I'm helping a friend do up his (Ikea) kitchen. He wants an off-menu worktop. But away from the stalwarts of wood, stone and laminate: what other options should we consider?
We considered stainless steel: "Commercial kitchens use it as it's easy to clean," says Andrew Hyett of APD Interiors. "But it does scratch and corner joins are expensive."
Can't afford Corian, DuPont's hard-wearing, mouldable stone-acrylic blend? Try a Corian-esque veneer, or "solid surface" worktop. Pick one at least 6mm thick for durability.
Rank and tile
Modern, brick-shaped mosaic tiles seem chic. But, says Hyett, they're a hygiene nightmare: "Grout is absorbent; it goes dark and yucky."
"Glass is easy to clean," says Hyett, "and comes in many colours." But? It's better for show than for heavy use: joins are visible and gather muck.
The joy of Perspex
"It's cheap, easy to fit – and comes in many colours and thicknesses," says Hyett. "It will scratch, but it's so cheap you can just replace it."
If we'd thought of Hyett's super-budget tip ourselves, we'd have done it: "Sand down marine ply (18mm minimum) and apply yacht varnish."
Eventually, we chose concrete. Well, concrete-ish. You can build a frame and pour the stuff in, to polish when set – or, as we did, use Beton Cire, a new, surface-only product. Try masssurfaces.co.uk and modernhomesolutions.co.uk. I'll let you know how it goes.
Find Kate's blog on affordable interiors at yourhomeislovely.com
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