Depending on the size and style of your kitchen, your kitchen worktop would be a big or small area that is either in the center or in a corner. Having a well-designed kitchen and worktop is essential to make the most of your time in the kitchen.
A small and cramped kitchen top, or one that is poor quality and flimsy, is as good as useless in the kitchen. Being one of the house’s most important and most frequently used rooms, the kitchen should be carefully designed to be efficient, user friendly and long-lasting.
What Is A Kitchen Worktop?
A kitchen countertop is where all the cooking magic happens. Without a proper kitchen worktop, it would be impossible to prepare, cook, assemble and present a meal. This is the surface which is used for chopping, grinding, marinating, mixing, beating and dressing all your meals. You also need a work surface to place your cookbook if you normally use recipes for cooking. When cooking for a large family, you are always preparing more than one meal and would need a lot of space to place everything in front of you to set up and begin cooking.
Sandwiches and sliders need to be assembly-lined, and kitchen countertops are ideal for that purpose as well as for preparing a salad. When building a kitchen, you must be sure to invest time, effort and money into getting a good quality kitchen top to make your meals easy, tasty and efficient.
What Are The Different Materials That Can Be Used For Kitchen Worktops?
Kitchen worktops should be chosen keeping in mind the following:
The frequency of use of your kitchen, as well as the size of your family, affects the functional use of your kitchen. The larger the family, the more frequently the kitchen is used. If you do not cook and use the kitchen only for the sink, the fridge and the microwave, then your kitchen use is not as frequent. Therefore you may not need a large countertop space.
The quality of the kitchen counter top is very important. It should not be flimsy or weak and should not get damaged by heat, minor spills or by placing heavy weights on them.
While aesthetics should not be of primary concern when choosing a kitchen countertop, it should not be ugly. It should be tasteful and elegant to add character to your kitchen and make it look clean and bright.
The following materials can be used for kitchen countertops:
Granite worktops have the following advantages that make a great kitchen worktop. They are:
- Heat resistant
- Scratch resistant
- Durable and strong
They last a long time and are usually a one-time investment. Granite countertops look great, are 100% natural, and are available in various colors. The only disadvantage of granite is that they tend to suck up liquid spills if not cleaned up properly and can retain the stain. This is only a problem if the granite is not sealed properly and not properly maintained and cared for. Otherwise, granite is the preferred choice for kitchens by many people worldwide.
This is the ideal heat-resistant countertop. They are ideal for use in professional kitchens such as those in hotels and restaurants. They are spill-resistant, easy to clean and do not harbor bacteria, so they are hygienic for use.
Marble countertops look great in the kitchen and have a natural cooling ability. They are heat resistant and scratch resistant but are a little costly. They are also porous and can retain intense stains if spilled on them. They are also not acid resistant; their polish can fade or erode from being exposed to a spilt acidic liquid such as vinegar or lime juice on it for a long time.
They have the quality of being extremely durable and hence make a good choice for kitchen countertops. While being scratch resistant, non-porous and extremely hard, they are not very heat resistant and can undergo changes when exposed to very hot temperatures. Therefore a mat should be placed over quartz counters before placing a hot pot off the stove.
Solid wood such as oak wood and cherry wood slabs can be used as kitchen countertops, and while they are heat resistant and hard and make our kitchen look elegant and tasteful, they are not ideal for spills and scratches. They require extra care and affection if placed in your kitchen.
These are similar to laminate floors which give the appearance of granite or marble but do not possess those qualities. They are hard but not heat or scratch-proof. While being inexpensive and easy to maintain, they are not the ideal choice for kitchen counters due to their short life span.
What Are The Ideal Features Of A Kitchen Worktop?
A kitchen worktop is the center of the kitchen, and this is where all the magic happens. The more organized you are when preparing meals, the better your food will taste, the more efficient your cooking process will be and the easier it will all be to clean. The kitchen countertop plays a large role in the entire cooking process and helps organize the preparation of every meal. It should ideally have the following features:
It Should Be Durable
while many people are very concerned about the appearance of their kitchen tops, it should not be the main focus. Its durability and functionality are very important and must not be ignored. A kitchen top is subject to heat, spillage, and the weight of heavy kitchen equipment placed on the countertop. Kitchen tops undergo a lot of wear and tear; therefore, they must have durability and strength to withstand it all for years to come. Kitchen tops don’t come cheap and are not convenient to replace or repair; therefore, they should ideally be a one-time investment.
It Should Be Large Enough
Since all the ingredients that go into preparing your delicious meals begin their journey on the kitchen counter, it must be large and spacious enough to accommodate everything on it. Certain everyday appliances such as coffee machines, stand mixers, and blenders that are used every day are normally placed on the kitchen tops rather than put away in cabinets. These kitchen aids take up space, so there should be enough space to accommodate appliances as well as enough space for meal preparations. Before beginning to cook a meal, most people like to lay out all the ingredients on the counter. This is where veggie chopping up, mixing sauces, slicing meat, and tossing a salad happens. Therefore an ideal kitchen worktop should have ample space to be able to comfortably prepare meals without things getting cramped up and spilling over.
It Should Be Easy To Clean And Maintain
As mentioned above, since all meal preparations are done on the kitchen countertops, it is prone to getting a lot of spillage and stains from different ingredients. Kitchen countertops should be easy to clean so that they last a long time in your home. Coffee spills, fruit juices, food colors, oil spills, and scratch marks can stain the surface of the kitchen top. It is important to make sure to invest in good quality kitchen top materials so that they are easy to clean and do not leave any stains or marks on them. Kitchen tops are usually one-time investments and should be easy to clean and maintain.
It Should Be Heat Resistant
If you have a big family or are hosting a dinner, you have many pots and pans cooking on the stove. Often we will need to take one of the stoves and place it on the kitchen top to plate it out or to proceed to the next step of your meal preparation. Kitchens are meant to get hot and have extremely hot items. Pots, pans and food that is being prepared are all at high temperatures. A countertop should be able to withstand all the heat that is coming from all the various heat sources in the kitchen. A kitchen top that is not heat resistant will easily get damaged from the pot’s heat and may even leave burn marks. An ideal kitchen top is one that is resistant to heat and does not get damaged easily. It should ideally have a high thermal capacity and not alter or change its shape when subject to heat.
Other Considerations When Designing A Kitchen
Since the kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the house and is used by all family members, a lot of thought and care should go into planning the ideal kitchen. Here are some features that all kitchens must have, even if made on a budget:
It Should Be Brightly Lit
Nobody likes walking into a gloomy kitchen early in the morning. A brightly lit kitchen helps wake you up early in the morning and is usually the first room where the whole family gathers and meets each other in the morning. It is important to make sure to bring as much natural light into the kitchen as possible by installing large windows or a skylight. Natural light is the best kind of light to have in the kitchen. A gloomy and poorly lit kitchen looks unappealing and uncomfortable to be in and does not give a warm and inviting look.
It Should Be Well Ventilated
While cookies and cinnamon buns can make your home smell aromatic and delicious, those aren’t the only food items being prepared in the kitchen. Certain cuisines can have very strong smells that tend to linger in the kitchen, and if you have an open-style kitchen, then the smell is bound to fill up your entire lounge space. Invest in good quality ventilation, and be sure to have large windows in the kitchen to allow for ventilation in the kitchen space.
The Counter Tops Should Be Wide And Spacious Enough
Countertops in the Kitchen are very important and are used for meal preparations and to place everyday kitchen appliances on top of them. Often countertops can also be used as a breakfast bar in the morning by placing bar stools for the family to sit on. Counter tops that serve as breakfast bars save a lot of dining space in smaller home spaces and can easily be used for breakfast and evening snacks as well.
There Should Be Enough Space To Accommodate Two People To Work Simultaneously
The kitchen should have enough space to walk between the stovetop to the sink and the fridge and should ideally be able to accommodate at least two cooks using the kitchen simultaneously. There should be space to walk around, and everything should be within reach to increase efficiency in the kitchen. A kitchen that is too small or has no space to walk around can become extremely difficult, especially since it is one of the house’s most used and important rooms.
The Cabinets Should Be Well Designed
The cabinets create the ambience in your kitchen and also contain all your prized cooking essentials and materials that cannot be displayed outside. Extra pots, pans, crockery, tableware, glasses, serveware, less used appliances, cookbooks etc. are all organized in cabinets. Food items that are meant to be stored on shelves, such as spices, pasta, rice and flour, are also jarred and stored in cabinets. The more efficient the design of your cabinets, the better organized your kitchen will be, and the more storage you will have.
The Worktop Should Be Made With Good Quality Material
A good quality kitchen top is one that is durable, heat resistant and easy to clean and maintain. It undergoes a lot of wear and tear and should therefore be made with high-quality material to withstand the stresses of everyday use.
The Final Word
When building a new kitchen or renovating an old kitchen, be sure to keep the above tips in mind for the best kitchen worktop. If you want to read up on more ideas for modern kitchen designs, check Modern Kitchen for some great kitchen inspiration ideas.