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Your expert guide to solid-surface and engineered-stone worktops

Image of a kitchen by Pluck London with solid-surface worktops

Your expert guide to solid-surface and engineered-stone worktops

Worktops are the hardest-working part of your kitchen. They have to stand up to whatever your throw at them, and look good too. Below, IIO shares everything you need to know about solid-surface and engineered-stone worktops. 

What is a solid-surface worktop?

Solid-surface worktops, such as Corian and HI-MACS, are made from a blend of acrylic resins and minerals. They’re warm to the touch and available in a wide range of colours that run through the full thickness of the material. This means, for example, you could carve grooves into the draining board and see the colour within the indentations.

Image of the kitchen of @inspireinaskitchen with solid-surface worktops
Image: Solid-surface worktops seen in the kitchen of @inspireinaskitchen.
What are the advantages of a solid-surface worktop?

Because solid-surface materials are manmade, they can be manufactured to create smooth, one-piece runs. This makes them ideal for long stretches of worktop. What’s more, they can be moulded into almost any shape, which is perfect if you want to incorporate a sink or splashback. Plus, a countertop surface with no gaps means that there are no areas for water to gather and stagnate, reducing the risk of bacteria.

How strong is a solid-surface worktop?

Solid surfaces are extremely robust and boast stain-, water- and heat-resistant properties. Though I’d still recommend using a trivet for hot pans and a chopping board for chopping. You can also sand out small scratches from solid surfaces.

Image of a kitchen by @firstsenseinteriors showing solid-surface worktops
Image: A utility area with practical solid-surface worktops, created by First Sense Interiors.
Any maintenance tips?

Solid-surface worktops are super-low maintenance. Unlike wood, they don’t need any initial treatment and simply need cleaning with a soft cloth and mild detergent.

What is an engineered-stone worktop?

Boasting the beauty of natural stone but arguably more durable (and therefore less prone to chipping), engineered stone is made from quartz mixed with a small amount of resin. Brands include Silestone and Caesarstone.

Image of the kitchen of @the_listed_home with engineered-stone worktops
Image: Engineered-stone worktops in the kitchen of @the_listed_home.
Any pros and cons of engineered-stone worktops?

Unlike natural stone, which tends to stain if it isn’t properly sealed, engineered stone is non-porous and therefore resistant to staining. It also stands up to scratches (though, again, I recommend cutting onto a chopping board). However, don’t place hot pans directly on your engineered-stone worktop as it may cause damage. Use a trivet to protect the surface.

Any maintenance tips?

Engineered stone is easy to keep clean — a wipe with a soft cloth and warm soapy water will do the trick.

Image of @brennans_big_build kitchen with engineered-stone worktops
Image: The kitchen belonging to @brennans_big_build with engineered-stone worktops.

Featured image: This fantastic contemporary kitchen designed by Pluck features solid-surface worktops.

Want more? This post is the latest in a series covering all aspects of choosing kitchen worktops – and deciding which material is best for your kitchen. Check them out here.