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 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 –


The Unfitted Kitchen – a Guest Post by Debra

Debra is back with another guest post – this one dealing with the unfitted kitchen that occupied quite a bit of the last post. As always, if I have comments (and you know I won’t be able to help myself), they’ll be in italics.  –Dan

Hello Everyone- Debra here. So Dan comes home today and tells me that no one has ever heard of an unfitted kitchen! I had to do a quick web check to be certain I had not accidentally made it up (I do suffer from the occasional bout of making things up –occasional?). But luckily, this time I have not done so!

Here’s how our unfitted kitchen came about- in addition to being a remodeloholic, I’m also an anglophile. I fell in love many years ago with British decor and I have long paid ridiculous amounts of money to get the British decorating magazines. Which is how I became familiar with the term and the concept of an “unfitted kitchen.”

The term ‘unfitted’ means freestanding or independent and is an English term that contrasts to the term ‘fitted kitchen’ which refers to a kitchen that is created with continuous bands of cabinetry and counter tops. Fitted kitchens are far more common in the US.

Devol Kitchens
Devol Kitchens

This one is more like ours – a “partially fitted” kitchen. From a cabinet maker in the UK – check out their website (devolkitchens.co.uk) – they make lovely things …. and I’m sure they’d ship for a small (right) fee. Continue reading “The Unfitted Kitchen – a Guest Post by Debra”

Progress at Hildring House – Of Grass and Knobs and Unfitted Kitchens

While we were in Spain, things progressed at Hildring House – evidenced by grass, knobs, and the unfitted kitchen. This phase of the renovation is nearing an end (please!) and it’s turning out well, we think. Right before we left, the grey decomposed granite had gone down in the sitting area out front

Crushed gravel sitting areaand some staking had been done in the area of the screening bed:

Bare dirtAnd now for the progress:


Sod is down

sitting area with sodwe put in the first couple of many, many more plants to come

Front bed
Effie surveying the yard

Continue reading “Progress at Hildring House – Of Grass and Knobs and Unfitted Kitchens”

Hildring House – Still Turning That Corner or Mud On the Walls, Baby!

This is going to be a picture-heavy post. I’m confident that you’ll get a feel for how the spaces are shaping up. But first to discharge my Debra-imposed Pretty Picture duty, let’s continue with the Texas Gardens theme that I started last time. This shot is from a house museum/garden in Weatherford, Texas called Chandor Gardens. It’s a lovely spot.


And it’s kind of a secret. Shouldn’t be, though. If you’re ever in the Weatherford area, try to check it out. Now, on to Hildring House! Continue reading “Hildring House – Still Turning That Corner or Mud On the Walls, Baby!”

Hildring House – Stuff is Happenin'

I love architectural contrast. Since Debra has decreed at least two “pretty” pics per post, I’ll use some of that contrast for the first one. This shot is – obviously, because of the iconic CN Tower on the left – in Toronto, taken from the the St. Lawrence Market area looking back downtown.


Now, let’s see what’s going on at Hildring House –

Continue reading “Hildring House – Stuff is Happenin'”