Sitting down to design your dream kitchen can be an exhausting process! There are so many things to consider, that you might feel a little drowned by all the details. One of the major decisions will be the counter top that you plan on installing, as this will have a bearing on other elements in the room.
While there is no shortage of choice in countertop surfaces, we’re going to focus on stone and wood. These two popular surfaces have a range of advantages and disadvantages, but both can be a great kitchen worktop surface.
Meteorus granite worktop (image credit: Ogle UK)
What is your Budget?
Whatever the budget you have set for your new kitchen, the work surfaces, whether low cost or luxury, will inevitably take up a big chunk of this.
Generally the cost scale for woods sits lower than the cost scale for stone, but there is a lot of overlap in the middle (the most expensive wooden worktop will cost you a lot more than a low end stone worktop).
Lower cost wooden worktops will normally have a laminate coating but moving into hard woods there are many choices of timber. With stone, the quarry location and shipping times will be some of the factors that influence cost.
“If you pick a granite that I have imported from Zimbabwe, and it only ships once a year, that can be pretty expensive,” says Jeff Cannata, a prevoius
president of the National Kitchen & Bath Association in the US.
An ash worktop (image credit: Bordercraft)
In terms of fit, both wood and stone can be custom cut to your exact requirements. Little details, like draining grooves, can also be added to both. It is
also quite possible to have the two surfaces in combination with each other, if your budget will allow. Having the main worktop in one material and an
island unit or breakfast bar in another can lead to a more practical space and also be very visually appealing.
Both stone and wood worktops need some maintenance, but at different times and of differing kinds. If you choose a wooden counter then you will have to oil it (your manufacture will recommend an oil) once on installation and then every day for a week after installation. You can avoid inconvenience by doing this last thing at night so the oil is absorbed by morning. After this an oiling once a month is normally sufficient.
Stone worktops come sealed and so need no real maintenance for a year or so, when they will need to be resealed (and then every year after that). You can do this yourself. Dents and scratches in wood, or stains in stone, can normally be dealt with if you act quickly! Ask your manufacture for advice on the best products to use.
Are you having wooden floors or is your house of a particular period? You may find that the choice of worktop is made for you because of the age or design of your home. A rustic farmhouse kitchen might look out of place in a modern small flat.
A farmhouse style kitchen with oak island (image credit: Bordercraft)
Likewise, a super bright contemporary kitchen could also look out of place in a very old building. As we’ve mentioned, mixing and matching is not out of the question. A stone worktop with wooden inlay can look very stylish.
A Contemporary kitchen (image credit: Studio Build)
So, Which Should I Pick?
Of course there’s no straight answer to this because every home and every space within that home is different. Both stone and wood make practical and stunning counter tops when placed into the right kitchen. Of course it’s important to remember to think about what you use your kitchen space for as well as how it looks. A hybrid of both can work well and also be quite a practical solution. Don’t be afraid to ask family and friends about what they think of their own wood or stone surfaces.
About the Author:
Jon Buck has been managing director at Bordercraft since 1996. Bordercraft are a family owned business and have
been producing fine hardwood furniture from their workshops in the Welsh borders since 1972. All of the timbers they use are sourced from sustainable managed forests and everything they sell is made by their experienced craftsmen in the UK.