If you’re looking for a new kitchen worktop and wondering, ‘are acrylic worktops any good?’, you’re in the right place to find out.
In this comprehensive acrylic kitchen worktop buying guide, we answer all your questions about acrylic worktops:
- What are acrylic worktops made of?
- Who makes acrylic worktops?
- Acrylic worktops pros and cons
- What colours and styles do acrylic worktops come in?
- What design choices do acrylic worktops allow you?
- Are acrylic worktops expensive?
- How do you fit an acrylic worktop?
What are acrylic worktops made of?
Acrylic kitchen worktops are often thought of as being plastic worktops. But in fact, they’re only about one-third acrylic or polymer-based plastic. The rest is made up of pure natural minerals, reinforcing the plastic resin to form a strong and resilient solid surface.
To make the worktops, the resin and natural minerals are heated until they turn into liquid. They’re then poured into moulds and left to cool.
Acrylic can mimic the look of natural stone and metal materials but at a lower cost and a fraction of the weight.
Who makes acrylic worktops?
The first acrylic worktops were made by DuPont in the 1960s. You may have heard of their acrylic worktop brand – Corian®. It’s the best-known acrylic worktop on the market, and that’s because DuPont held a patent on solid-state acrylic countertops for 30 years.
When DuPont’s patent ended, many other manufacturers started to make acrylic worktops. As a result, there are now many acrylic worktop brands available such as Hanex®, Tristone™, HI-MACS®, Staron®, Krion® and Durasein®.
This flood of acrylic manufacturers has led to numerous advances in the technology used to make acrylic worktops. So, they’ve got better and better over the years in terms of their quality and appearance.
Acrylic worktops pros and cons
Let’s face it, kitchen worktops have got a tough job to do.
First off, they’re a highly visible component of your kitchen. So, the quality, style, colour choices and design capabilities are important factors to consider when deciding what to buy.
Then, once the worktop is fitted and you start to use your kitchen, it needs to stand up to a lot of wear and tear.
So, the question is, how good are acrylic worktops?
Let’s take a look:
Acrylic kitchen worktop pros:
- Acrylic worktops are seamless
When two pieces of acrylic worktop are joined together, they are glued using coloured matched adhesive. The join is then sanded and polished so that it’s inconspicuous. This means that your whole worktop will look like one continuous piece, even around corners. This is a stunning design feature that’s unique to acrylic worktops.
- Acrylic worktops are repairable
The great thing about acrylic worktops is that minor scratches or slight burn marks can simply be buffed out using mild abrasive cleaners and a scouring pad. And if the damage is a little more severe and you can’t do it yourself, a certified installer can do the job for you.
- Acrylic worktops are stain-resistant
Acrylic worktops are non-porous, which means nothing can penetrate the surface. As a result, they are resistant to stains – not totally stain-proof. But, as long as food spills aren’t left on the surface for hours, then you won’t have a problem. And if you do get a stain, don’t forget it can be buffed out because acrylic worktops are repairable.
- Acrylic worktops are impact resistant
We can all be a bit clumsy and drop things at times. But you don’t have to worry about an acrylic worktop. You’re not going to take a chunk out of it if you drop a pan, for example. Acrylic is a durable surface that can withstand the knocks and bumps of daily wear and tear.
- Acrylic is food safe and hygienic
Acrylic is rated excellent for hygiene because it’s non-porous. It naturally repels mould and bacteria and stops them from taking root and spreading. And remember those seamless joins? They increase its safety because there are no nooks and crannies for food to get stuck and hide in.
- Acrylic is maintenance-free
Once an acrylic worktop is installed, there’s nothing to do other than clean it with soapy water after use. That’s it. There’s no additional maintenance required, and it doesn’t need sealing as some worktops do.
- Acrylic worktops are long-lasting
Most acrylic worktops come with a manufacturer’s warranty of at least 10 years.There’s a caveat to this, though. Often the warranty is only valid if the worktop is fitted by an approved installer. So, do check if you plan to use a general tradesperson to install it or do the work yourself.
- Acrylic worktops are flexible in their design capabilities
If you want anything other than a bulk standard straight worktop for your kitchen, you need a worktop material that can be customised. Acrylic worktops are perfect for this because they can be fabricated into any shape you need. So, getting worktops that fit curved cabinets, round sinks or unusual breakfast bar shapes is no problem.
Acrylic kitchen worktop cons:
- Acrylic worktops are not resistant to heat
This really is the only downside to acrylic worktops: they are susceptible to getting scorch marks if hot pans are left on them. They can withstand a certain amount of heat, but we always recommend using a heat protector. But, if you do accidentally scorch the surface, it can be buffed out.
What colours do acrylic worktops come in?
When it comes to colours and styles, you’re spoilt for choice with acrylic. Especially now, as there are so many acrylic brands available. In our range, there are over 500 colours to choose from across seven top brands. So, you can pretty much get any look you want.
There are all your basic colours like white, black, brown and grey. Then some worktops mimic the beautiful colours and patterns of stones like granite, marble and quartz. There are even worktops that look like concrete or metal. And if you love bright, vivid colours like pink, yellow and blue, you can get those too.
What design choices do acrylic worktops allow you?
When it comes to creating unique designs, acrylic is perfect. Here’s how you can make your worktop both functional and bespoke:
Acrylic kitchen worktops can be cut and shaped to suit any kitchen design
With an acrylic worktop, you can customise it to suit any design you want. For example, you can have rounded edges, so there are no sharp corners for kids to run into. You can have a round sink or a curved breakfast bar. You can even wrap the worktop around the sides of a kitchen island.
An acrylic worktop allows you to have an under-mount sink
Under-mount sinks are popular for modern kitchens because they help the sink area blend seamlessly into the worktop. You don’t need to have a draining board either, because drainer grooves or a recessed drainer can be cut into the worktop. This under-mount sink and drainer grooves/recessed drainer combo looks much tidier than a standard top-mounted sink and drainer.
Acrylic worktops allow you to have a flush-mounted hob
Another feature of an acrylic worktop is that it’s suitable for use with a flush-mounted hob. You need to buy a hob designed specifically for this. There are plenty of models available for gas or electric. It’s a stunning design feature that’s perfect if you’re after a designer look for your kitchen.
Acrylic worktops allow you to have pop-up sockets
Occasional use plug sockets are really handy in the kitchen. Particularly on a kitchen island, where you can’t use wall sockets. An acrylic worktop can have a section cut out to accommodate a pop-up socket.
Acrylic can be used for upstands and splashbacks
Acrylic use isn’t just limited to worktops. It can also be attached to your walls as 100mm high upstands or full height splashbacks. So, not only is this a practical way to protect your walls from food splashes, but it gives your kitchen a beautiful finish too.
Are acrylic worktops expensive?
Prices for acrylic worktops can vary considerably depending on the brand, the colour you choose and who you buy them from. You then have to factor in the installation costs.
But, as a general rule, acrylic worktops cost more than laminate and wood but less than natural or engineered stone worktops.
Prices can vary quite significantly between suppliers. For example, acrylic worktops bought from a company with showrooms and sales teams have to charge more to cover their overheads. Whereas, if you buy from a company that sells acrylic worktops online or specialises in acrylic worktops (meaning they can buy in bulk), the prices will be more competitive.
How do you fit an acrylic worktop?
Acrylic worktops can be cut using standard woodworking tools. So, a competent DIYer or any general tradesperson can fit them.
However, we recommend that acrylic worktops are always fitted by an approved installer for several reasons:
- Most manufacturers will only provide a warranty if the worktop is fitted by an approved installer.
- Approved installers are very experienced and specialise in fitting acrylic worktops. This means you’re guaranteed a high-quality, flawless finish.
- Many design features are hard to achieve for a DIYer or general tradesperson using standard tools. Approved installers have all the latest tech to give you the design features you want.
- When you use an approved installer, they come to your home to measure up and make a template of your worktop. Then all the work to shape and cut it to size is carried out off-site. So, when they come back to fit it, the job is quicker and causes much less hassle and mess than if the worktop was cut on-site.
So, are acrylic worktops any good?
In our opinion, 100% yes! They’re durable and long-lasting. They provide endless design possibilities. They look fantastic and are a more affordable alternative to stone worktops. The only downside is the fact they aren’t heat resistant. But as they’re repairable, that shouldn’t be a problem. And let’s not forget those seamless joins that are unique to acrylic worktops.
SEH Interiors has supplied and fitted acrylic kitchen worktops into UK homes and businesses for over 10 years. Browse our acrylic worktop range.