Large kitchen islands
Kitchen islands continue to grow in popularity, and continue to grow in size. Large islands in both granite and quartz are commonplace, and we are often asked to quote for islands which are larger than can actually be made in one piece.
What are the constraints on island size? Just how big is too big? We wrote about this some time ago, but that article is now a bit tired and outdated, so we thought we would freshen it up.
Large islands: the practical considerations
Very large islands can be problematic so far as practical usefulness is concerned. For anyone apart from the tallest, islands more than 1500mm across can involve a lot of walking and reaching to get at or clean the strip in the middle. If you are on the short side, you will regret having a large worktop with areas which are permanently out of reach.
Of course, this only applies to one dimension. An island 3000mm long by 950mm wide will be easy to use at all points by anyone – it is the distance across that is critical. However, you need to think about the distance round the whole thing too.
An island can just take too long to get round – it becomes an obstacle in your kitchen rather than a help or focal point. And you need to have the room to move easily around it too. If you haven’t got room to have at least 1100mm of space all round an island, don’t have one at all – or reduce the size of the island plan until you have that kind of clearance or more.
On top of that, you do need to think carefully about the purpose of your island. What kitchen function(s) is it aimed to fulfill? Storage, preparation, cooking, serving, washing up are all part of the normal kitchen roles, and in today’s multipurpose kitchens you need to add eating, homework and general socialising! What is your island for?
Large islands: workshop and installation challenges
Very large islands present challenges in manufacture and transport. Our bridge saws can only take slabs up to a certain size. Anything over 3400mm in length is pushing it for space on the saw beds; anything much longer would be too long for our vans anyway. Our vans also have a height limit at below 1600mm, though sometimes we hire for the job.
Add in the difficulties of handling very large slabs. Even with excellent access into the kitchen, a 30mm thick Nero Assoluto island at 3000x1500mm weighs 427kg – that’s 940lbs of appalling dense material. Extra men need to be sent, and sometimes extra mechanical help is needed too – we have hired cranes to get islands into second floor flats!
One of our regular AG vans – you can’t get 1600mm height in there!
Jakub fork-lifting the island onto a specially-hired flatbed
Ready to go!
Large islands: the raw material
Edge on view of quartz slabs in the warehouse, showing size differences
Large islands need large slabs to make them. Natural stone (granite) varies significantly from quarry to quarry and from block to block – we have known maximum slab lengths at anything from 2500mm to 3500mm.
Man-made, engineered stone, is made in standard moulds. In the early days of quartz these produced slabs at 3040x1400mm or so. More recently a steadily wider range of quartz has come into the market in slabs at up to 3350x1660mm (Cambria). However, all companies that produce jumbo slabs don’t produce them for all products – NEVER assume that a quartz material is available at larger than 3000×1400 without having checked with a fabricator (like ourselves) or a wholesale supplier.
Quartz slabs in our warehouse
We are Affordable Granite, the leading granite installer in Surrey, Sussex and across the South East. We are proud of our expertise and craftsmanship – from being able to give you good, honest advice before you buy, right through to installation and leaving everything spot on at the end. For questions, queries and quotes connected with any aspect of worktop installation or kitchen design, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01293 863992 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org/ .