A Guide to Buying Kitchen Worktops – Guest Post from Trade Up Kitchens

Our friend John Stuart over at Trade Up Kitchens – a UK-based kitchen supply company – has a guest post for us: “A Guide to Buying Kitchen Worktops.” For those of us in the US, a “kitchen worktop” is a counter top. Actually, “worktop” makes more sense, doesn’t it? In any event, here it is. I hope you enjoy it!

Buying Kitchen Worktops

Your choice of kitchen worktops will dramatically affect the whole aesthetic of your kitchen. Choosing your kitchen worktop is one aspect which should never be overlooked during the design process. Similar to your flooring, your kitchen worktops sit on a horizontal plane, making it a prominent feature in your kitchen.  With so many options available, choosing your kitchen worktop can seem like an impossible task but our guide is on hand to help you find the best option for you.

Granite Worktop
Photo – Trade Up Kitchens

Before choosing your kitchen worktop, it’s important to consider two things:

Your budget

Worktops come in a variety of materials, all at differing price points. Before you decide on a material for your kitchen worktop, it’s important to assess your budget – this will dramatically influence your choice of worktop.

Your lifestyle

If you’re choosing kitchen worktops for a student house or you’ve got a house full of children, then you’ll need to consider a sturdy, low-maintenance worktop. Alternatively, if you’re likely to clean up any spills immediately and don’t mind dedicating a little time to its maintenance, then you’ve got a few more options when it comes to kitchen worktops.  

After you’ve taken these two things into consideration, you’ve got to choose from the following kitchen worktops:


Laminate is often considered to be the most budget-friendly material kitchen worktops. These worktops are available in a wide variety of colours and designs, so you’re sure to be able to find the perfect laminate to fit with your current kitchen decor. Laminates are also non-porous and easy to clean and maintain, making them one of the most child-friendly options.

Pros :

  • Easy to maintain
  • Budget-friendly
  • Available in a range of styles
  • Easy to fit without a professional


  • Particularly susceptible to water damage due to timber joints
  • Not resistant to heat or steam

Granite worktops are a fashionable choice of kitchen worktop due to its luxurious appearance, which can often become the focal point of the room. Strong, functional and durable, granite worktops are one of the most logical choices of kitchen worktops – if your budget will allow. Granite worktops are also a popular choice among keen cooks and bakers as its cold surface offers the ideal setting for pastry making, among other things.

Pros :

  • Not susceptible to scratches
  • Heat resistant
  • Long-lasting and not susceptible to stains if sealed correctly
  • Resistant to chemicals


  • Can be stained easily if poorly sealed
  • Can harbour bacteria if it’s not sealed properly
  • Needs sealing on a regular basis
  • Susceptible to chips
  • Not as budget-friendly as some other options
Wood Worktop
Photo – Trade Up Kitchens

A solid wood worktop can truly transform your kitchen. Whether you’ve currently got a contemporary or traditional kitchen – a wooden worktop will seamlessly blend with your current decor. Even as it ages, wooden worktops still look incredibly warm and full of character. Some popular choices of wood for worktops include; oak, walnut and beech.

Pros :

  • Can be sanded down for maintenance
  • Warm, inviting appearance
  • Each piece of wood is unique
  • Naturally anti-bacterial


  • Needs to be oiled regularly (every 12 weeks)
  • Extremely susceptible to water damage
  • Prone to staining
  • Vulnerable to scratches (especially on surfaces used for chopping)

Glass kitchen worktops can add a chic, contemporary feel to your kitchen. A glass worktop offers a sleek, glossy and stylish finish and can make a small kitchen feel larger due to its reflective surface. Available in a huge range of different colours and designs, glass worktops can help you to truly customise your kitchen.

Pros :

  • Extremely hygienic
  • Durable
  • Heat and water resistant
  • Scratch proof
  • Versatile
  • Highly customisable


  • Visible joints
  • Expensive to repair
  • Not resistant to cracks and chips
Stainless Steel

Most commonly used in professional kitchens, stainless steel kitchen worktops offer many benefits. They’re best suited to professional kitchens due to the fact that they’re highly resilient and extremely hygienic. Similar to glass, stainless steel can create the appearance of a larger, brighter kitchen – especially with the use of strategically-placed lights.

Pros :

  • Waterproof
  • Hygienic
  • Heat resistant
  • Acid resistant
  • Low maintenance


  • Prone to scratches
  • Susceptible to dents
  • Can create a cold, uninviting room

(Dan here – I can’t resist an editorial comment. You may remember that in Debra’s unfitted kitchen at Hildring House, we have two stainless steel worktables on either side of the range, in place of counters. We love them. You can revisit those posts here [the DesignSponge post] and here. The picture below is from our photoshoot by the wonderful Amber Shumake.)

Hildring House Steel Worktable1
Photo by Amber Shumake Creative
Solid Surface

Solid surface worktops are perfect for creating smooth, fluid shapes which can be customised according to your preference. These worktops are made from a combination of acrylic resin and natural minerals, which is what makes them so customisable.

Pros :

  • Hygienic
  • Non-porous
  • Easy to clean
  • Can be tailored to your tastes
  • Waterproof
  • Damage can be easily maintained


  • Won’t suit a more traditional kitchen
  • Can be more pricey than other materials
  • Will easily collect scratches and marks over time
  • Not resistant to heat

Quartz kitchen worktops are made from a man-made granite and offer an array of benefits. They are highly customisable as they’re available in a variety of styles and colours to suit any style of kitchen, although they’re better suited to a more contemporary-style kitchen. As it is non-porous, Quartz is extremely hygienic, stain resistant and scratch resistant, although it can be easily damaged by heat.

Pros :

  • Durable
  • Scratch proof
  • Low maintenance
  • Highly customisable
  • Non-porous
  • Hygienic


  • Not resistant to heat
  • Can be expensive when compared to other materials
  • Won’t fit with a traditional-style kitchen

Choosing your kitchen worktop is an exciting process, but a huge investment. Take your time choosing your worktop to ensure you find the perfect worktop to suit your needs.

About the author: Trade up kitchens is a family-run kitchen supplier, providing all types of kitchenware including work surfaces, accessories, units and furniture to name just a few. They are passionate about providing their customers with the best possible prices to help them to create their dream kitchen.


So…there you have it. Many thanks to John Stuart from Tradeup Kitchens for this guest post on “kitchen worktops.” Go take a look at their site – they do wonderful work. I know that some of With the Barretts’ readers live in the UK. If you’re in the market for a new worktop, give them a try. 

Many, many thanks for reading. We love having you along With the Barretts!

Here’s hoping that your Holiday Season is safe, peaceful, and memorable in the best of ways – brimming with joy!

Best –



Hildring House Exterior Improvements – In Progress

Any home renovation project should involve exterior improvements, as well as snazzing up the interior, and Hildring House is no exception. Just to refresh your recollection, here is a shot of the exterior when we first bought the house:

Exterior before

Beginning of Exterior Improvements

We started with a new roof. And that required more destruction than you ordinarily would expect. You can’t really tell it in the above picture, but the shingles are metal, made to look like shake. I really don’t know how long they had been on the house but clearly it had been through multiple hailstorms. They were really beat up.

The worst part of the roofing situation, however, was that the fascia and underside of the eaves were clad with aluminum siding. I’m probably going to get nasty letters from the siding industry but, please, never do this to your house. I understand all of the arguments about it eliminating the need to paint. But the cost for that is deterioration of the wooden elements of the structure.

Rotted eave structure
Rotted eave structure

No matter how careful the installers are, no matter how much caulk they use, water will get under the metal and sit, unable to dry, rotting out the wood. Until you have this.

As the roof and cladding came off, an old pergola out back had to come down – it was in almost as bad shape as the rotted eaves. Here’s what the back looked like during demo of the metal and bad wood: Continue reading “Hildring House Exterior Improvements – In Progress”

The Barretts at Hildring House – Giving Thanks Lagniappe

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so I thought it would be appropriate to do a little giving thanks lagniappe post – about this wonderful adventure of life that I’m lucky enough to share with Debra. While Hildring House is a long way from finished, it’s becoming more and more comfortable. The other day, our dear friend and fabulous photographer  Amber Shumake came over with her adorable baby boy. She shot some pictures of us in situ, so to speak, and I’d like to share them with you. All of the pics in this post are by her.

Dan & Debra - with Effie - in the Library
Debra, Effie, & Dan
Effie in the Middle

If you’ve followed us at all, you know that Effie absolutely must be in the center of things. This day was no different. Just look at that face in these pictures! Continue reading “The Barretts at Hildring House – Giving Thanks Lagniappe”

The First Thing – Entryway Renovation – Hildring House

It’s the first thing you see when you come in the house – as a guest, that is. In this post, Debra talks about the entryway renovation at Hildring House. It has been through several iterations and, I have a feeling, isn’t done yet. But it’s miles better than it was. Here we go:


Let’s start with some entries that I admire:


At Hildring House, we enter from the back- our garage is in back, and we are lucky enough to have a small entry hall at the garage entrance… Someday I’ll show it to you, but, very much like the front entrance, it has gone through a lot of changes and I’ve not hit on the “perfect” arrangement as of yet. Today, I’m going to show you the many versions of the front entry. Continue reading “The First Thing – Entryway Renovation – Hildring House”

Hildring House Kitchen on DesignSponge!

Our (well, Debra’s) Hildring House kitchen is featured on Design Sponge’s Before and After. Go take a look!

Hildring House Kitchen
Photo by Amber Shumake

Just in case you missed the link, find it here.

And the adventures continue!

Best –


Hildring House – Mastering the Master Bedroom

Hildring House Master Bedroom

I’m pretty sure I did a post way back there somewhere about the sad state of our master bedroom…. and because this is real life (as opposed to HGTV) it is still in a ‘not ready for photos’ state. There has been progress, and I’ll show you some snippets and the “plan.” Keeping in mind that all “plans” are a moving target around here! Dan here – in italics, as usual – “plans” around here change right up until the minute you drive the nail. And sometimes after. But the results usually are so good that I really can’t complain.

Inspiration photos (not Hildring House)

Continue reading “Hildring House – Mastering the Master Bedroom”