Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Concrete Worktops | Concrete Worktop

Concrete is used in far more than just building constuction these days. It's also now used to make solid surface kitchen worktops. Concrete worktops are taking the kitchen design industry by storm due to a combination of versatility and aesthetics.

The characterisitcs of concrete mean that it can be worked and moulded into any number of shapes, sizes and designs. The benefits of concrete worktops are many, and homeowners who have concrete worktopstops in their kitchens find it almost impossible to differentiate from other solid surface materials favoured by kitchen designers.



There are a number of looks that concrete worktops can take as a result of different colourings, aggregates and finshes.

Marbled: Using different pigments and creation techniques, concrete worktop fabricators can take concrete and make it almost indistinguishable from granite. The look is sealed in.

Trowel: Resulting a heavier textured surface than most worktops, this finish is one that many enjoy for its tactile, natural looking appearance.

Terrazzo: By adding glass shards or granite concrete worktoptops can acquire a variety of different looks in terrazzo. This add an extra dimension of lustre to the worktopstops.

Other things buyers should consider before purchasing concrete worktops include:

A Concrete worktopstops must be sealed to ensure staining and other damage are avoided. When a sealer is applied, the worktopstops can resist all sorts of problems. There are however things that can compromise the sealant, so it's important to make sure the job is done correctly and the wotktop is adequately protected from damage. The rules associated with concrete care aren't much different than most other solid surface worktops providing this stage is correctly carried out.

B While some worktops are meant to be cut on directly, concrete is not one of them. While the concrete can handle direct cutting, the sealant cannot. When cutting is done directly on the concrete worktop it damages the sealant which could lead to stain problems at a later date.

C Heat issues. As before the concrete itself can take the punishment, but the sealant might not. Therefore it's recommended that hot pans and bowls not be placed directly on the worktops. Just like working with Corian or other similar solid surfaces direct heat is worth avoiding to protect the longevity of the product.

Delivering remarkable beauty, concret worktops have much aesthetic appeal. It's very difficult for anyone who doesn't know what they're made of to tell by appearance. When properly made the designs can be simply fantastic.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Glass Worktops Features and Benefits

Glass is not usually the first material homeowners tend to think of when it comes to solid surface worktops although it's popularity is on the rise. Glass worktops have been widely used in the commercial sector for many years especially in hotel lobbys and reception areas where it's sleek, expensive appearance fits with the image the business is trying to portray - think art deco cruise liners through to modern minimilist hotels.



Modern production methods mean that toughened glass is now a viable choice for kitchen worktops in the domestic market. Read on for more information on the features and benefits of glass worktops.

A; When low iron glass is used in the manufacture of glass worktops the green tinge that comes with ordinary glass is eliminated meaning that your colour choice is unadulterated. Glass worktops are available in thousands of colours.

B; As with other solid surface worktops the best option is to have a template made of the area you want the glass worktops to cover. The glass is then cut and heat hardened producing a very tough worksurface.

C; Undermount sinks are generally used with glass worktops and you can have drainer grooves cut into the surface of the worktop.

D; Glass worktops tend to be 19mm thick resulting in a sleek, clean modern look. Because of the relative thinness of the worktops compared to other solid surfaces some thought should be given to the type of hob used and potential plumbing issues in the sink base.

E: Often homeowners or kitchen designers who choose glass worktops also have glass splashbacks made in the same or contrasting coloured glass. All of the above applies to glass splashbacks except that they are normally 6mm thick. They can also be templated to get a good fit around plug sockets, light switches and the like.

F: Glass worktops are relitively maintenance free, hygenic and easy to keep clean.

So if you are thinking of a solid surface worktop the perhaps glass might be a consideration for you especially if worktop colour is a primary concern in your kitchen design.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Granite Worktops Buying Guide

Granite, limestone and marble have been used in buildings for thousands of years. The Ancient Egyptians were on of the first to utalise stone in their construction of buildings and monuments.



Granite is an igneous rock formed as a result of volcanic acticity. Minerals trapped within the rock, mainly quartz, feldspar and mica, are what causes granite to glisten. Consistent granite has a uniform pattern running right the way through it whilst variagated has a labyrinth of colour veins in it's composition which means it hard to match seperate pieces of granite but does create a unique and aesthetic pleasing result.

For homebuyers, and homeowners who are replacing their existing kitchen, granite worktops are often high on their list of priorities. For some people the attraction of granite is that it's a natural product and no two pieces are exactly the same. It is quarried all over the world, cut using diamond tipped tools and then polished to a high lustre finish.

What should buyers of granite worktops be aware of?

Spend some time finding a quality solid surface provider or stonemason. The quality of granite worktops can vary significantly depending on the country of origin and the quarrying methods used. The depth, cut and colour of the stone, the extent to which pitting in the surface has been filled with material other than granite, how the granite has been fabricated and whether it's been sealed or not are all worth investigating.

There will be a difference in price depending on the properties of the granite used in the worktop, for instance some stones are harder than others therefore more expensive to cut and fabricate. There will also be a price differential between having your granite worktops templated, cut and fabricated from a slab verses using a company that buys precut granite blanks, often from India or China, and then cut them to fit on site. in the world of granite worktops the old saying "you get what you pay for" is a truism.

Granite is sold in different price bands. Granite worktop prices are regulated by supply and demand and a factor known as "commercial quality." A slab of granite will be priced according to its country of origin, it's veining,the thickness and density of the stone and it's rarity.

Granite worktops, like other solid surface worktops, are not cheap so it makes sense for prospective purchasers to undertake some reasearch just as you would when puchasing, say, a new car.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Corian Worktops Features and Benefits

Brought to market by DuPont in 1967, Corian has been used for kitchen worktops ever since. Popular with homeowners because of the option to have a seamless integral sink and drainer, limitless shaping capabilities and consistant colour and pattern, the material is widely used in the kitchen design industry. Homeowners thinking about Corian worktops for their kitchen would be wise to consider the materials properties and maintenance as part of their decision process.



What is Corian?

Corian is a solid surface material manufactured from alumina trihydrate and acrylic polymer. When Corian is heated to 148 degrees centigrade, it can be worked and moulded into worksurfaces, shower cubicles, chairs, sinks and a myriad of other items of furniture. Colour runs all the way through Corian therefore chips and scratches can be polished out.

Because Corian can be moulded, worktops have no visible joins and sinks can be integrated into the worktop. Corian worktops can be produced in any depth from 13mm to 45mm or more.At 13mm considerations about how appliances like hobs will be supported come into play. Corian worktop profiles can be produced in more than 10 different styles, allowing the material to suit any kitchen design.

Corian worktop features and benefits

Corian is non-porous therefore it won't absorb moisture and is resistant to mildew, mould or germs. Corian worktops are ideal sanitary surface for food preparation in kitchens. The integrated sink, splashback and seamless surface allows kitchen users to quickly and easily clean the worktop, without food detrius getting caught in joins, under the sink rim or between the worktop and the kitchen wall.

The colours of Corian are consistent which means your chosen worktop, when installed, will exactly match the colour of the sample. Solid coloured Corian worktops, such as designer white, or bone are available for kitchen buyers who want a completely neutral worktop, while other colours and pallets are available mimic that look like stone or other worktop materials but without variation in colour or texture. There are some colours of Corian that are not suitable for use in kitchens so it is wise to stick to the approved list of kitchen colours as recommended by Dupont.

Providing you worktops are fabricated by a Dupont registered fabricator they will come with a 10 year guarantee. With proper care Corian worktops will give kitchen users many years of good service. Light scratches and marks can be polished out by the worktop owner, more substantial damage will require repair by a fabricator and in nearly all cases traces of the repair would not be visible once completed. Go here to see more information on how to care for your Corian worktops.

When choosing a kitchen worktop, it's important to consider function, style, cost and maintenance of the worktop to make an informed decision. Whether Corian is the right choice for your solid surface worktop will depend on all four.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Silestone quartz worktops features and benefits.

Silestone is one of the leading brands of quartz worktops manufactured by Cosentino. The worktops are man-made, but look similar to natural stone kitchen worktops like granite. Manufactured using a combination of quartz, binding resin and pigments the outcome is a kitchen worktop that's beautiful and long lasting. Silestone worktops are a high-end product and reasonably expensive.



What are the benefits of a Silestone kitchen worktop and why should you consider using one in your kitchen?

A: Quartz is a very hard material, number 7 on the Mohs hardness scale, diamonds are top at 10. Consequently it's difficult to damage Silestone worktops, they are highly scratch and heat resistant. That said it's still wise to use chopping board when preparing food and trivets for hot pans.

B: Quartz worktops are sometimes likened to granite worktopstops, but there are clear differences between them. Silestone worktops are more uniform in pattern and colour because they are a manufactured product. They don't have the natural graining or colour variation that are found granite. Quartz worktops are also much easier to care for and maintain than granite. Compared other solid surface worktops, quartz countertops tend to be harder wearing and less susceptible to scratches or burn marks.

C: Silestone worktops are not porous, therefore won’t easily stain. They resist all kinds of household products found in the kitchen like wine, coffee, marker pens, and cooking oils. You can simply wipe away spillages or clean the entire worktop warm soapy water, making them very easy to keep clean. You should not use any harsh or abrasive chemicals on your worktop. In addition because Silestone worktops are are non-porous, there is no possibility of odour or mould contamination and they don't require periodic sealing unlike some other stone worktops - like granite for instance.

D: Silestone worktops have Microban antimicrobial product protection. Introduced in 2005, the Microban protection is part of the molecular structure of the worktop so the protection will not wash off or disappear. Regular cleaning is still necessary, but Microban adds 1 additional layer of protection against bacteria, yeast, mould, and fungi.

Silestone is not restricted to kitchen worktops, you can also have Silestone upstands and splashbacks and they recently introduces the Integrity range of sinks which means you can now have a seamlessly integrated sink in some Silestone colours. You can also use Silestone or quartz sufaces in the bathroom, as flooring or even as furniture.



Silestone worktops arenot the only manufacturer of quartz worktops, Arenastone, Zodiaq and many other brands manufacture quartz worktops. The brand you choose will depend on delivery, sales, colour, service, value or added features.