Granite or wooden worktops - help me decide!

(59 Posts)
wigwam33 Wed 14-Nov-12 21:01:30

We're getting a new kitchen fitted and I just can't decide on whether to go for granite worktops - look good (I think?!), durable, can withstand a lot - but possibly a bit dark. Is granite classic or will it date too?

Or wooden - goes better with white / cream units and looks more modern perhaps? But will it be a complete nightmare to maintain with a young family? And look terrible around the sink in no time?

We're probably going for fairly classic oak shaker-style kitchen units as the house is edwardian with lots of period features so don't want to go too contemporary. Still trying to make that final decision too.

Opinions please!

I have an off white shaker kitchen with black granite (fitted today). Looks amazing. Friend of mine has black granite which is 10 years old - barely looks any different to mine which is less than a day old. (Though she does say she has lost a few coffee mugs over the years)

LadyPeterWimsey Thu 15-Nov-12 19:01:20

Hated the wooden worktops we inherited because they were so hard to maintain. Have now put granite in a kitchen for the second time and I love it - so durable and beautiful. The first kitchen was black granite which was harder to keep shiny and also I thought the second time might date too quickly so I have now gone for a lighter granite with lots of colours in it - cream, brown grey, spots of a darker red. It's called Ivory Fantasy (hmm); I love it and it shows no dirt or marks - it's almost a disappointment that it doesn't look much better when it's clean and shiny - so it's very good for a slattern relaxed housekeeper like me.

I prefer the look and feel of wood but had planned to put granite in our utility room, kitchen is walnut. We priced it up and we were looking at £1500 compared to £350 for oak. If you prefer wood the main thing is to treat it loads when its new and keep it oiled so water balls on the surface. I am a slattern but about twice a year I clear the decks and oil it

TalkinPeace2 Thu 15-Nov-12 19:45:36

Bamboo
mine is over 4 years old, I am horrible to it and it still looks fab.
Love it.

wigwam33 Thu 15-Nov-12 20:39:11

Wow! Just logged on and saw all these posts. Thanks everyone for your tips. I am more on the slovenly relaxed end of the spectrum so wondering if wood is not for me, even though overall I prefer the look of it, I think it might be too impractical for us.

TalkinPeace2, I've recently developed an obsession with bamboo clothes having tried a couple of things but hadn't considered it for worktop - how often do you oil / waterproof your bamboo? Where did you get it from?

TalkinPeace2 Thu 15-Nov-12 21:06:30

How often do I oil my worktop.
Ah yes, I probably should after more than four years grin
seriously
I wipe it down with a j-cloth every day
any really bad bite get a piece of kitchen towelling worth of olive oil
there are marks around the tea making area, but because bamboo has such an irregular pattern they do not affect the look
around the sink - a grey bit at one corner but it just looks like grain

NB
before it was fitted I put 4 coats of oil onto every part of it - especially the insides of the cutout for the sink

I have some scorch marks on it - long story, high voltage
but am remarkably relaxed - its a home not a showroom after all

and the worktop still looks splendid
my floor is bamboo as well .... and ours is a boots on house .....

bought on the internet - the company I used has gone but bamboodirect have most things

StiffyByng Thu 15-Nov-12 21:20:34

We inherited a wood worktop-I'd guess oak. We are far from careful and so far it looks as good as new, even round the sink. It was obviously treated with something. So it is possible!

EdgarAllanPond Thu 15-Nov-12 21:22:57

i have slate-effect tough plastic

I just can't be trusted with either wood or granite.

I was going to say, look at lots of pictures and go with what you like the look of the most.

hermioneweasley Thu 15-Nov-12 21:29:24

Everyone I know with wood has had it ending up warping. I am lazy so went with granite. A quick wipe daily is no effort. Also, the cold surface is very good for baking. Another vote for sourcing it yourself to save cost.

BananaPie Thu 15-Nov-12 21:56:21

Is decent quality laminate not the thing to have anymore? It's easy to maintain, and looks fine!

ceres Thu 15-Nov-12 22:06:10

we have oak worktops + osmo polyx hard wax oil in matt finish.

looks great and very easy to maintain - no need to sand just wipe on more oil as needed.

PigletJohn Fri 16-Nov-12 11:33:21

BananaPie

yes, laminate is the best surface for a practical kitchen. Its main drawback is that is not very expensive, so doesn't impress the neighbours and is not shown in fashionable magazines.

the same can be said for stainless-steel sinks.

Cahoots Fri 16-Nov-12 11:55:17

I had Axiom laminate. It had crystal bits in it and looked like granite. It was super easy to clean and was very hard wearing. I did switch to granite but I really liked the laminate too.

skandi1 Fri 16-Nov-12 12:25:55

You could have both. Granite on the sink run and wood on other parts (did you say l shaped?).

Wood will need more care but its hard to say how we'll it would last you. It depends on the quality of wood and type you buy and how messy you are around the sink area.

I don't like the look of polished granite. And it needs regular wiping to avoid stealing and finger marks. Go for honed granite. It's almost matt so doesn't show greasy finger marks and streaks. You can also get flamed or river washed granite which are matt and textured.

You don't have to go for black. There are literally hundreds of kinds of granite. If your stone mason buys through Pisani (someone else recommended above), you can get any slab of granite you choose honed for you. Pisani are one of the only importers in the UK who can hone a slab for you here. It will cost circa £500 for two slabs to be done.

There is another stone mason in London (vauxhall) who claim they can flame, bush hammer or river wash any granite you choose from them.

Not sure where you are but phone around for stone masons. Prices vary a lot and be ware of a stone mason who will not agree a price based on your drawings of your new cabinets and take a deposit based on that price/layout. You risk they turn up to template and double the price.

I used Geology in New Cross for my kitchen. I wanted 40mm honed Carrara marble and one of the slabs for the island was larger than most standard slabs of Carrara plus its hard to get bespoke thickness (standard is 20mm or 30mm) but I am a fussy mare so that is what I wanted. Geology sorted it all with no hassle and they made sure I had a choice of lots of slabs. They even got some in from one of the importers for me to see/approve. They worked out a price based on my drawings from the kitchen cabinet makers and that was it. No extras no fuss or hassle. And my marble looks amazing. Great customer service.

skandi1 Fri 16-Nov-12 12:26:37

Streaking not stealing. Ffs!

TalkinPeace2 Fri 16-Nov-12 13:08:05

bamboo cannot warp - as the nine layers are set crosswise and its 3.8 cm thick ....
the bit overthe washing machine is doing fine.

wigwam33 Fri 16-Nov-12 13:08:26

EdgarAllanPond, BananaPie, PigletJohn -am also considering decent quality laminate too but have been put off it as the laminate worktop in our old house got scratched and look worn after only 2 years. Possibly, it wasn't decent quality though.

I definitely prefer the look of wood as I like the warmth of the colour. But I do like to bake and am not overly disciplined about not putting pans on surfaces so that's what made me think of granite. Also, we're planning to be in this house a long time and the kitchen is at the heart of our home so it's about having something that will last too. Half of the kitchen already has black granite in it which is in good condition, so seems a shame to get rid of it altogether.

I haven't looked into laminate properly. Can you get laminate that is wood-effect but still looks nice?

skandi1- maybe we could go half and half. I've never seen that. It doesn't look odd? honed granite could also be an answer, is that a standard thing that can be done? (we're based in the NW of England not in London)

mungojenny Fri 16-Nov-12 13:18:23

I have a beech worktop in my kitchen with cream units. It has been in about 3 years and it still looks great. I just oil it once every about 2 months or so which is really easy to do. I like it as it is warm looking and I haven't found that it marks to be honest I just run a damp cloth over it as and when. We do use trivets to put saucepans on but we did that with our last kitchen worktop as well so no particular difference to us.

skandi1 Fri 16-Nov-12 14:43:54

If its done well by someone who has done wood and stone together before then no it won't look odd.

My mum has 3 different surfaces in her kitchen. Granite on her island where hob is. Corian on the sink run and oak on the run after the sink. Looks great.

If you don't like black granite, go for River White, kashmir white.

BananaPie Fri 16-Nov-12 17:40:53

Piglet, I have a stainless steel sink as well as laminate! I guess I wasn't looking to impress the neighbours! The laminate is duropal which seems better than axiom. It has a little groove along the edge under the worktop to stop water damage.

EdgarAllanPond Fri 16-Nov-12 18:28:26

our slate effect laminate still looks good 5 years in - it would look even better if it hadn't been the first worktop dh had ever installed... its had boiling things on it, knife slices, permanently wet areas etc etc - lost in the patterning - cost £80 so if we did ever have to skip it and start afresh it would be a cost in time more than money.

it is really dark and hides most sins. correction 105 per 3m now

as the wood-effect ones have quite a different feel i'm not sure they'd do as well.

As piglet says though, laminate surfaces are not the stuff dream kitchens are made of, but they stay adequate.

BananaPie Fri 16-Nov-12 18:33:31

Not sure about wood effect laminate tbh - I think it looks a bit too fake.

Cahoots Fri 16-Nov-12 20:13:10

Honed granite can show marks just as much as normal polished granite. Polishing helps seal the surface and make it resistant to stains. It also depends on the type and colour of the granite and how it has been treated. You can always ask for a sample to take home and trial run.
I have a pal who has black honed granite and regrets it. On the other hand I have had polished kasmir gold granite that never looked dirty. It could be covered in breadcrumbs and coffee as it often was and you couldn't tell. I have had black 'blue eyes' granite that showed every mark. My latest granite is multi coloured and shows the dirt but it is sooooooo beautiful I still love cleaning it it is the ONLY thing I like cleaning

MrsMmoo Fri 16-Nov-12 20:16:58

We have corian and it is fantastic, no visibly joins on our 3m island!

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