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Worktop advice - wood/bamboo/other?

(12 Posts)
bluescreen Sat 03-Feb-18 20:16:34

Advice please.

Our kitchen is falling to bits and we can't put off our refurb much longer. Kitchen has little natural light. We live in a hard water area. We do a lot of cooking. DH isn't famous for being careful with hot things. I'd love to be able to roll out pastry or knead dough directly on the (clean!) surface instead of having to haul out the huge old baker's thing from Lakeland every time. I'd rather not have to devote a lot of time caring for a new worktop.

Ruling out granite/marble/stone because of risk of breakages. Ruling out laminate for appearance and because it scorches so easily.

Inclined to rule out Corian (though I love the seamlessness, moulded sinks and integrated upstand) on account of cost shock, vulnerability to scratching etc and general hassle of maintenance.

Have just seen bamboo. It is cheap but I like the look. Have also seen reclaimed oak, which looks great too. The appeal is that they can take a bit of bashing, eg, scorch marks can be planed out and revarnished but is this true? What are the drawbacks? How often do they need resurfacing? Anyone got any experience or advice?

Also considering different materials for food prep surface and the opposite side of the kitchen where things like biscuit tins and toaster and general clutter sit, so not vulnerable to water splashes. Would that look weird? We don't have to be matchy matchy but don't want weird.

Finding the whole decision a right royal pain (first world problems, eh?) so would be very grateful for any suggestions of other surfaces, including reconsidering those I've ruled out.

Or am I putting the cart before the horse? Do we need to look at units first? We will invest in some new trivets. wink

OneDayIWillHaveAGreatUsername Sun 04-Feb-18 23:33:38

We had bamboo worktops in our old house (we put them in when we did the kitchen). I loved the "warmth" they gave to the room and we always got compliments on the side profile of them.

We had them for about 5 years and never once sanded or re-oiled them (we always meant to but somehow never got round to it!). They picked up a few scratches but overall they were in great condition (although we are quite careful I guess).

What I would say is that I hated doing pastry etc on them as it never felt like you could fully clean them.

If we were to do a kitchen refurb again I wouldn't go for wood this time, I'd prefer quartz or similar. Particular for ease of cleaning and being able to do pastry work on a smooth surface! But I'd also not go for high gloss floor tiles as we had them and whilst they looked great they were a pain to clean.

bluescreen Mon 05-Feb-18 11:31:52

Thank you, OneDay, that's really helpful. I'm coming round to the idea of bamboo with an inlay for the pastry and dough. It would need to have an excellent seam round it though!

I appreciate the advice on floor tiles too.

JaneEyre70 Mon 05-Feb-18 11:35:00

We've got solid beech tops, that DH oiled when they were fitted. Looked great for around a year. He's not touched them since, I've had a go and it was a horrid job. As a result, ours are now heavily stained and ring marked from water/pans, and it's actually rotted around the sink.
Never ever ever again. Don't do it unless you're prepared to put a lot of work into keeping it nice. We are having granite next time or divorce!

iknowimcoming Mon 05-Feb-18 11:48:20

What do you mean by breakages with granite? We've got it and it's bomb proof, the only thing I'd change is having it so dark as it shows limescale round the taps (hard water area too) it's great for dough and pastry and needs no maintenance except normal cleaning, we are moving and definitely having it in the new place.

whiskyowl Mon 05-Feb-18 12:08:56

Quartz! Cleaner and a bit cheaper than natural stone, but cold to roll out pastry. Strong as hell, too.

bluescreen Mon 05-Feb-18 12:12:18

What do you mean by breakages with granite? We've got it and it's bomb proof

Hah, iknow it is! I also know people who've lost a lot of wineglasses and china from another member of the family putting them down a bit incautiously. My SIL for example, who loves the look in her kitchen but urged me against it. As I live in an incautious household I have to take the risk seriously.

Thanks, JaneEyre, that's exactly the sort of info I desperately need.

iknowimcoming Mon 05-Feb-18 12:29:18

I've never had a problem with people putting things down on it so hard they break and I've had it since my dc were small and they're older clumsy teenagers now, guests never have issues either although I will admit we're not much for crystal glasses or fine china so maybe that's it confused

CanYouHearThePeopleSing Mon 05-Feb-18 12:34:15

We have bamboo - we've had it about 8 years or so. We've probably sanded/oiled it about 5 times in total. It looks as good now as the day it was fitted.

I love the look of it - we're all open plan downstairs, so something which looked 'warm' was important to me. You're right in that you can sand out marks/scratches - it's very easy to do (I do it with a mouse sander, but cold do by hand pretty easily). We don't have any marks around the sink at all, and I reckon it's probably more heat-proof than I give it credit for. I got into the habit of putting things on trivets pretty early on, so don't put hot things on it, but I have a chopping board made from an offcut, and have put hot pans on that with no ill-effects.

The only thing which bugs me is that if you spill anything, you have to wipe it up straight away, otherwise it might mark. BUT - that's mainly because it desperately needs oiling to keep it waterproof. If we oiled it more often, it would be much easier, but I just don't seem to get around to it! It's not an onerous job, and doesn't take that long (even though we've got about 7m of the stuff in total) but I simply don't remember! We also don't leave any washing up to drain on the side for the same reason. 95% of stuff goes in the dishwasher anyway, but we do either tend to just dry up at the same time, or put down a teatowel on the surface and leave wet things on there if we know we're not going to dry straight away. My parents got around this by having a sink unit with a built-in metal drainer (they have the same bamboo tops as us).

I love using it for kneading bread etc. I do sometimes use a pastry mat, but I've had no issues cleaning it after baking.

A couple of other things to note if you do go for bamboo.
Some of it has a different look on each side, so make sure you fit all the pieces the same way up (and choose which side you prefer before cutting).
It's much harder than normal wood, so your fitter will need to make sure they've got the right tools to cut it (and rout it, if you've got corner pieces to join together).

Our clever chippy made the upstands to go round the edge with offcuts (just took 'slices' from a length) - it looks fab. He also made the threshold between the porch and the hall with a leftover piece, plus a breadboard, plus a very clever thing for holding eggs. Bamboo-tastic!

Doublechocolatetiffin Mon 05-Feb-18 12:34:27

We went with silestone, which is quartz based product. It’s brilliant, absolutely bomb proof - doesn’t stain at all and doesn’t need any maintenance.

Lelivre Mon 05-Feb-18 13:14:06

I have corian and got it straight from the fabricator just over a thousand fitted including 1.5 sink and drainer 3 m run and extra deep 1.8m run. It scratches but you can fine sand it not doesn’t chip break things and it tolerates bleach. It’s hygenic and I like that part thus, used in clinics this is the main business for the fabricator.

However I also really like bamboo and it’s cveaper again but once you add the sink and fitting maybe not so much.

bluescreen Thu 08-Feb-18 16:26:05

Thank you, everyone, for your comments. Most grateful for your time and all the suggestions. Much to think about!

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