As well as providing a practical surface on which to prepare food, worktops have a very big impact on the overall look and feel of the kitchen. Taking up such a large expanse of space, the eye is naturally drawn to the work surface and of course it is always on show, so it is important that it is chosen with both its looks and its practical advantages in mind. Engineered quartz worktops are increasingly gaining popularity amongst designers and homeowners due to their outstanding qualities. Quartz is an incredibly strong material that easily withstands the wear-and-tear that comes with modern living and is practically maintenance free. Best of all, from an aesthetic perspective, it is possible to choose from a broad selection of colours and textures to find the perfect design solution for the home.
Hard at work
First and foremost, it is crucial that the work surface chosen for the kitchen is hard-wearing and able to withstand the general wear-and-tear of day-to-day life. With food preparation being a primary use, hygiene and ease of cleaning is key. A non-porous material, such as quartz is particularly suited to this environment, as it is designed specifically to offer a hygienic solution for moist and humid surroundings. Resistant to mildew, and thus to mould and bacteria, quartz is simple to keep clean and germ-free. Even if the environment is damp microbes and the like cannot breed, helping to significantly reduce the spread of potential viruses and illnesses.
While materials such as marble and granite are popular options for contemporary and classic kitchen design, they can be difficult to maintain, requiring the use of special cleaning agents to keep them germ-free and will need to be resealed over time. Quartz, on the other hand, requires minimal maintenance to keep it looking as good as new and won’t need to be resealed. In fact, the hard, non-penetrable surface is simple to clean with just soap and water or a mild detergent.
Materials such as granite, stone and wood, while all popular options for kitchen surfaces, can be difficult and costly to repair should they get chipped or scratched. Again, quartz is a hard-wearing alternative, offering up to four times the strength, while being highly resistant to stains, scratches and cracks. Quartz worktops also shrug off most household chemicals so they won’t be damaged by an accidental spill and can even handle direct heat up to 150°.
Practicalities to one side, selecting kitchen work surfaces is as much about creating the right statement in terms of style, depending on the overall design of the space. Rather than simply looking like a cheaper alternative to the real thing, a high quality quartz surface emulates the look and feel of materials such as granite and marble, offering the best of both worlds.
A quartz work surface enables the latest trends in kitchen design to be introduced, with dozens of colours available, as well as a wide choice of styles and various thicknesses and edging profiles.
In the contemporary setting, simple minimalist surfaces work well with solid colours offering contrast to cabinetry and sleek edge profiles adding to the modern appearance of furniture and appliances.
There is a trend too towards combining complementary or contrasting colours and worktop thicknesses, particularly in larger, open-plan spaces in order to define zones for cooking, eating and socialising. Being available in a wide range of colour choices and various thicknesses, quartz worktops lend themselves to this look, while for added practicality enable clever design features such as soft ridge edging to prevent water spillages, or the combination of a thin surface on a bank of cabinets with a chunky worktop on an island unit to add definition. Where thick work surfaces were once the norm, super-slim worktops are the hottest look in kitchen design, with profiles as slim as 15mm helping to achieve a simple, minimalist finish.
The trend for uninterrupted flows of surfacing from the horizontal into the vertical also continues apace, with seamless, ‘one-piece’ looks working well from the work surface to sinks and splashbacks and similarly to cabinet ends and island unit sides. With such a look though, consistency in the detail of the surface is key, something that is virtually impossible to achieve with materials such as marble, making quartz surfaces which emulate the look of marble once again being a suitable alternative.
With worktops making such a big impact visually on a kitchen’s design, choosing a surface that successfully combines form with function while tapping into current trends will give long-lasting results.