Help! Which work top should I select?

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Part One

Often the choice of your new kitchen work top is a difficult decision. Over the next few weeks Helen Heslop of Le Studio des Artisans explains some of the pros and cons of each work top material.

There is no right or wrong answer. At the end of the day it comes down to personal style and budget considerations. The good news is that with new technology there are beautiful options for all budgets.

LAMINATE

Laminate work tops are made from high density chipboard, plywood or MDF and coated in a plastic laminate.

In French they are called “stratifié”.

Laminate is often considered the budget alternative to luxury surfaces such as granite. Often it gets a bad reputation for poor quality. However, check out the new generation of compact high-pressure laminate. They now come in a large range of finishes, thicknesses, and shapes.

It is now possible to get laminates that imitate beech, oak, granite or marble.

Under mounted sinks such as Belfast sinks that were not possible to use with the older generation of laminates are now possible with the high pressure compact ranges.

Advantages

Very affordable

Hygienic and easy to clean

Easy to fit and even lends itself to DIY fitting

Wide range of colours, finishes, styles, shapes and thicknesses – the new composites come in 12mm thickness so you can achieve the same look as ultra- thin quartz for a fraction of the price.

Disadvantages

Beware of the cheaper laminates. They will scratch and scorch. The best test is to run the edge of a coin on the surface of the laminate. If it’s a good quality, it will not mark.

Although highly scratch, stain & heat resistant, just like all other types of worktops, it is not advised to cut or place very hot pans directly on laminate. Chopping boards or pan protections should always be used to protect the surface from potential damage.

Can be damaged by water.

Our favourite brand is Fidelem.

Next week – wooden work tops.

You can see more from Studio des Artisans here, or contact Helen Heslop here.