 cm Lengths up to 3m. Can be joined seamlessly. Widths up to 930 mm Lengths up to 3m. Can be joined seamlessly. Usually ranging from 2m to 4m long by 620mm to 720mm wide Usually ranging from 1.8m to 3m in length and up to 1m wide.
Upstands, splashbacks, downturns, overhangs, edgings, return ends, integrated sinks, bowls, accessories. Large range of integrated and colour coordinated sinks, basins, shower trays, splashbacks, etc for an exclusive appearance. Full range of accessories Countless combinations of upstands, splashbacks, downturns, wall cladding, overhangs, edgings, return ends, colour-coordinated integrated sinks, bowls and cooking tops for a one-of-a-kind design. Harmonized appearance, creating the impression of design manufactured from one block of stone. Can be matched with a large variety of accessories. Can be matched with a large variety of accessories.
Cost Very Expensive Expensive Mid-range to expensive. Expensive
Eco friendly Highly sustainable. Manufacturing and fabrication processes comply with highest standards. Very low volatile organic compounds. Highly sustainable. Manufacturing and fabrication processes comply with highest standards. Highly sustainable and renewable. Top fabricators source only from reputable forests, guaranteeing replanting of trees. Recyclable. Sustainable. Stone is the “original green material.”
Repairable

Repairable

Heavy stains and scratches can be erased without a trace simply by rubbing with household cleaner

Durable

Proven to be remarkably durable, a versatile material that is easy to live with in both domestic and commercial environments

Nonporous

Bacteria and mould have nowhere to take root. When it looks clean, it really is clean