There are many types of kitchen worktop materials to choose from, but what if you’re after something that requires little maintenance?.
When making the decision on which material to use, it’s important to consider how easy or difficult that material will be to take care of.
In this article, we’re going to cover some of the most popular materials and briefly cover how much effort they require to maintain.
Before we begin, however, it’s worth pointing out that for obvious reasons, whichever worktop you choose is dependent on your lifestyle and aesthetic preferences. So if you want more information on a material and whether it suits your lifestyle, you’re welcome to contact one of our expert designers for an opinion.
When taking budget into account, high-quality laminate can be very durable and require very little maintenance. Laminate features a high-end printed photo image over a substrate made of wood fiber or plastic resin particles held together by an adhesive layer. The whole assembly is covered by a protective laminate layer.
Laminate scores high in resistance because it’s a man-made material that doesn’t absorb stains or scratches easily. It ranks highly in ease of cleaning due to its smooth surface and ability to resist permanent etching from acidic substances.
It’s quite simple to clean a laminate countertop with just soapy water and anti-bacterial spray. Laminate can withstand heat, of just over 270 degrees celcius for short periods. However, care should still be taken by using a trivet to avoid long term damage and fading.
There are reports that laminate (black matte in particular) can show signs of fading after only a year, but generally, laminate countertops are quite durable.
The main upside to laminate is that it’s quite cheap, perhaps one of the cheapest countertop materials available but the main downside is that it’s far from luxurious to the touch in comparison to stone alternatives.
Quartz is a crystallized form of silica that’s heated, cooled and compressed to form quartzite. It has the look and feel of natural stone without the fragility or expensive price tag.
Quartz scores high in resistance to heat, stains and scratches because it is made from nonporous material which means it does not absorb them easily. It also scores well in ease of cleaning because it resists staining as well as etching from acidic substances like wine or vinegar. This quality makes cleaning quick and easy with little risk of damaging the surface.
Quartz is easy to care for and maintain, but it can pose problems under hot pots or pans because it only withstands heat up to 300 degrees celcius. Some quartz surfaces may scratch easily, so be sure to check with your manufacturer before purchase if you want one that will last longer.
If you want to learn more about the pros and cons of quartz, we wrote this article covering the material in more detail.
Silestone (Recycled Glass Countertops)
Ranked as the third-highest material in resistance (even higher than quartz), Silestone is not really a single form of materials, but a family of products made from a mixture of silica minerals and polymers. Its moderate weight makes it rather sturdy on its own without support from other kitchen cabinets.
Silestone scores highly in ease of cleaning because it doesn’t absorb stains very well and does not etch from acidic substances like wine, vinegar, and lemon juice. While it is very hard and does not scratch easily, Silestone can be damaged by sharp objects and high heat (it cannot withstand temperatures higher than 300 degrees celcius).
Silestone has a polished look that will last for years without significant scratches or signs of wear. It’s also practically antimicrobial and resistant to mould, making it an excellent choice for homeowners with active lifestyles.
What about materials that require the most maintenance?
Marble is a porous stone that requires sealing, waxing and general care every year or two. Marble is not recommended for busy homes because it’s vulnerable to stains from wine, coffee, tea, fruit juices and other acidic substances.
Marble also has issues with chipping on its edges or along the countertop seam. If you do choose marble as your kitchen counter material make sure you factor in the cost of regular maintenance over the lifetime of the countertop.
Granite ranks as the most porous of all the kitchen countertop materials, which means it absorbs stains easily and can be difficult to clean.
The granite is high maintenance because it often needs resealing every couple of years depending on wear. With sharp objects, water spots or acidic substances like wine, oils and fruit juices potentially damaging the stone, it requires constant care.
Unsealed Stone Material (in general)
Unsealed stone materials like Indian Sandstone and Soapstone require re-sealing every few years because the natural oils in the stone evaporate over time. When not sealed, unsealed stone can be stained with water spots and other discolourations which makes it hard to clean without professional help.
Need help Deciding?
At Zen Kuchen, we have over 50 years combined craftsmanship knowledge & experience when it comes to designing and fitting kitchens. Our expert designers would be happy to offer an opinion on what might be the ideal countertop for your needs. Simply click here if you’d like to request an appointment with us and we can help you decide on what might be the best kitchen countertop for your needs.