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It’s the cherry on the cake. The pinch of salt on the foie gras. The drop of Worcestershire sauce on your steak tartare. The right countertop is the perfect finishing touch that makes your cabinets and handles pop. Don’t overlook this important detail! But which countertop is the most durable? And which material should you go for? Whether you prefer wood, laminate or natural stone, we’ve compiled all the information you need to know.
With its subtle veining, smooth texture and timeless appeal…marble is top of your wishlist. Until you find out the price. Enter laminate: created from a panel of MDF or chipboard wood covered with a thin layer of decorative plastic and a final protective coating, laminate is a budget-friendly option. Its durability makes it a firm kitchen favourite, and its versatility lends itself to almost any kitchen aesthetic. In imitation wood or marble, aluminium or slate, brightly coloured, black or pristine white, it truly exists in almost every style. Delivered in simple planks, laminate is very easy to cut using a jigsaw or circular saw and can be perfectly trimmed to fit your kitchen. At Plum, we chose the Ekbacken Ikea model in marble effect (see photos below) for its unbeatable price and impressive style.
Price: from 59€ per 186 x 63.5cm countertop at Ikea
It’s the statement item in a luxury kitchen. Whether in marble, granite or volcanic stone, a solid stone countertop is a timeless and elegant choice. Super resistant against heat and knocks, we love it for the natural appeal of slate or blue stone, or for the attractive veining in marble, often in pink or blue depending on its source. But be careful: natural stone is actually porous, even if it’s polished, it remains susceptible to stains. Even a tiny drop of lemon or vinegar can damage it. Most suppliers will visit your apartment or house to take the measurements for your countertop themselves - this needs to be precise, as even a millimeter can make all the difference! Remember, once this countertop is cut, no modifications can be made.
Price: from 320€ per square meter at easyplandetravail.com
Similarly to laminate, compact is a panel of wood covered with a decorative film. That’s as far as the comparison goes. Dense and, well, compact, this material is option that is rather thin - mimicking the look of some solid stone countertops. Whilst laminate ranges from 3 to 4cm in thickness, compact can exist as thin as 1 to 2cm, allowing for a slim design with strong durability. Increasingly popular, compact now exists in a range of patterns and colours, as well as innovative new materials such as Fénix, which has a velvety-soft touch. Pigmented all the way through the material, it’s possible to cut compact to the perfect size and shape, without losing the pattern or colour on the edge: a perfect partner for an undermounted sink. Installation is much the same as for laminate, you just need to be well prepared as the density of this material can make cutting it a little more challenging.
Price: from 200 to 300€ per 2m to 2.4m countertop.
Super strong whilst remaining light, Corian is made from a mix of mineral powder and resin. Loved by architects for its versatility, this material is the perfect partner regardless of your choice of style or decor. Very tough and non-porous, Corian is a great choice for kitchens. Its only enemies are scratches and coloured stains - we recommend using a chopping board when preparing beetroot, carrots or any other highly pigmented food! Cut to your dimensions by a carpenter, Corian is fitted so that any joints are invisible. Good to know: you can even get matching sinks, so that everything comes together visually.
Price: from 460€ per square meter at easyplandetravail.com
Do you have a straight kitchen, that’s rather short? Ceramic could be a good option for your project. Suppliers now make large tiles in different thicknesses that can be cut to size to make a custom countertop. This is also an option for larger kitchens, however bear in mind that there will be joints. Resistant to knocks whilst remaining slim and elegant, ceramic exists in various finishes such as marble effect, terrazzo or waxed concrete. As with natural stone, measurements will need to be taken by a professional in order to ensure the perfect fit. Why not include your splashback, for a unified look?
Price: from 250€ per square meter at easyplandetravail.com
Whether in chevrons, short blocks or one long plank, a solid wood countertop adds instant warmth to a kitchen. This option exists at all price points, it simply depends on what you’re looking for and how this material is treated. Versatile, a solid wood countertop can also work for an island. All you need to do is add a support. The only drawback remains the fact that wood is a living material which stains easily. You should plan to sand and varnish it every one to two years, depending on your usage - and how much stains bother you!
Price: An alternative is the MOLLEKULLA model, which has an oak veneer, from 119€ per meter.