Many people are under the impression that glass worktops are too fragile for use in the kitchen and might suffer damage from pots or pans being dropped on them and scratching from knives and other cutlery. In fact, glass worktops are extremely tough and impact resistant and are made from the same materials as the glass chopping boards which have recently become a favourite of many a celebrity chef since they can withstand being knocked around in a commercial kitchen.
Glass Worktops Are Extremely Durable
If you think about your car windscreen for a moment you will realise that it can tolerate a stone hitting it even if you are travelling at speed up a motorway. The worst thing that is likely to happen is that the windscreen will sustain a small chip. Glass kitchen worktops are tougher than that. Possibly the only way to do any damage would be to throw a cast iron saucepan at it and even then it probably would not break.
Of course, the surface of glass is not porous which means that it will not stain. Many of the materials used for kitchen worktops, such as granite and marble for instance, can suffer from staining if butter, oil, red wine, coffee and tea spills are left on them for too long and can even pick up stains from strawberries and raspberries. Glass worktops have no such problems. If you left a spill on one for a month it would simply wipe off with a damp cloth. Even something like dried on egg yolk or hot fat splashes from the hob or cooker will require nothing more than the use of a kitchen scourer to remove them.
Since the surface is not porous it also means that it will not harbour germs. Bacteria, microbes and other pathogens along with mildew simply cannot get a hold on glass worktops as there is nothing for them to hold on to or in which to hide. A quick wipe over with a damp cloth is really all that is necessary.
Glass Worktop Colours
Glass worktops also come in a wide range of colours which means that there is bound to be one which fits in with your kitchen decor. You can also have the corners of your worktop shaped, add draining grooves next to the sink and have the edges polished. Then there is another thing that you can do with a glass worktop that you cannot do with anything else and that is have led lighting installed underneath it. That really does give a dramatic effect to your kitchen.
Glass will even make your kitchen look lighter. Since it is glass, the surface is reflective which will make the kitchen seem lighter and more airy.
What about cost? Many people think that a toughened glass worktop will be very expensive, but in practice it will often work out at less than a similar worktop made of granite, quartz or marble. Of course, a glass worktop has to be made to fit the contours of your kitchen, but that applies to any material.
So if you are thinking of having a new kitchen fitted you should certainly consider the benefits of glass.
Taking Care Of Glass Worktops
If you are thinking of having your kitchen re-designed you might be considering having glass worktops installed and wondering what maintenance they might need. The good news is that, unlike other materials – granite and marble for instance – glass worktops require very little in the way of maintenance at all.
Certainly there are some things that you should really avoid such as chopping vegetables on a glass worktop. While a glass worktop is extremely tough there is probably a limit to the amount of abuse it will stand and there is no point in taking risks. A wooden chopping board is the best to use since it will not damage the blade of the knife or chopper.
Similarly, it is not a good idea to store heavy cast iron pots and casserole dishes in cupboards above a glass worktop. These can be extremely heavy and should one slip out of your hand it might cause damage. For this reason saucepans should always be stored on a saucepan stand or in cupboards under the work surface where the worst thing that can happen is that they will drop on the floor.
Equally you should avoid placing a hot pan from the hob or cooker or casserole straight out of the oven on to the glass worktop. If the worktop is butted up tightly against a wall at each end the heat could cause the glass to expand and thus cause a fracture. Always use a trivet or a heat pad.
Ideally, any spills should be wiped up when they are seen. However, your glass worktop will not stain if they are left on the surface.
As far as cleaning is concerned a wipe over with a damp cloth will do the trick most of the time. If sticky foods such as honey or egg yolk are allowed to dry on it may be necessary to clean with warm water and some washing up liquid.
There is also a product stocked by most good glass worktop suppliers called Stainstop Plus which will help to protect the surface and keep it sparkling like new.
Glass Worktop Prices
When you are thinking about having a new kitchen the question of cost is of paramount importance to most people and while it might not ultimately be the decisive factor is certainly one that needs to be taken into consideration.
If a glass worktop is on your list then you probably want to know what affects the cost and whether glass is likely to be cheaper or more expensive than other materials. In fact, a glass worktop can often work out less expensive than, say, marble, granite or quartz, but is likely to be more expensive than acrylic or laminates.
However, the actual material cost is usually less than half of the final price because of the work that needs to be done before your glass worktop can be installed. The material cost is often somewhere between 30% to 40% of the final price. To this has to be added the cost of templating and fitting which will be around 20%, then there is the cost of processing in the factory – things such as cutting holes for sinks and hobs and polishing the edges and maybe creating a custom edge such as a waterfall or ogee – which will add a further 20% to 30%. Of course, there is then also 20% VAT on top of all of that, so there is a lot more involved than just the basic cost of the material.
The price can also be affected by things such as whether a sink is going to be under mounted or top mounted. If it is going to be top mounted then it only needs the hole to be cut out. If it is under mounted then the edges of the hole have to be shaped and polished which all adds to the final cost.
If you want the edges of the worktop cut to a special shape it will depend on what you want, since some shapes take longer to do than others.
However, it is worth considering that most of the foregoing also applies to other materials so your choice should really come down to which will give you the most benefits. Certainly, as far as performance goes, glass worktops have a lot in their favour.