Fitting A Kitchen Worktop: How To Choose & PrepareModern kitchen worktops are extremely hardwearing. They are often referred to as Formica worktops, however Formica is merely a branded name for a decorative layer of material which is coated and protected by a melamine top layer. They are made using a high density chipboard core onto which the high pressure laminate top layer is bonded. In recent years great strides have been made in terms of design and function. Usually available in both 28mm and 38mm thickness the vast majority of colours and décor are available in either 3.0m, 3.6m or 4.2m lengths. This flexibility means you are much less likely to have costly waste off-cuts, even in the most unusually shaped or sized kitchens. An alternative to laminate kitchen worktops is our range of solid wood surfaces. Although they require a little more maintenance than a laminate top, they provide a stunning lift to any kitchen which only real wood can provide.
Key Benefits of Solid Wood Kitchen Worktops
- Natural appearance
- Warm to the touch
- Can be sanded and repaired if damaged
- Will last a lifetime if properly maintained
- Not subject to fashion/design trends
Typical timbers used for solid tops include Oak, Beech, Roko, Walnut, Cherry and Wenge. A Kitchen worktop is not just a finishing touch to a kitchen it’s a main feature. There is a vast range of colours & textures as well as matt and gloss finishes available. From traditional beach oak and walnut block timber style to cutting edge designs such as sparkling omega quartz range and the Ultramatt range which gives the look and feel of a solid wood work surface without the cost and maintenance issues associated with real wood. We have all the leading brands available, Omega, Prima, Duropal and Axiom. All are available in breakfast bar widths of 665mm and 900mm and many come with matching splashback and upstand. If choosing your kitchen worktop becomes a struggle – then check out an article we’ve written, it will give you many different kitchen worktop ideas.
How To Fit A Kitchen Worktop
- The first job when fitting a worktop is to measure the length that it needs to be cut to. It is of course crucial that this measurement is correct so take your time and get it right. Allow a 25mm overhang for any edges that doesn’t meet the wall.
- Most walls are uneven so you will most likely have to scribe the long back edge of the worktop to the wall. This is done by cutting a timber block that measures the same as the biggest gap between the wall and the worktop. Run a length of masking tape along the top of the back edge of the worktop. Run the block along the entire length with a pencil mark. This will be the exact shape of the wall and can then be cut to suit.
- Butt and scribe joints give worktops seamless and professional finish. Many people chose to have this done by an experienced fitter as it is quite a skilled process which requires a number of tools to complete. The joint is formed using a worktop jig with a male and female cut out guide. A circular cut is also made on the reverse of the worktop at the joint to allow clamping bolts to be inserted. The 2 cut edges then have a matching colorfill sealant applied which helps to seal the joint and adds to the quality of the finish. The 2 jointed edges are then pushed together and the clamps are tightened. Any excess of the colorfill compound is then wiped away using a solvent (usually supplied).
How To Fit A Solid Wood WorktopSolid wood worktops are installed much the same way as laminate, but with a few key differences…
- Prior to installation all edges and cut edges should be given 2 coats of Danish oil.
- A 3-4mm gap should be left from the back edge of the top to the wall to allow for expansion.
- Once fitted the entire surface should be given a light sand with a fine grade paper. The surface should then be cleaned thoroughly and given an initial coat of Danish oil or suitable alternative.
- A further 3-4 coats of oil should then be applied leaving the necessary drying times between each coat.
- All solid tops will require regular maintenance coats of oil throughout their lifetime. The frequency of this will depend on how much use they get, but typically every 6 months should suffice.