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

Seamless

Inconspicuous seams result in a smooth surface that enables you to create large designs fashioned from a single element

Easy to Clean

With a non-porous surface that prevents dirt and stains from penetrating the material.

Specially treated, toughened Glass Stainless Steel Laminate
Appearance Modern/ Contemporary. Reflect light for greater brightness and sparkle. Workhorse kitchen. Will age over time. Imitates other materials. Can be made to look like granite, marble, etc. Not considered luxurious.
What is it made of? Glass countertops can be made using all glass or a mixed material, which is made of glass chips embedded in a resin or bonding material. Metal alloy, made up of steel, chromium, nickel, molybdenum, silicon, aluminium, and carbon. Sheets of kraft paper impregnated with resin. This sheet is then bonded to a MDF or timber substrate
Joints Joints visible. Joints visible Joints visible
Durability Durable if treated carefully. Highly durable. Not as durable as others.
Resistant to damage (scratches, chemicals, heat) Toughened glass is resistant to scratches and can moderate impact. High heat can damage and sudden, extreme temperature changes can cause damage. Highly resistant to damage and heat, depending on gauge of steel. Does not rust or burn. Can dent or scratch. Easily scratched and damaged by heat. Fairly resistant to chemicals, but not stain proof. Can delaminate if exposed to liquids.
Repairable Limited professional repairs. Usually has to be replaced Most damage can be repaired. Scratches polished, dents removed, tears welded. but “ageing” and wear will show. Small chips and delamination can be repaired. Usually has to be replaced.
Versatility Can be cut to any shape. Mostly standard lengths or prefabricated to order, but sheets can be cut. Can be cut to any shape or size.
Variety of colours Wide range of finishes applied to rear of glass. Mirrored No Very large range of colours, natural colours below par.
Variety of style, texture, etc Satin, matt, printed Polished, textured, brushed Texture or gloss. Colours mimic granite, slate and wood and available I wide range of colours.
Hygiene/ Easy to clean Non-porous and easy to clean. Fingerprints need to be polished. Easy to clean. Fingerprints need to be polished. Easily cleaned.
Maintenance required No special maintenance No special maintenance No special maintenance
Thickness 10, 12, 15, 19mm 0.7mm, 1mm, 1.25mm, 1.5mm, 2mm Folded on its own or bonded onto substrate of 12mm up to 60 mm 18mm, 32mm (Different grades, Typically 1.1 mm layer on wood)
Size Up to 4.5m Custom made or usually 600mm wide and up to 3m long 620mm, 720mm 900mm wide and 2000mm to 4100 mm long.
Splashbacks and accessories Wide range Splashbacks available. Can be matched to other materials. Bonded, drop-in and surface mounted sinks and basins. Can be matched to other materials.
Cost Mid price range, depending on type and thickness Cheaper than most Cheapest of options. Top end not cheap.
Eco friendly Recyclable Recyclable Contains lots of adhesives and VOC. Manufacturing of top-end laminates according to high standards.

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