Cheap worktops – 3 things you need to know

There’s no doubt about it. Kitchen makeovers can be costly. Once you add up the price of cabinets, sinks, taps, appliances, worktops, and fitting, you’re looking at £8-15K and upwards. So, it’s no surprise people look for ways to reduce costs where they can.

One item that’s often in the firing line for cost-cutting is the worktop. Of course, you can always save money by choosing a less expensive material – laminate, for example, will be significantly cheaper than natural stone. But you can also shop around to compare prices. So, if you’ve decided on a granite worktop, for example, you might look for the lowest priced supplier.

And that’s a sensible plan, but you need to check you’re not comparing apples with pears. Because, even when they’re made from the same material, worktops aren’t necessarily the same in other ways.

In this article, we look at the 3 things you need to know to make sure you get the best value when it comes to buying a cheap worktop.

1.  Cheap worktops could have quality and performance issues

Once you’ve chosen your preferred worktop material, you might assume the quality will be the same, no matter where you buy it from. But this isn’t the case. Any man-made worktop can vary in quality and performance quite considerably.

Take quartz worktops, for example. They’re made from ground down quartz minerals that are bonded by resin. A good quality branded quartz worktop such as Silestone® contains at least 93% quartz and 7% resin. It’s hard-wearing, stain-resistant, scratch-resistant, and comes with a 25-year warranty.

But there’s been a flood of cheap Chinese quartz worktops to the market in recent years. They often contain as little as 60% quartz and as much as 40% resin. And, although these worktops may look good when they’re first fitted, they’re known to have poor quality and performance issues. They rarely come with a warranty and could be prone to scratches and staining.

Find out more about the problem with cheap quartz worktops here.

We’re using quartz as an example here, but the same principle can be applied to any man-made worktop. So, if you’re comparing prices for the ‘same’ worktop material, just double-check that it really is the same. Otherwise, you might find yourself paying out for another new worktop a lot sooner than you thought.

2.  Cheap worktops could be badly fitted

Once you’ve chosen your worktop material, the next part of the process is getting it measured up, cut to size and then fitted. And this is another area where quality can differ.

When you have a stone worktop templated and cut to your exact measurements, that work isn’t necessarily completed by the manufacturer who supplied the worktop slab. It may be carried out by fabricators who work for the company you bought it from.

An expert fabricator will have years of experience and knowledge, as well as the best equipment needed to deliver a top-quality finish on your worktop. Suppliers offering cheap kitchen worktops may cut costs by hiring unskilled fabricators and using less advanced equipment. This could result in a worktop installation that’s far from perfect.

3.  Cheap worktops may come with poor service

Another factor to consider when buying a worktop is the service you’ll receive.

Suppliers who can offer cheap kitchen worktops may be able to do so because their service isn’t robust. They may have long waiting times on templating and installation, leaving you with a makeshift kitchen for weeks. They may have less staff available to answer customer queries, which leads to poor communication and frustration for you.

So, always check out the reviews of any company you’re thinking about buying a worktop from as they’ll give a good insight into what their service is like. Look particularly at how any problems were handled. Some suppliers may be very good when it comes to selling you a worktop, but not so great once they’ve taken your money.

So, does that mean you should always go with the highest price?

Definitely not! It always makes sense to shop around, And, you’ll always find like-for-like worktops at varying prices. All we advise is that you check that they really are like-for-like. Not just the worktop quality, but the service and warranties too. It’s then a matter of finding the most competitive price, rather than the cheapest.

Start by picking a branded worktop. The job of comparing will be easier because it’s made by the same manufacturer, so the quality and warranties will be the same no matter who supplies it.

The prices can then vary depending on how much the supplier pays the manufacturer and the mark-up they add to the retail price to cover their overheads. A company which operates showrooms with sales staff, for example, will usually charge more than a company who doesn’t.

At SEH Interiors, we’re able to supply and install our sintered-stone Dekton® worktops at up to 50% less than our competitors. And that’s because we buy so much from the manufacturer that they give us a discount. We also sell our worktops online to keep our overheads low. And it’s these savings that we pass onto our customers. We never compromise on our service or quality of installation to keep our prices low.

So, our advice is, if you’re thinking about going with the cheapest worktop, always check that the quality, fitting and service is going to be the same as the more expensive option. Otherwise, you may receive poor service and an ill-fitted worktop that easily scratches and stains.

SEH Interiors have over 10 years of experience supplying and fitting premium-quality kitchen countertops at affordable prices across the UK.
Browse our worktop ranges.