Decisions, decisions: Our Recent Survey of Granite and Quartz Worktop Customers
We are very conscious of the number of decisions granite and quartz worktop customers face as they work through the process of renovating a kitchen. In a way, we see our role as simply providing a helping hand through at least one bit of the maze. To reach the goal of the best kitchen for YOU, you will have to make many choices; we can’t make them for you, but we can help inform your decisions.
Part of that information has to do with our awareness of changing trends in kitchens. Some trends are simply fads and fashions, but others come down to advances in technology which are steadily transforming what is a “typical” kitchen. We see change all the time in what is available and in what our customers actually buy, but we recently ran a survey on Instagram to look at people’s instinctive preferences BEFORE the buying process. Here are the results – we hope you enjoy them!
This blog is Part 1 – looking at choices of material, colours and thicknesses. In Part 2 we will look at choices of how we machine the stone for you – are people looking for upstands, downstands and drainer grooves?
Decisions, decisions: Granite or Quartz Worktops?
In our particular part of the kitchen, for customers looking at solid stone countertops, the big choice is between granite and quartz.
New customers, fresh to the product, are saying that they want quartz – and our actual proportion of sales is very close to the figure shown here.
For key information on the difference between granite and quartz, please see our essential article here.
Result: Quartz 65% Granite 35%
Decisions, decisions: Light or Dark Worktops?
The difference in preference between granite and quartz worktops is mirrored by the difference in current popularity of light and dark worktops. Light is in at the moment; people want a sense of space, of brightness, of cleanliness in their kitchens. Light stones bring that.
And the relationship between Light toned worktops and quartz is no accident of course. As we discuss in our article on granite and quartz, there is a very real difference in the performance of natural versus engineered stone worktops in light and dark versions. For light, go quartz; for dark, go granite.
Result: Light 73% Dark 27%
Decisions, decisions: Thick or Thin Worktops?
One of the big changes we have seen over the last few years has been a growing trend towards very thin worktops. This used to be more of a continental thing: with slab-fronted German kitchens went thin glass worktops. Quartz beats glass for scratch resistance and is better than granite for tensile strength, so can be made thinner. Add in the possibility of manufacturing with a sharknose edge, and you can have worktops that look about 4mm thick, with easy and smooth use of the handleless doors.
That is the trend, then. But many people still have Shaker and other traditional-styled kitchens, where a thicker top looks better. And there are some hobs and even sinks which really aren’t suited for use with the thinner profile. For fuller information on the technical issues, please see our FAQ page. What we find is that quite a lot of people who would like a thinner worktop end up at 30mm – which is still thinner than traditional laminate! As a result, the initial preference in our survey doesn’t match what we actually fit – yet! Once the hob manufacturers catch up with the trend, though…
Result: Thick 47% Thin 53%
Decisions, decisions: Polished or Textured Worktops?
In recent years we have seen a growing popularity of non-polished worktops of one kind or another. There are many finishes, and many names to find them under: honed, suede, leather, caresse, satinato, flamed, velluto, eggshell and just plain matt. They make an interesting change for our guys, and can look absolutely amazing on installation.
However, it is hard to beat highly polished finishes when it comes to cleaning and long term maintenance and looks. Kitchens are for use, and, perhaps counter-intuitively, a polish is easier to keep clean than a non-polish. Once again, please see our articles on worktops in general and specially on granite and quartz to see why this is. Perhaps because of this, textured worktops, though beautiful, are still a minority choice.
Polished 80% Textured 20%
Decisions, decisions: Plain or Sparkly Worktops?
With the growing popularity of quartz worktops came a huge trend to one of the first distinct looks that quartz could give you – the classic mirror chip, sparkly quartz look. Black Mirror was the first quartz “must have”, followed by white mirror; Silestone’s Blanco Stellar was our biggest seller for years.
That is now all changed. Sparkly materials, and especially that big mirror chip look are really on the way out. Subtle sparkles hold their own, but overall the trend is to non-sparkly and, especially, marble-look quartz. Which leads to our next question.
Non-Sparkly 73% Sparkly 27%
Decisions, decisions: Thick Vein or Thin Vein/Mottled Marble Worktops?
The biggest trend in quartz worktops over the last few years has been the massive growth in the marble look. But among marble-look quartzes there is plenty of variety. You could say that there are as many looks as there are products, but actually there is a big divide in the marble-look materials – between the big, bold veins of the Calacatta look and the small veins and mottles of Carrara-type stones.
Which do you prefer – big vein or the small vein/mottle? It’s a close-run thing!
Small vein 51% Big vein 49%
We are Affordable Granite, the leading granite and quartz worktop supplier in Surrey, Sussex and across the South East. Our main business is granite and quartz, but we also install kitchen and bathroom worktops in quartzite, marble and (occasionally) Dekton. We want to be the best in the business for customer service and advice to anyone who is doing up their kitchen – we have a ton of information at our fingertips and look forward to hearing from you. Call us for a quotation on 01293 863992 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Images from Affordable Granite / Andrew King Photography