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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!

wigwam33 Fri 30-Nov-12 18:52:34

Thanks Murtette - that's what I'm a little concerned about with a wood effect laminate!

I'm now wondering about getting wood but having it well varnished with a matt varnish as elfandsafeT suggested. My question about varnish is - how safe is it on a food prep surface? (isn't varnish often quite toxic?!)

Murtette Fri 30-Nov-12 18:08:55

My parents got their kitchen from Howdens and it looks really good other than the wood effect laminate which is so clearly not wood and just looks a bit odd. I imagine that there are others which look better though. Is it possible to do a whizz around a few kitchen showrooms and see if they have any wood laminates on display and, if so, what you think of them?

wigwam33 Fri 30-Nov-12 14:44:59

Thanks Cahootz. Got your PM and am looking into this.

Cahoootz Wed 28-Nov-12 20:14:29

I have a new kitchen with wood effect doors, from a fancy German company. They cost more than wood and, if you look closely, are obviously not real wood, but I love them. So easy to care for and will last ages.

wigwam33 Wed 28-Nov-12 19:10:15

Thanks nocake! You love it that's the main thing I think.

nocake Wed 28-Nov-12 18:50:23

We've got wood effect laminate which we love but no one would ever mistake it for real wood.

wigwam33 Wed 28-Nov-12 18:44:35

OK I've decided against granite in most of the kitchen because with the final kitchen design we've decided on more work surface space including a small breakfast bar, so a) there is more side space and it was going to work out far too expensive and b) granite seemed too cold for the breakfast bar. Some people also mentioned about breaking things - that will be me.

The previous owners have installed granite in what will be half of the new kitchen, so we may keep a smallish block around the sink, if we can work out how to get it cut.

I much prefer the colour and look of natural wood but am still very concerned about it just looking horrible within a couple of years.

Anyone got high quality wood-effect laminate in their kitchen? I've heard you can get it and it's almost hard to tell the difference, but haven't seen it. Anyone?

Please help! I know this is pretty dull but I really need to -carry on thinking about this for another 2-3 weeks - make this decision soon and get out more confused

elfandsafeT Fri 16-Nov-12 20:31:06

I have granite in my kitchen (from previous owner) and oak in my utility room including round a butlers sink.

I agree with the granite being harder to keep clean as it shows smears if you just wipe it down.

The trick with wood is to varnish it rather than oil it. My builder insisted against my better judgement that it was better than oil and would mean that it would never go black. He said everytime he'd fitted oiled oak he'd had complaints about it going black around the taps, only to have to go back and sand and re-oil it again.

I disagreed and he went ahead and did it anyway!!! He used a matt laquer so it isn't shiny (at all) and guess what he was right - it is really easy to keep clean, there are no black marks or staining at all after a year. I was so impressed that i am now going to go with laquered oak when i replace the kitchen.

discrete Fri 16-Nov-12 20:26:08

I've had corian, marble and wood.

I love wood for preparing food on, but it's a nightmare with water. I just don't have the discipline to keep it looking good, so for the next kitchen I'm just having a massive built-in wooden block.

The corian was actually really lovely. No seams, very practical and easy to clean and looked just as good, if not better, than granite. We did crack the corian sink by putting hot pans straight into it but they changed it for free under warranty.

Next kitchen I'm going to try polished concrete. Love the look of it and apparently it's quite hard wearing, and can be in any colour of your choosing. If done by someone who knows what they are doing, it can also be seamless, which I love. I really don't like the joins in my marble worktops.

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

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

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

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

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

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 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.

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.

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.

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)

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.

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

Streaking not stealing. Ffs!

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.

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.

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


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.

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.

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!

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.

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