Kitchen Countertops Ideas 2021 On a Budget
Worktops in the kitchen have to face many challenges – from hot pots to splashing water to sharp kitchen knives. Read here which materials are best suited and how to maintain the worktop. Plus: What you need to know if you want to buy a granite kitchen.
In this article
- Kitchen worktop materials
- Natural stone: granite, marble and slate
- Kitchen worktops made of wood
- Quartz composites
- Plastic (laminate, laminate)
- Ceramic countertops
- Kitchen worktops made of stainless steel
Kitchen worktops should be sturdy and heat-resistant, resistant to moisture and stains, and easy to clean. So far, so obvious. But that’s not all you should look for in a new worktop for the kitchen . In most kitchens, the worktop is still between the sink and the hob. There is never really much space. The AMK (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Die Moderne Küche eV) recommends a minimum width of 90 cm between the hob and sink “and a worktop depth of at least 60 cm so that all kitchen work can be done smoothly.” Of course, more is always possible, ideally it shouldn’t be less , “especially since sufficient additional storage space should always be included; for example for frequently used cups and glasses or for favorite herbs, spices and oils that are used every day, ”says the AMK.
Worktops not only have a practical function, they also play a key role in determining the look of the kitchen. Decors and materials should match the kitchen furnishings and are therefore important factors when choosing the right worktop.
Kitchen worktop materials
A concrete worktop with its rough surface brings loft charm to the kitchen and is also scratch-resistant. However, the material is very heavy and therefore only suitable for stable substructures.
Protection and maintenance: With worktops made of concrete, it makes sense to sand and polish the surface, as this closes the pores of the material, making it easier to clean. In addition, you protect the material by sealing it with oil or natural wax, but you have to refresh this treatment more often. A synthetic seal, on the other hand, permanently protects against stains – even grease and coarse dirt can then no longer harm the plate. However, this makes the concrete less rough and gives it a softer feel.
Kitchen worktops made of concrete
- convey loft charm
- are scratch resistant
- very difficult
- synthetic sealing permanently protects against stains
Concrete worktops such as those from Villarocca are well prepared for scratches.
Natural stone: granite, marble and slate
When it comes to worktops made of natural stone, you have the choice between granite , marble and slate – stones that look noble and offer an individual surface pattern and a large selection of colors , but they also have their price. If you want to buy a granite kitchen, you have to calculate about 250 euros per meter for a worktop. A big advantage: natural stones are insensitive to heat, cuts and scratches, and water is usually not able to harm them either.
Particularly robust: granite. It can withstand temperatures of up to 600 degrees and is particularly resistant to stains and scratches. In addition, the smooth surface of the stone is very easy to clean.
Marble is somewhat softer, more susceptible to scratches and other damage, and also more sensitive to stains, since it absorbs liquid more easily and is also more sensitive to acid than granite.
Even slate cannot match the hardness of granite and is susceptible to scratches. Sometimes pieces can even burst out of the material. Usually slate is broken and not sanded, which creates an uneven surface – impractical for handling with cutting boards.
When choosing the decor, you should make sure that natural stone in black and gray can look very cool, especially in small kitchens and thick worktops, while fine-patterned granite slabs with many colors quickly cause unrest.
Not so well known, but more and more popular with kitchen worktops made of natural stone: K-Proof . It is an impregnation process that was presented for the first time at the “Living Kitchen” trade fair in Cologne in 2017 and was specially developed for quartzites. The advantage over other kitchen worktops made of natural stone: worktops worked with K-Proof only have to be impregnated once, and never afterwards – high heat resistance, impact and scratch resistance as well as easy cleaning and particularly stain-resistant properties against foods such as oil, wine, Vinegar and coffee included. In addition, worktops worked with K-Proof are not as dominant in design and score with calm and light structure.
Protection and care: All natural stones are sensitive to acids and therefore get stains quickly from fruit, for example. You should therefore also use acid-free cleaners to clean the surface – the best are special cleaning agents for natural stones. Natural stones absorb liquids quickly, so oil and water stains should be removed quickly. If you want to protect yourself against stains, you can impregnate the plate with natural stone care.
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Kitchen worktops made of natural stone
- look noble
- insensitive to heat, cuts and scratches (especially granite)
- are sensitive to acids
- Natural stone care protects against stains
Kitchen Worktops Made of Wood
Wood brings naturalness into the kitchen, warms optically and creates a homely atmosphere. However, even hard types of wood are not too robust, heavy pots can make dents, kitchen knives and other sharp-edged objects. Bacteria can collect in the cracks. Therefore: Never cut directly on the worktop. Wood is only partially resistant to heat, hot pots quickly leave discolorations or even burn marks. The material is also prone to stains and swells quickly when moisture penetrates. You can protect yourself against this by sealing all the joints well – especially those around the sink and hob.
Protection and maintenance: In order to make the natural material more durable, you can either impregnate it with oil or seal it with a special varnish, the latter taking away the natural feel of the material and the resulting gloss effect also makes the wood look less natural. If the work surface is oiled, the protection should be replaced regularly so that the wood remains beautiful. Oiled wood has the advantage that it can be easily sanded off in the event of stains and minor damage – also an advantage over work surfaces made of other materials.
- warm optically
- comparatively cheap
- not scratch and impact resistant
- swell in moisture
- must be painted or oiled more often
Corian is an artificial stone that consists largely of the mineral aluminum hydroxide and acrylic resin and is characterized by a silky surface. The material is poured into the form and can be used in a variety of ways – for example in the form of a worktop that merges seamlessly into the sink. Although Corian is harder than wood, kitchen boards should always be used for cutting on Corian worktops, otherwise scratches will occur on the surface. Corian is also only resistant to heat for a short time, hot pots and pans must not be placed on the worktop. Corian is available in more than 100 colors and can also be made translucent – ideal for everyone who wants to play with lighting effects in their kitchen.
Protection and care: Corian is not porous, which is why it is not necessary to seal the surface of the worktop. The material is also very easy to care for. To keep the surface beautiful for a long time, remove liquids and grease with a damp cloth and a mild detergent and water – ammonia-based cleaners, mild abrasive milk or conventional household cleaners are suitable.
- seamless processing possible
- sensitive to scratches and heat
- does not have to be sealed
- easy care
- translucent decors available
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Quartz composites such as Zodiaq or Silestone consist of 93 percent quartz, which is supplemented by dyes and decorative materials such as glass or mirror pieces and combined with acrylic resin to form sheets. Quartz composites can be produced in many different decors. Due to the high quartz content, the material is very scratch-resistant, so that knives on the worktop can normally not do any damage. Because quartz composites are not porous, liquids and germs do not penetrate the worktop – very beneficial for kitchen hygiene. Although the material is heat-resistant, hot cookware should not be placed directly on the worktop, as irreparable damage to the surface can occur at very high temperatures.
Protection and maintenance: In contrast to natural stone, impregnating agents must not be applied to quartz composite worktops, as these remain on the surface and form stains there. Never use aggressive agents such as drain or oven cleaners for cleaning. Hydrofluoric acid, caustic soda or paint removers are also harmful to the material – just like alkaline cleaning agents with a pH value higher than ten.
Quartz composite worktops
- very scratch and stain resistant
- conditionally heat-resistant
- extremely hygienic
- must not be impregnated
A reflective glass surface in the kitchen with its translucent look matches a modern interior style. Glass is very heat-resistant, but the material is susceptible to scratches. Water stains and grease can be seen quickly on the translucent surface, which is why a glass worktop is very maintenance-intensive.
Countertops made of glass
- very heat resistant
- susceptible to scratches and stains
- relative expensive
Plastic (laminate, laminate)
Easy care, harder than wood and inexpensive – these are the advantages of plastic worktops. However, you should never cut directly on a plastic worktop as this will destroy the surface. Plastic worktops are sensitive to heat – be sure to use a mat. In the case of plastic worktops, there is usually pressed chipboard under the top layer of plastic, so make sure that no water builds up at the joints of the worktop, as the wood can swell if moisture penetrates the worktop. Plastic worktops are available in many different decors.
- easy care
- sensitive to standing moisture (swelling damage)
Worktop made of “Dekton”: Thanks to the manufacturing method, it is so hard that you can also cut on it.
The material “Dekton” occupies a special position among the kitchen worktops because it cannot be compared to any other new material such as Corian or quartz composites. Dekton is manufactured exclusively by the company Cosentino. Raw materials, such as those used in the manufacture of glass or porcelain surfaces, are initially cold pressed with 25,000 tons. Then these plates are sintered in the furnace – which is equivalent to “baking” the plates. A subsequent polishing process ensures closed surfaces that neither heat nor sharp objects can touch. Dekton worktops are also protected against stains, UV light and water. The material is available in thicknesses from 0.8 to 3 cm and has both plain and individual optics such as wood.
Protection and care: Due to the production of Dekton, the surface of the material is extremely dense, robust and resistant. Targeted care is therefore not necessary. However, you should not rub the surface with a metal sponge if the surface has been given a high-gloss finish (“XGloss” series). The dense surface would be roughened again with the sponge. The shine could disappear.
Dekton kitchen worktops
- insensitive to heat and scratches
- available in different decors and thicknesses
- also tolerates moisture
- middle to upper price segment
Ceramic is similar to granite because of its composition of sand, feldspar, clay and mineral oxides, but it is an artificially produced stone that is fired under pressure and high temperatures. Ceramic worktops are more robust than those made of granite and are particularly scratch and heat resistant. Ceramic is insensitive to acids and stain resistant, because the material absorbs practically no liquids due to its closed surface. For this reason, the material is extremely hygienic. Ceramics can be produced in very thin plates and therefore appear very light. In addition, the material is available in many colors and patterns, making it compatible with many kitchen furnishings. However, a ceramic plate is comparatively expensive.
Protection and care: Ceramics are particularly easy to care for and can be cleaned with all common means. Since the material is resistant to chemicals, acidic cleaning agents can also be used for cleaning.
- particularly robust and heat-resistant
- insensitive to acids and stain resistant
- easy care
- relative expensive
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Kitchen Worktops Made of Stainless Steel
Stainless steel worktops are often used in industrial kitchens because they are hygienic and very heat-resistant. However, they are susceptible to scratches and water, grease and other liquids quickly leave marks. In a standard kitchen, where aesthetics play a role as well as functionality, this is a disadvantage.
Protection and care: Stainless steel worktops can be cleaned with soapy water, but there are also special stainless steel cleaners. Minor scratches are removed with scouring milk.
Stainless steel worktops
- heat-resistant and hygienic
- susceptible to scratches and stains
- middle price segment
We hop this article brings a lot of value to your search in best cheap kitchen worktops of 2021.