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Every kitchen needs them. They are sliced, chopped, scalded, burned, and yet we all want them to look as beautiful as the day they were installed. A worktop can impact the overall scheme of your kitchen, luckily with advancements in technology the choice of worktop materials is vast, for all budgets and styles of kitchen. A kitchen worktop need to be both tough and stylish, and the key to this lies in choosing the right materials for the job.

Here’s a guide on the various worktop materials out there:

Marble

If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind finish that you’re guaranteed not to find anywhere else, natural marble is a great option. Because this highly prized stone is cut from one large piece, each slice is unique. It may be tough, resisting nicks and scratches, but it’s a porous material so it stains much more easily than man-made options. A lot of care and some surface protection is recommended for people who choose marble.

Granite

Granite has always been coveted for its beauty and with new man-made alternatives available, customers now have a range of even more desirable options. Like all natural stone, it can be cut to the specifications of any worktop which will look stunning when in place. While it’s beautiful and durable, resisting most punishment from knives, and hot pans, its porous nature leaves it vulnerable to spillages if left unsealed.

Silestone

A man-made material, Silestone is a compound made up of 90% quartz. It looks fantastic, and its resilience makes it a popular choice for a kitchen worktop. Quartz is perfect for kitchens as its non-porous texture doesn’t allow bacteria to grow. It’s easy to clean, making it less susceptible to staining and as well as being durable, quartz comes in a range of beautiful colours.

Quartzstone

Quartzstone is crystallised silicon dioxide (SiO2), which, when combined with stain resistant polymers, produces a hard wearing, non-porous material. The primary advantage of this property is that, unlike natural stone products (e.g. marble, granite, limestone and wood), quartzstone does not require a sealant that must be periodically reapplied. The colour is also consistent throughout.

Quartzstone can also have added Microban, an antibacterial application which is built into the stone during the manufacturing process. Due to these attributes, quartzstone can be resistant to scratches, abrasion, and everyday stains like tea, coffee and cooking oils.

Limestone

Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Most limestone is composed of skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera. A limestone counter top is velvety smooth like soapstone. A unique characteristic of this natural stone is the fossils and seashells often found embedded in the surface, adding an organic element to the countertop.