Kitchen countertop - which one would you buy again?

(123 Posts)
cabbageandbeans Tue 13-Mar-12 21:42:25

We are buying a new kitchen and I am really confused about which type of countertop to buy.....

1)Laminate - Have had in the past and I reckon I will chip this easily.

2)Granite - tempted but not black because I reckon I'll have to shine it up ALL the time!

3)Corian - I know very little about this but I was thinking about a light colour and worried about stains, tea etc - on my current light laminate - I always use bleach for stains but have no idea if I can do this with corian.

If I do go for Granite - I guess it would be a lighter colour (maybe oatmeal shade - but have no idea how easy this is to keep looking good. But really don't know because I would like to get a white kitchen (am I crazy with 2 kids?)

I am after low maintenance as REALLY do not want to spend my life trying to make it look bloody perfect!

What have you got and would you buy it again?

captainmummy Tue 13-Mar-12 21:46:09

Am marking this thread - we are in exactly the same position! My kjitchen is just going in now, and i have no worktop yet.

Have had corian and love it but can't afford this time. Stains not really a prob with this - i had a light-grey and it still looks fab, 4 years later.

Like granite but want really thick (40-50mm) so poss too heavy/expensive

NOOOOOto laminate. Wil starve rather than have laminate.

Quite fancy concrete, would even do a DIY concrete worktop but prob don't have time or skills.

So probably will end up with a thick dark wood worktop.

Vickles Tue 13-Mar-12 21:57:07

I think we've got Iroko wood.. it's amazing. I just rub olive oil on it once in a while.... fantastic stuff. But, it's super expensive, and we didn't buy it, previous owners did.

But, in the old house, where we bought the kitchen... we went with howdens 'walnut block' laminate... bloody brilliant stuff. Would highly recommend it.

http://www.howdens.com/product-range/kitchen-collection/worktops/matt-laminate-38mm-616mm-deep/walnut-block-style/

Busyoldfool Tue 13-Mar-12 22:01:41

I had laminate because it was so much cheaper than the other options and I have just got rid of it 15 years on. It was light, colourful, fresh and stayed looking good. Ok, so not v upmarket and wd really like something a bit more sylish this time round but not sure I can afford it.

I also had wood on one of the runs and it was great. It did show marks and although I could have sanded and re-oiled it I didn't - I quite liked the "used" look. Will have some wood again as I like the warmth of it.

cabbageandbeans Tue 13-Mar-12 22:06:30

I am amazed about the wood Vickles - as you can see - NOT even on my option list! I have seen friends houses with wood counter top and it has gone black (mouldy?) around the sink. You don't have this? Really? Must know more!

We are looking at Howdens for our kitchen so will check out that laminate.

Captain Concrete - I clearly have not done my research! never heard of that!
I know how you feel about laminate. My experience is actually quite good - it is easy to clean and keep looking clean. But I always do chip it (I am very clumsy!) and this just irritates me.

cabbageandbeans Tue 13-Mar-12 22:07:46

And you too Captain are going for wood! I totally thought wood was high maintenance - I am amazed!

oreocrumbs Tue 13-Mar-12 22:08:51

I like granite. I had the dark shiney one in my last house and I really didn't find it hard to keep clean/shiney. It is virtually indestructable, you can chop, put hot pans, drop a solid rough granite pestle and motar on it not my finest moment!

You can also get a granite overlay if you are worried about the weight. rather than a solid piece of granite it is cut like a shoe box lid and laid over a basic worktop. I haven't had it myself but I can't see there would be any problem with it - its still granite just a thinner piece.

I would really like a solid wood work top, but I'd be forever in a flap about keeping it looking nice.

WRT a white kitchen...just say no. I have a cream kitchen, I hate it. It looks lovely for a nano second and then its grubby. Its not even the small child (or the dogs which add to my cleaning woes), but just general use. You have no idea how many tiny splashes you make when you make a cup of tea, or just how much food splatters the cupboards when you load the dishwasher. How much yellow greasy steam settles on cupboards straight away when you have used the george forman etc.

I'm in a constant battle with the bloody thing! My house is only 5 years old and this is a 3 yr old kitchen that was put in before I bought it. As soon as I have the funds I'm changing it. I find it very hard to live with!

cabbageandbeans Tue 13-Mar-12 22:10:43

Busy I know what you mean about laminate - 15 years! thats amazing. Any chipping? this is my big concern.

And on the wood - sounds like you didn't really tend to it's needs - was it not a bit grim around the sink? I know 2 kitchens which have rotting wood around sinks and that has put me off for life! I will serious persuasion to go in that direction1 But I am open to persuasion - that is why I am here!

cabbageandbeans Tue 13-Mar-12 22:17:26

Oreo Yes I was thinking I would get the overlay granite IF I go that way......ANd I know that white is probably not the most sensible - but what else? I need something neutral because I get bored really quickly, am a terrible fashion victim and plan to accessorise a fairly boring kitchen with my colour or fad of the moment (currently chintzy/Cath Kidston/pastels and shabby chic.........but leaning toward bright vibrant colours for the future new kitchen!).

So what should I go for?????!!!

jasminerice Tue 13-Mar-12 22:21:30

What about quartz? I'm thinking of luxore quartz in diamond ice. Sorry no good at links but you'll find it if you google.

hillyhilly Tue 13-Mar-12 22:22:37

I have cream units with black granite and absolutely love them both. I don't spend ages shining the granite, I mostly just wipe it over and it keeps clean beautifully, as well as being able to put any pan down anywhere. I occasionally shine the central island by wiping it with kitchen roll after wiping with a damp cloth, it takes only about a minute.
The cupboards do get a bit grimy but again, they wipe easily and the only thing I dislike is that the muck catches in the corners of the panel on the cupboard front.

oreocrumbs Tue 13-Mar-12 22:24:43

I would go for a simple oak kitchen a bit like this. I would spend the money on a good solid wook kitchen. A simple style will let you dress it up anyway you like, modern or traditional and it goes with any colour.

I did see a lovely dark wood modern kitchen when I was in Tecaz a few weeks ago but I don't remember the make and I can't find it!

My favourite are solid wood or marble, they do get marks on, but they have character.

I think decent quality laminate is quite hard wearing.

I also love concrete tops.

I don't like Corian, it's too slick, too artificial, imho.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 13-Mar-12 22:29:38

bamboo

put six coats of oil on it - top bottom sides and all cut marks - before its fitted
then remember to oil it once a year
(must remind self now that mine is three years old)
LOVE it

goes well with white units and bamboo floor

annalouiseh Tue 13-Mar-12 22:31:27

I would look at Quarts - the new in thing in kitchen design also is the slim 20mm tops and cheaper. Compaq and technistone prob have the nicest selections, were using alot of bright tops at the min like purples and pinks etc esp with white and cream matt and gloss doors.
its also the most durable than all the others and because its an engineered the colour can be controlled as in plan unlike the natural you have in granite.
if going/ wanting a thicker top they use the 'normal' thickness, and then create an edge giving the 50/60mm thickness and sit it on a botton on top of the units , so weight should be no more than standard

I wish we still had granite (dyed green I think) - we moved and the new house doesn't. It is indestructable. We just used washing-up liquid and water on it, then dried it to stop it from looking streaky.

I'd hate wood as it isn't practical not to get your worksurface wet.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 13-Mar-12 22:44:47

mine gets wet and dries out again - that is why it was oiled
wipe it down with a damp cloth couple of times a day

Shallishanti Tue 13-Mar-12 22:53:08

get slate!
it's fab
you can stand hot pans on it
it looks great
doesn't matter if you spill stuff
if it gets chipped (and its tough) the chips don't look too bad
it's British (probably- check)

captainmummy Wed 14-Mar-12 08:27:26

SLATE!!! haven't thought of that! My prob is that i want really thick,plus I have installed a hexagonal kitchen- i didn't want the usual 3-corners-of-a-square, so cut the corners off with a unit and now have a hexagon. I need a really wide worktop(frontof slanted-unit to wall is 100cm) and yep I did lose a lot of space, but I have 3m sq to work with plus a utility with all my larder cupboards and machines in.

I quite like the overlay-granite idea. Don't know if it will go all the way into thye corners tho. WIll research!

I had a gloss-cream kitchen in my last house (laid in a circle - that was fab, curved units and corian top) and never had a problem with marks. I am putting a cream gloss (howdens!) kitchen in at the mo.

Am now swinging between light-granite overlay or dark-wood. Or possibly slate.grin

Bunbaker Wed 14-Mar-12 08:35:28

Do not get wood. We replaced our solid wood worktop because it had gone black all around the sink and it marks easily. You can't put anything hot on it either. We replaced our worktop with a Getacor one. It looks like granite and has no joins when it is installed. It isn't as heavy as granite and not as expensive as Corian. Our is a light coloured surface and doesn't stain.

If you damage part of the surface you can just replace that bit without removing the entire worktop as the joins are sanded in and are seamless.

I have GC3961 in my kitchen

captainmummy Wed 14-Mar-12 08:39:25

BunBaker - just checked that link and they do concrete! WIll be contacting them for a quote

charitygirl Wed 14-Mar-12 08:40:35

Slate is beautiful, but expensive I think. We have just had stainless steel installed, obviously it is a very modern/minimalist look. Needless to say it is v easy to clean, heat proof, hygienic etc. I am delighted with it but I do like the masterchef look...

annalouiseh Wed 14-Mar-12 10:00:37

Captain

Also the same as Getacore is Maia - they do a 54mm thick top

www.maia-express.co.uk/maia_54mm.html

there fitted the same as laminate

MrsGypsy Wed 14-Mar-12 10:09:24

I can't tell you what you SHOULD get, but I can say what I don't recommend..... textured light speckled granite (white with flecks of grey)! I put it in (against my better judgment - DH loved it) and it's awful to keep clean. It's something to do with it not being smooth, I think and somehow it always looks grubby. Really wish I'd chosen the black sparkly smooth granite, which my friend has just chosen and looks fantastic. She says it's really easy to maintain - just wipe over and dry off with kitchen paper.

Watching with interestsmile now we have chosen our style of kitchen it is time to obsess over worktopsgrin I like the quartz and high end laminate at the mo...

uggmum Wed 14-Mar-12 10:39:55

I have black granite. It makes a cheaper kitchen look expensive. There is no 'up keep' as such but I do polish it.

I spray it with a kitchen cleaner, wipe, rinse and then polish it with an 'e cloth'. I do this a few times a day.

I had wood before and I personally found it to be a nightmare. It stained and I had to oil it constantly and it just looked shabby after a while.

sixtiesqueen Wed 14-Mar-12 12:03:23

Had black granite in last house. Was only ever pristine immediately before house viewings as we were selling.

Now have lovely 'bianco sardo' granite - stunning and everyone comments on it

Vickles Wed 14-Mar-12 13:35:05

Iroko is the dogs bollocks of wooden surfaces (as I said, we didn't buy it, previous owners did!).

They had it put in 2007 and it's still perfect! You can wipe Danish Oil on it (but that stinks! Some people oil it just as they go off on their holiday!) Someone recommended any natural oil.. olive oil. I thought they were bonkers... but, it comes out even better than the Danish oil.

Here's Howden's lighter colour one...

http://www.howdens.com/product-range/kitchen-collection/worktops/solid-wood-40mm-616mm-deep/iroko-block/

Or, the darker one like mine...

http://www.worktop-express.co.uk/wood_worktops/iroko_worktops.html

Vickles Wed 14-Mar-12 13:36:15

Not a speck of black around the sink... promise!

minipie Wed 14-Mar-12 16:14:51

I spray it with a kitchen cleaner, wipe, rinse and then polish it with an 'e cloth'. I do this a few times a day.

shock wow! now I feel like a slattern.

We have black granite, but rather than plain black is is black with lots of greenish flecks in it. A slightly gentler look than plain black, and most importantly, crumbs and smears don't really show up on it.

Whatever material you go for, I would definitely recommend you get something with flecks/pattern of some sort rather than plain.

uggmum Wed 14-Mar-12 16:49:56

'minipie'. I sounded a bit obsessive then.

My granite is shiny but the rest of my house is certainly not! smile

minipie Wed 14-Mar-12 17:16:02

grin everyone has their foibles

<straightens picture frames for the umpteenth time>

cabbageandbeans Wed 14-Mar-12 20:33:49

Bunbaker and anna LOVE IT! looks just like granite! but I hate all that wiping with a wet cloth and then drying with a paper towel (starting to realise I am very lazy!) I just want to wipe and walk away!

captain - high gloss? how is that for fingerprints/smudges etc - I imagine it to get grubby very quickly (did I mention I am clumsy when drunk - so that means lots of spilling/dropping things, sauce up the walls etc!). On the other hand looks really easy to clean? Or does it also involve the wet/dry wipe technique?

thanks Mrs for the tip - will bear in mind as I WAS looking at lighter granite - so maybe not such a good idea.

I will look into slate too (I KNOW dh will like this as he a it of a nature boy)

cabbageandbeans Wed 14-Mar-12 20:36:57

uggmum - I just can't commit to all that wiping!

sixties I have to find a picture of your stuff - sounds perfect - just what I want - low maintenance then in comparison to the darker stuff?

cabbageandbeans Wed 14-Mar-12 20:40:32

vickles - I will research it but bet it costs a fortune. Wonder it cheaper woods are more inclined to go black and rot. That dark one IS beautiful. I just can't believe this IS such a big decision!!!!

annalouiseh Wed 14-Mar-12 20:42:25

from what you saying candbeans I would look at quartz with a speckle or fleck, no smears to be seen- non porous unlike granite, the detail/speckle will hide anything.
the Maia can look a little plastic so advise ordering samples ( I use to have this as samples when working for various companies) its mainly the darker colours.
we have a light quartz, on my profile

cabbageandbeans Wed 14-Mar-12 20:45:13

sixties what colour your cabinets out of interest? looked up the granite and I like it but not sure what to put it with maybe a bit too pale with white cupboards?

ANTagony Wed 14-Mar-12 20:47:39

We have a mix of granite and wood. Granite either side of sink - so no mould. The granite is black with specks. I just wipe with a damp kitchen towel after food prep. I don't dry it and it's not streaky. It doesn't mark which is fantastic. It's great for pastry making and scraping dough on.

We got the granite from a local place it was £500 for three pieces cut, polished and finished. One really big bit for our island and two pieces work top depth square. We chose it from an off cuts sheet so it was about 25% normal price.

The other work top is long below windows and is oak from magnet. Once we'd sealed it after first install it's been low maintenance except when I put a rusty tin on it and had to sand back and re-oil one area.

ZuzuBailey Wed 14-Mar-12 20:51:08

I wanted something very practical and easy care so chose this (in Pumice). Four years on it still looks new and I just clean it once in a blue moon occasionally with a damp cloth.

It shows nothing.

cabbageandbeans Wed 14-Mar-12 20:51:10

I think I have something like this in my bathroom and it doesn't need ferocious cleaning (although toothpaste shows up SO much!) but I don't love it as much as black (particularly with speckles) granite.

Would it be weird to have a completely other type of granite in the kitchen? Maybe I should go with the same?.....Arrrrrrr

Pannacotta Wed 14-Mar-12 20:55:12

I am going to have a mix of wood and quartz in our new kitchen.
Quartz round the sink where I need something practical and waterproof (and I want an undermounted sink and drainer grooves) and wood for the main worktop and prep space.

cabbageandbeans Wed 14-Mar-12 20:58:25

anna What Fabulous kitchens! I would be happy with either old or new! Stunning! Will now look into quartz.

cabbageandbeans Wed 14-Mar-12 21:00:04

Thankyou everyone for your ideas! I have a LOT of research to do! You have opened my eyes to a whole new world of countertops which I didn't know existed!

annalouiseh Wed 14-Mar-12 21:09:37

the older, with walnut worktop dh picked due to the look with the black.
walnut being one of the stronger woods did bow at the front edge of the hob and I burnt it with a hot pan (not using the hot rods other side of hob) and got a rust ring on it (i left a wet tin sitting on it for a day) i clumsy also.
when dh came home after being away he went mad and had to re-sand and oil it and it wasn't even 6 weeks old hah

cabbageandbeans Wed 14-Mar-12 21:14:13

ok so definitely no walnut for me!

I have Zodiaq by Dupont. It's good. It's some sort of quartz and polymer mix (I read that on the website - obviously I don't really know what it means grin). Mine is not fleck-y - it's quite plain. Looks good, robust, doesn't take a lot of looking after.

annalouiseh Wed 14-Mar-12 21:16:38

haha - walnut is stronger of the stronger woods, its a hard wood, oak and others are a soft wood but that will happen with most, just need to be careful and get the feeling we aint??
I'm already on course breaking his new one........ haha

sixtiesqueen Wed 14-Mar-12 21:20:00

Cabbage, I have two colours of unit - most of them are painted in Farrow and Ball's 'Elephant's Breath' but the island is oak. The F and B colour is sort of putty-ish. I had a blog online when we were renovating the house and you can prob see pictures on there - http://sixtiespalace.blogspot.com

I swear to God it always looks clean even when it's not. That bloddy star galaxy stuff in the last house drove me potty.

IvanaHumpalot Wed 14-Mar-12 21:20:41

I've got Caeser stone in white - don't be scared, tea coffee etc... wipes off with the flash spray. My friend had Granit Transformations. She chose a lovely white one with bits of twinkle and mother of pearl - not at all disco.

vickles the iroko wood looks beautiful! if you dont mind me asking (and sorry if you have already said) what colour units do you have with that colour worktops? i am leaning towards black gloss but would that be too dark? a pic of my design is on my profile and my room would be quite small... im sure my questions will drive people mad before i do the kitchengrin i keep changing my mind (last time i looked at it i was set on grey gloss but looking at pics and in person it is quite dull and i want to keep the room as airy-feeling as possible i realise black may not helpgrin)

sixtiesqueen Wed 14-Mar-12 21:31:47

oh regarding the photo of the granite - you'll have to go backwards to November 22nd I think to see it - the photos are a bit washed out and the kitchen wasn't fully installed but you'll get the idea.

annalouiseh Wed 14-Mar-12 21:37:16

nomoremarbles the black will not make the room look smaller as will look like it is glossy'er from the base colour so will reflect loads.
fingerprints are very visible though.
black base units and cream wall units will look good

Pannacotta Wed 14-Mar-12 21:40:34

nomoremarbles not sure balck units and dark worktops are ideal in a small room.
Cant you have mid tone units and worksurface? I think not too much contrast is better if you are short of space, but would opt for mid tones rather than dark.
Perhaps these kind of colours
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-4PfBssprdyc/TYsPiyLIrSI/AAAAAAAAAKo/CseBbUJL5Co/s1600/K2-Side-return-extension-Kitchen-and-dinning-area.jpg

Canella Wed 14-Mar-12 21:50:57

We've got a glossy black quartz stone worktop - I love it nearly all the time - i just wipe it with a slightly damp cloth and walk away but round the sink where the dc wash their hands and leave little pools of water, it has already got faint water marks sad. We live in a hard water area & no amount of polishing is making them go away.

But everywhere else it looks fab. Goes lovely with our matt grey units and our slate floor too.

pinkappleby Wed 14-Mar-12 21:53:11

I have had wood (installed by previous owners), looked beautiful and no marks around sink but that is because I looked after it meticulously and I would NEVER have it again.

We have gone for laminate in our new house, I don't love it, but didn't love anything I saw so went for the cheap option. Having said that, I was in Homebase this week and walked past their new German range and saw a worktop I loved. I went and asked the assistant as I couldn't identify what it was and it was high end laminate. Many more layers thick than bog standard and edges manufactured in a different way. High end laminate might be worth checking out.

Busyoldfool Wed 14-Mar-12 22:30:19

This is really interesting - so much useful stuff. I didn't have the wood round the sink so the mould question didn't come up at all. I've taken note though and will avoid it next time. I have seen glass worktops - v expensive I fear but lovely colours especially for a small run of units in an alcove. Does anyone have glass?

Re laminate and chipping. Actually yes there was one chip which we got when we tried to move some garden furniture through the kitchen and bashed the edge of the worktop - but none in "normal" usage, ( and I'm not careful)

teta Wed 14-Mar-12 22:35:08

I have Iroko wood and slate for either side of the cooker.I am happy with both and our kitchen gets a lot of wear and tear.Units are painted in skimming stone [F&B] and the island is painted in elephants breath plus an odd wall cupboard in Light Blue.I also have a bit of oak and it is a pain,as it marks with everything.

Gentleness Wed 14-Mar-12 23:34:08

I would LOVE to have got bamboo but as I'm just not a great house-keeper and I wanted the lowest maintenance possible, we went for Duropal. It's laminate but a very nice one and looks great. We chose a walnut block because it seemed the one that had enough pattern to distract from whether it was real wood or not.

Friends who are pretty similar in housey skills to me (but a bit better) had chosen solid wood and theirs looks AWFUL round the sink now. That's what convinced me to keep life as easy as possible.

CointreauVersial Wed 14-Mar-12 23:47:13

Love my granite. It's black, with grey flecks; you can easily keep it streak free by wiping down with a cloth in each hand - wet, to get the grot off, and dry, to buff and get rid of any streaks. It is bomb-proof and looks as good as the day it was put in. We have matching upstands, window sills and a splashback behind the cooker.

My folks have a very heavily speckled beige and cream granite - not particularly my taste, but boy does it hide the crumbs!

Laminate is fine, but doesn't last - OK for a cheaper kitchen maybe. It gets scratched and stained.

Wood - yuk. My parents had wood prior to the granite, and it was always black around the sink. Impossible to keep clean. It also marked very easily, for example, my dad put a bottle of kitchen cleaner down, and it left a permanent ring. Maybe if you are a fan of sanding and oiling......

i was hoping it would be light-reflective anna and DH is not keen on the lighter colours (white/beige/mocha). my brother has recently had white gloss paneled units in his kitchen and they (DBro and SIL) are quite competitive (my kitchens better than yours because...etchmm) so we are steering clear of white. our existing kitchen is a beech slab style that was newly fitted before we bought the house and we have black gloss laminate worktops so dont want that again (i want it entirely different esp as we are moving the back door and window placement and making the 'L' more pronounced)
panna that kitchen is beautiful but too...pale i think...i am a slattern... the wite would not be white for longblush plus with a DH who NEVER wipes after himself, DD who is a spiller and a dog who refuses to desist in jumping up to paw at the counter i fear i would hate it before longgrin thanks for the lin thoughsmile

pickledsiblings Wed 14-Mar-12 23:55:43

We have black granite on wooden units and white corian on cooking apple green painted units with a painted tongue and groove splash back - would highly recommend the corian, it looks as good as new after 8 years.

You can bleach it and even sand it but the best thing is the way you can have a seamless integrated sink...and it can be made to look v. thick and works really well vertically (we have it down the side of the unit that faces towards the living room).

captainmummy Thu 15-Mar-12 09:13:42

Cabbage i had high-gloss cream units,with 1 high-gloss black one under the hob (drawer unit). The black shows the fingermarks more than the cream but they are easily removed, just a quick wipe with a sponge. My new kitchen has the same cream and black, and i'm going for a red glass splashback and black double oven, black induction hob. I hate clutter so the only colour in the room will be the splashbacks- no colour-coordinated storage jars/toaster/kettle for me!

I did want a white-ish worktop (was looking at concrete, granite, glass) but thought with cream walls, cream units and wood floor it might be a bit blinding in there - it's west facing with a big window and glazed double doors, so prob go for dark wood, or a dark grey worktop.

Upthread there was a comment about the 'fashion' for worktops is now for thin ones - I really like the chunky look, 40-50mm thick, but I don't want it to look dated before i put it in! Not sure about it now....sad

jasminerice Thu 15-Mar-12 11:24:51

Pickledsiblings, are you happy with 2 different types of worktops? Because that's what we're thinking of having but I'm not sure how it will look. Am thinking of quartz on island with hob and corian on seperate sink area. Undecided on colours and base/wall units etc. I like the practicality of corian around the sink but don't want it everywhere.

Honu Thu 15-Mar-12 16:10:08

My kitchen is at the digging-out-for-footings stage so not ready for worktops yet but following this with interest. If you google getacore and look at the money saving expert forum (sorry, fail miserably at links) you'll see some quite interesting comments on this and similar products. Keep the ideas coming - I'm thinking of granite for the island and laminate round the edges of the kitchen, but can easily be swayed!

cabbageandbeans Thu 15-Mar-12 20:08:00

This is ALL very excellent! I think that because I am not a dedicated domestic goddess (always a bit hit and miss) I am definatley ruling out wood. although the Wood effect laminate may still be an option if it is good. What I am really excited about (and this is still a shockingly long list!) is the corian/getacore/maia type material.

AM Very interested in concrete - I had a very quick peek and really liked the colour and am I imagining it or can you have a sink made in that too so seamless like corian/getacore etc? Also very excited about the positive about granite and quartz. I was really down on granite because IMO black granite is just too much hard work with streaking and all that karate kid wipe on wipe off......just a wee bit too much effort for me on a daily basis BUT it sounds like if you through in a few more speckles then you are good to go?

I have to say I really like the idea of a white countertop and Ivana I looked your countertop up - found one called snow which I LOVE and it looks SO good in these pictures

dh not convinced that white gloss cupboards easy to keep looking nice - I need LOW MAINTENANCE ALL ROUND!

Fascinating that so many people sem to have two kinds of cupboards/countertops in their kitchens - don't think that would ever have occured to me!

Captain - LOVE the sound of your red splash-back. We have considered a big wow splash of colour and that sounds lovely. Am also looking at an induction hob - how fab are they?!! Which I never thought I would do....I am gas all the way, but no knobs! I LOVE that. It is weird because I don't really like clutter but I like an easy life and can't be hiding my toaster/kettle in a cupboard when not in use!

annalouiseh Thu 15-Mar-12 20:58:29

below is the money saving expert Getacore, hope link works tried to be fancy.
many people on there have it and say it scratches all over the shop

((http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=344469 getacore link))

annalouiseh Thu 15-Mar-12 20:58:54
Bunbaker Thu 15-Mar-12 22:22:00

That made for depressing reading. I have a light coloured Getacore surface and haven'y noticed any scratches in it after 15 months use. I don't regret having Getacore so far.

captainmummy Fri 16-Mar-12 08:28:47

Cabbage am now regretting reading this thread! I was going for thick thick thick dark wood....am now wavering between quartz, glass and concrete. Has anyone got 2 types of surface on one worktop ie not on an island or similar? What if I went for quartz behind sink, but concrete for the other 2 'legs' of the U-shape? must look into that.

Pannacotta Fri 16-Mar-12 08:38:06

captain I am thinking of doing that, ie quartz round the sink and then wood (rather than concrete) along the main run of worktop which is at a right angle to the sink - our design is an L shaped run of units.
It was suggested by Mnetters and several kitchen designers so hope it will look ok.
Though having read this thread I am a bit undecided now!

Pannacotta Fri 16-Mar-12 08:41:22

Also I have a techie question for anyone who might know, could we have a shelf like this behind a range cooker made from wood or would it need to be solid worktop?

www.higham.co.uk/

oohermrs Fri 16-Mar-12 08:47:50

I've got black granite, it looks amazing. Had the predictable negative comments from people about it showing every mark. But I bought granite e-cloths from Lakeland. I just use fairy liquid on it and wipe it dry. So yes would buy again.

teta Fri 16-Mar-12 09:03:21

You could have wood pannacotta but light wood might stain with food/oil.Worktop would be more wipeable but would be fiddly and expensive to cut i think [but i am no expert].I have a wenge wood upstand behind my rangemaster [i couldn't find slate upstands anywhere] and this doesn't show the dirt.

Pannacotta Fri 16-Mar-12 09:31:25

Thanks teta, it would be walnut rather than pale wood - am not too hot on the cleaning front.
Did wonder about fire regs etc but will need to check with whoever makes our kitchen...

annalouiseh Fri 16-Mar-12 10:17:28

Hi Captain

look here for the concrete, concrete although stunning can be quite problematic.

www.concretenetwork.com/fix-concrete-countertops/

glass is good, very very pricey though

captainmummy Fri 16-Mar-12 12:02:16

Hi Anna - thanks for the link, they are in USA tho. I have found manufacturers of concrete worktops in the UK but not mnay, and they are as expensive as corian! I did think about DIY...

but maybe not.

PigletJohn Fri 16-Mar-12 13:29:46

Your experience may vary, but I find Corian holds tea-stains, and I know someone who had it crack at a corner (they had a one-piece moulded worktop-and-sink installation)

annalouiseh Fri 16-Mar-12 13:50:26

Hi Captain
yes I know there are, but the same issues will happen, as concrete is purous.
I know its not cheap, far from it.
we looked at having a poured polished concrete floor and the expense was out this world, then looked into it and noticed very prone to hairline cracks. that wasn't something we wanted for that type of £ notes.
Corian is prone to scratches and other little things, but can be polished out/fixed. but then that's an added expense to get it fixed, it also does look good, but again more cost than the quartz side of things.
I do know of a company who can make sinks out of granite/quartz to be the same as the worktop, there the only one in the uk. very expensive and its fitted the same as an undermount but with worktop material.
they do look rather nice

DH and I were discussing work tops again last night and he has decided he likes the dark iroko wood the bestsmile we are now weighing up the pros and cons of laminate dark wood and real dark wood... For the higher end laminate the price would be very similar for what we need compared to the iroko wood... I am now working on lighter units than the black glosssmile
Concrete countertops tend to chip on the corners a lot I think. My friend had concrete poured and polished when she did her last kitchen. Cost ALOT and the edges cracked and chipped so it didn't stay so nice. She ended up replacing hers after about 2 years because it looked quite shabby.

annalouiseh Fri 16-Mar-12 14:12:34

nomore the laminates are all around the same quality
the price depends where you buy them and there lengths

It's the shape and thickness that we have been looking for and the pattern texture etc. I have found that the lower priced laminate have a less than convincing colour tone, odd shaped edges and the picture that is laminated is not as good as the more expensive. If I am going to go for wood effect laminate I want it as close to real wood look as I can get itsmile

annalouiseh Fri 16-Mar-12 14:44:10

have you been looking in diy stores?

Look at these below there are 3 main suppliers of laminate to the kitchen independents - all as good as each other but with different variations.

www.axiomworktops.com/

www.duropal.co.uk/

www.bushboard.co.uk/

they don't sell to the end user but will tell you the nearest supplier and you can order samples off them direct

Pannacotta Fri 16-Mar-12 14:49:27

I agree nomore that iroko looks lovely, but it gets a bad press in environmental terms as it rarely comes from managed sources and is often sourced from tropical rainforests.
That said, this supplier has FSC approved iroko
www.norfolkoak.com/worktops/iroko-worktops.php

SwedishEdith Fri 16-Mar-12 15:21:33

Is glass not very noisy? I'm thinking of that horrible clattering sound you get from glass chopping boards. I don't need a new worktop so not sure why I'm reading grin this but do have oak and it looks lovely.

cabbageandbeans Fri 16-Mar-12 16:24:19

Good point Swedish.

jasminerice Fri 16-Mar-12 18:38:38

annalouise, could you tell me which co. does the quartz sinks please? Thanks.

Bunbaker Fri 16-Mar-12 21:27:31

"glass chopping boards."

shock
Glass should never be used as a chopping board. As a work surface saver yes, but as a knife wrecker no. Glass is very bad for knife blades as it is much harder than steel. Use wood or plastic, but never glass for chopping on.

HansieMom Sat 17-Mar-12 01:22:13

I had a maple butcher block top on an island. It looked good until we used it. ; )
Occasionally DH would sand and refinish it. It would stain, get newspaper print on it, and lose the finish with use.

Currently we have laminate, looks new but is fifteen years old. I am not wild about color and may redo with laminate or quartz. I want to just wipe a counter and have it look good. Never ever tile again.

SkiBumMum Sat 17-Mar-12 02:13:50

We've just purchased Maia as an alternative to Corian. 1/3 of the price, fewer colours but otherwise pretty much the same thinga

SwedishEdith Sat 17-Mar-12 13:06:31

oh, I know that about glass chopping boards bunbaker. I was just pondering on whether the glass worktops were as noisy.

captainmummy Sat 17-Mar-12 14:29:47

SkiBum - I have maia in the utility room, the white one. I love it, it hasn't stained or chipped.

cabbageandbeans Sat 17-Mar-12 20:27:28

Hansie - what do you mean never tile again? On your counter top/walls of floor? Must be countertop - I can only imagine how awful that is to keep clean.

cabbageandbeans Sat 17-Mar-12 20:29:09

Captain - have you ever left a tea bag on your maia? If not would you like to experiment with tea for me? I am VERY concerned about tea stains!

captainmummy Sun 18-Mar-12 13:43:30

Cabbage - I use a teabag holder, but I don't think it would stain anyway,even being white, it's very good.

I've had it over 2 years, used it as a breakfast bar so lots of possibility for food stains, but it is as good now as it ever was.

I went in the kitchen shop yesterday, am now tempted by quartz. Def veering away from wood, was told it needs sanding and sealing every 3 months. Def not in this house!

Yorky Sun 18-Mar-12 16:39:05

OK wise kitchen ladies, I am planning my new kitchen in my head - probably won't become reality for about a year but the floor will be wood - the same as we have in the dining room (knocking through for kitchen diner) and hallway, and I really like the wood floor, cream units (not glossy) and wooden worktop look. Am I mad? - DC 4 is due in the next couple of months when eldest will be not quite 5.5. And, most importantly, what wood effect worktops are there? - I cannot look after a proper wooden one, love it though I would, but am not keen on laminate but all the maia and similar only offer stone effect - I am just dreaming/being greedy wanting wood effect maia aren't I?

Thanks for any advice

SwedishEdith Sun 18-Mar-12 18:14:20

Wood doesn't need sanding and sealing every 3 months! Needs 3 coats of oil before installed and then when and as you remember. And you can use cooking oil - which I do whilst I'm making a meal. Just pour some onto the surface and rub in, leave for a few minutes and then wipe off with the tea towel kitchen paper. But it's not "a task" as such- and I am seriously slatternly. I can tell you don't want it but just wanted to point that out in case anyone else is reading this.

Pannacotta Sun 18-Mar-12 19:20:42

I agree Swedish, we had wood in our lastr two kitchens and I only oiled it about once a year and it looked fine. WHoever mentioned every 3 months must have bene trying to sell you a different worktop...

myron Sun 18-Mar-12 20:24:34

Just started looking at kitchens and veering towards quartz. Definite no to wooden (water marks/mould) or granite (absorbs cooking oil) worktops. Professionals use stainless steel but too commercial/utilitarian looking in a more domestic setting. Engineered wood flooring and veering towards cream units possibly from Howdens (closer and less hassle) or Ikea (value for money). Cheaper units plus laminate in the utility (so I can justify the wine cooler cabinet and boiling water tap!)

captainmummy Mon 19-Mar-12 08:26:46

OK Cabbage - In the interests of Mumsnet research I left a teabag on my maia surface overnight and have just wiped it off with no marks left at all! I can experiment with beetroot/red wine/ felt tip if you like - am feeling very confident now.grin Plus it's a bit of worktop i am not going to be using again.

Thanks for your input Edith -I have seen on some internet sites that the surface should be sanded and sealed (maybe not every 3 months tho). And 'oily' woods like teak and iroko have natural oils that protect more against water stains - i would have gone for iroko i think.

Yorky I have a wooden floor and cream units and was going for wood worktops. Some of the more expensive laminates are v good and solid and come in lots of wood colours. Or you could go for a cheaper solid wood, I think Rubberwood is cheap and looks like oak.

cabbageandbeans Mon 19-Mar-12 19:37:53

captain you are fantastic and highly scientific! This is greatly reassuring as my DH is a great fan of maia. Bring on the beetroot.....and probably more likely in my house the red wine?!! (you are SO much braver than I!)

captainmummy Mon 19-Mar-12 19:57:54

Ok Beetroot tonight, and felt tip pen. Can't do red wine at the mo, as am on the wagon for 3 weeks.

Stay tuned!

HansieMom Mon 19-Mar-12 21:31:04

Cabbage, I would never have tile on counters again. Floor and backsplash fine and even desirable. But I had 4" tile on counters. Peach with peach grout. I had to be so careful.

HansieMom Mon 19-Mar-12 21:53:11

I never bought purple grape juice all the years I had that peach tile. I had glass cutting boards in work areas.

I did have light tile with fairly light grout in entry. When cleaning, FIRST I had to clean floor, then I could scrub it. Otherwise I would be smearing mud around and staining the grout.

BettyBathroom Mon 19-Mar-12 22:17:11

We have Silestone - white with a small fleck - it stains like buggery, red wine and turmeric, coffee too. You can remove the stains using a green scourer and a damned hard scrub. The Silestone rep said that it's only a stain if it can't be removed - also suggested some people were very lazy and didn't clean things up straight away and what did they expect? hmm I wanted a wash over with an e-cloth cloth with soapy water and go and that is not what I got.

captainmummy Tue 20-Mar-12 14:18:15

Oh turmeric - forgot about turmeric! Will have to test for that tonight!

cabbage - beetroot and green felt pen, no prob at all. Wiped straight off the Maia this morning. Turmeric maybe a different story (once had to throw away a whole suitcase of clothes after a curry-chutney leaked on flight back from SA.)

Maia is looking like an entry!

jasminerice Tue 20-Mar-12 14:22:15

Has anyone got a light/white quartz they could do some testing on please?!

BettyBathroom Tue 20-Mar-12 14:51:01

Tbh the turmeric sorts itself out - daylight is enough to remove the colour. If you want to do sample staining just order samples from the manufacturer.

newgirl Tue 20-Mar-12 16:11:30

Maia - definitely

Two friends had it over the past five years and it looked amazing. So we had it put in our last house and it was fab. It was a small dark ish room so black granite etc would have looked terrible - the white maia transformed the room. It does stain but you rub it with a brillo spongey thing and it is perfect again.

We now have black granite and i would change it for maia if I had the money. Not worried about the odd smear etc as im not that houseproud - it just looks a bit blokey and 80s.

captainmummy Wed 21-Mar-12 08:08:26

Left a spoonful of turmeric (actually curry poiwder) overnight on maia and it was wiped off this morning. Left a tiny amount ofyellowing, which i scrubbed with Jif. Will leave to see if 'daylight' removes it, per Betty.

cabbageandbeans Sun 25-Mar-12 15:57:03

Captain you are a good sales woman! I am seriously considering the maia now.

cabbageandbeans Tue 27-Nov-12 23:09:50

bump myself back on the scene. It has been delayed but now I have to commit!

gremlinmum Wed 28-Nov-12 15:17:02

Same position as you cabbageandbeans i'm thinking of granite myself black with flecks maybe? Keep us posted!!

cabbageandbeans Wed 28-Nov-12 20:01:40

It's all down to the quotes I get. I like maia, corian etc but not sure what colour. Definatley getting white cupboards. I am on a budget but was to spend more on counter to make it look more expensive overall. But a bit lost TBH!

gremlinmum Wed 28-Nov-12 20:40:42

Me 2!!! sad too many decisions!!!

cabbageandbeans Thu 17-Jan-13 23:18:18

There may not be a soul out there who is actually interested but if you are I have FINALLY decided to go for a white coloured quartz with a Howdens Tewksbury Skye Kitchen. Ta Dah!! Only took me almost one year to decide!

maidinheaven Sat 19-Jan-13 19:31:29

We've had the black quartz with mirror flecks for almost three years and we're still delighted with it so good choice IMO cabbageandbeans. Did lots of research before we decided, some of it here on MN and did consider Corian but was happy with the choice we made. DH is taking a new position and we have to relocate so have to leave my beautiful kitchen behind boo hoo!!
Good place to research kitchens and worktops is Tim Foley's blog. We bought our quartz from them and would be happy to do same again if needed.
This is the link www.kitchensfitted.co.uk/blog/
I also like the look of Maia but DH tells me it's not as good as Corian. Maybe he should speak to captainmummy :-)

LeChance Wed 23-Jan-13 00:01:33

Looking at quartz for worktops....any opinions/advice re. colour scheme for my (first ever!) new kitchen would be appreciated. Keen on gloss cream units, pale grey amtico stone-effect floor tiles and mid-blue quartz worktops. Cannot find any posh designer pics of such a kitchen - does this mean I'm hopelessly behind the times ahead of the curve with the next big trend? Earth colours are everywhere at the mo (and lovely) but I've got a lighter, fresher look in my head. Any thoughts/ideas/hysterical laughter welcome!

Never heard of Maia but I like the look of it. So far every worktop seems to have a disadvantage (cost aside)

- wood rots
- granite will smash anything dropped on it
- quartz would smash my glasses too I guess?
- recycled glass likewise? don't know enough about it, maybe it's not common enough yet for opinions. Recycled plastic likewise
- laminate chips
- some worktops stain

How about Maia? Must be something wrong with it!

annalouiseh Wed 23-Jan-13 13:38:03

Maia or any acrylic scratches easily, can stain so will need rubbing out.
Not the best with heat compared with others and you need a good fitter to fit.
on the plus side its seemless

So nothing is perfect? Grrr!

annalouiseh Wed 23-Jan-13 14:56:21

Quartz will be your best bet if your after the most durable.
we have it and have done for 3 yrs and never broke anything on it and im not the most careful.
regardless what top you have if you drop something, the chances are it will land on the floor and smash anyway.
Think on how you use your kitchen and what you want from it.
Although granites and quartz are hard if you want low maintenance and not to be careful this will tick your boxes

SkivingAgain Wed 23-Jan-13 15:30:29

Don't know if anyone has already suggested this. A few years ago I saw one of those house-do-it-upper type TV shows and the worktops were made of recycled glass and looked fabulous.

www.vetrazzo.com/eng/products/color_palette/all#products

SkivingAgain Wed 23-Jan-13 15:36:43

http://www.bottlealleyglass.co.uk/ this is a UK site

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