Make it work for you
Looking to inject a touch of luxury into your kitchen without blowing the budget? Follow Anna’s lead…
Sometimes you’ve just got to fake it to make it when budgets are tight. However, in the case of natural marble worktops, many find opting for faux marble over the real deal is actually the better option, regardless of cost. This is because marble is a relatively soft stone that can stain and scratch without due care. So if natural ageing doesn’t charm you, faking it could be better a choice for you.
Q What is the cheapest option?
Laminates are without a doubt the most affordable choice. Plus, improvements in photographic and printing techniques mean there are now some very realistic designs on the market. To suspend belief a little further, look for laminates with a textural finish, that mimics the tactile softness of real marble. But laminates can be tricky to joint, and you’ll need to be careful with your choice of sink, especially if you want an undermounted model.
Q And if laminate’s not for me?
The next best solution is solid surfaces (aka composites). Anna’s kitchen features Minerva’s solid surface, which is made from polymer resins, a mineral filler and pigments. Minerva can be cut with normal woodworking tools, which means it can be cut to size on site. Corian is another brand of solid surface, but any templating is done off-site. Unlike laminates, scratches or stains can be gently sanded out.
Q Budget aside, what’s best?
Quartz composite surfaces come in various marble-inspired designs. The benefit of quartz lies in its durability. You should still use trivets and chopping boards, but quartz worktops are infinitely more resilient than marble and look shiny and new for years.
Q Will it look realistic?
That’s down to the edges. On real marble and solid surfaces, the veining runs right through its core. Whereas most laminates, and some quartz, only have the marble print on the top. However, there are a few quartz options that are veined on the edge profile, too, such as Radianz. For laminates, your best bet is to go for a curved front edge and hide the end panels against walls. Also, try to avoid pattern repeats in the veining. Natural marble is unique, so any exact matches will scream ‘fake’.
“Do order samples before you buy – it’s impossible to tell how realistic the marble design is from a screen, and you will also get to feel the finish ” SIMON BOOCOCK, MD, CRL STONE
A GREY ISLAND OFFSETS THE MARBLE-LOOK TOP BEAUTIFULLY