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 –



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 – 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”

2 Examples of Why Design Matters from Debra

Listening to Debra talk about some of her recent projects, I asked her to do another “Why Design Matters” post.  As usual, my comments will be in italics. Here it is:

I’ve done a couple of consultations recently that really made me happy and I’d love to share them with you:

Color Consultation

I finished an exterior color consultation last week for a dear friend.  She bought her darling little place 16 years ago and she has done a ton of work over the years … but she’s never been happy with the brick.

After a big hailstorm last year, she got a new roof. She chose black – and immediately hated it. The roof was lovely. The real problem was that it just didn’t work with the brick. So, she recently decided to take the plunge and paint the brick. Continue reading “2 Examples of Why Design Matters from Debra”

Hildring House – Home is a Haven

Home is a Haven
I’ve tried several times recently to write a post and have been overwhelmed by all the negative things happening in our world. Many of my friends and fellow bloggers have written eloquently about resistance and love …. and I feel as if I have nothing meaningful to add. And I know that, at least for me, when there is so much darkness all around, it is even more important that my home is a haven – a beautiful, safe, and nurturing space. It is from that place of peace and calm that I can go out into the world and try to spread  peace and calm.
kishaniperera room
not Hildring House – from kishaniperera
I keep walking away from my posting attempts thinking to myself: “How can I write about pretty places and sparkly things when there is so much darkness?” But on Sunday I had the opportunity to make things pretty and serve a girly lunch for two of my good friends, and I felt so much lighter.
A Paris Party

Continue reading “Hildring House – Home is a Haven”

Pretty Pictures-not Hildring House (sadly)

I am wishing I had some pretty pictures of Hildring House to show you today … but sadly, nothing new is “finished.” sigh. So let’s look at some pretty pictures not Hildring House.

Bedroom from Amber Interiors
Amber Interiors
Design ADHD

One of the things I love about blogging is the fact that I am encouraged to ‘finish’ things. It’s my deepest darkest secret- I have design ADHD. I get 80 percent finished with a project and in my mind, I can see it as completed. So I just move on to the next thing. Since my “minds eye” does not photograph well, I’m forced to finish things for real if I want to share them with you. This is, in Dan’s opinion, much better than my prior solution of “just sell the house.” That’s how, in the past, I forced myself to finish things: sell the house. That’s pretty motivating.

Dan here – the “sell the house” solution was a great motivator. Debra is a dynamite realtor and she knows what will, in fact, sell the house. The problem – besides moving all the time – is that she would finish things beautifully and we would get to enjoy them for about 10 minutes. My goal for Hildring House is to be able to bask for a while in the comfort of a completed project. Keep following along and root for me, won’t you?

The Mid Century Ranch- an Example of Design ADHD
Mid Century Modern kitchen after
Photo by Trey Freeze
Family Room View One
Photo by Trey Freeze

The two pictures above are house-selling photos of the Mid Century Ranch. Eleventy-seven projects finished 5 minutes before listing photos were taken. This was the first project covered in the blog. While many of those posts don’t display properly – my fault, entirely – you can find a slideshow of the transformation here
Continue reading “Pretty Pictures-not Hildring House (sadly)”