The worktop is a central feature in any kitchen, and we thought it would be interesting to see if online ordering was the way forward for obtaining a suitable worktop delivered to your door. We selected Worktop Express, the online supplier of all types of wooden and laminate worktops, to see how easy it is to order a worktop online, fit it and judge it for looks and finish quality with proper usage. We decided on the classic look of solid oak as this is ubiquitous across both traditional and contemporary kitchen designs.
Ordering to Size
Worktop Express offer many choices during the ordering process for an oak worktop. The first is the type of oak finish. We have chosen their pre-oiled Prime Oak finish, which means the worktop is basically ready for immediate use on fitting. Next choices are the thickness of the wood (27mm or 40mm) and whether you simply order lengths of solid oak worktop, which Worktop Express can supply from stock at a very competitive price, or request that Worktop Express carry out bespoke cutting, including cut-outs for the kitchen sink, hob, rounded corners, draining grooves, etc. Given the 40mm thickness of the butcher's block style of our worktop we decided it was well worth having the cutting processes carried out by the precision equipment at Worktop Express.
We soon discovered that they have an excellent online Worktop Express Bespoke Worktop Tool application for inputting precise details of your requirements. To use this application you need to know all your layout sizes, with exact measurements of length and where your cut-outs will appear within the oak work surface. As you feed this information into the application you are able to see exactly what your finished worktop will look like. We quickly found this feature to be crucial throughout our design process taking the course of a week, allowing us to incrementally alter features about our worktop to make it fit our brief. Our worktop is two 2-metre X 40mm lengths (£150 each before cutting or pre-oiling) of oak running 90 degrees from each other into a corner. The application also shows the precise cost of each additional feature you request.
The level of information you are able to feed into the bespoke Worktop Express Bespoke Worktop Tool surprised us. You can choose the profile of the edge, the specific radius of the corners, the length and pattern of the draining grooves, where tap holes appear and, of course, cut-outs for sinks and hobs. We had ours cut to length, with curved corners, hob and sink cut-outs, drainer grooves and butt-joint cut-outs for the joint between the two lengths of worktop.
Arrival of the Worktop
Worktop Express deliver your worktop in their own transport so you can be greater assured that nothing should be damaged on arrival and in the event of any problem you have direct contact with the company on the first instance. This is a good thing because our oak worktop, in two pieces, was very heavy and needed careful handling. It arrived very well packed in transparent packaging, with corners protected, and all the cut-out waste pieces are included with the delivery, so you could utilise these for other features such as small table tops or even posh chopping boards. Once unwrapped, the visual quality of the pre-oiled prime oak was immediate, far surpassing our expectations; with well-matched colour formations within the butcher-block style and a beautiful smooth oiled finish.
Fitting the Oak Worktop
We already had our base units in place when the worktops arrived, so immediately lifted the solid oak surface onto these. Pleasingly our measurements were good and Worktop Express had truly cut everything perfectly. Unfortunately, however, one of our walls did not make a perfect right-angle, so we had to saw an angle off a complete 2 metre length. We did this with a handsaw and the tiring process soon made us appreciate having all the main cutting carried out by Worktop Express! Don't underestimate how solid and thick these oak worktops are - we were very pleased that they had been professionally machined to size and would strongly advise using this service, despite the extra expense, if you want to take the pain away from fitting and finishing. The final part of the fitting process was to bolt across the precision cut slots under the two pieces of worktop to pull them tight together, and then attach the underside of the worktop to the base units.
We had omitted to have the tap hole pre-drilled, because we were not sure about the size, so this we carried out with reasonable ease. We also added a solid oak upstand from Worktop Express to match the oak worktop - a 3 metre length of 80x18mm was £30. And two of their oak block floating 600x200mm shelves for £35.
Appearance and Quality
As soon as the worktop was in place it transformed our shaker styled kitchen. The Belfast sink sat perfectly within its cut-out, the space for the hob was exactly above the oven unit and the rounded corners looked flawlessly balanced - all thanks to the clever application within the Worktop Express website and the precision equipment that runs from it. The finish and colour of this pre-oiled prime oak really is exquisite and the natural grain shows beautifully - we really enjoy seeing the different colour hues from the natural oak as the lighting changes from sunrise to sunset.
Importantly after over a half a year of being installed in our kitchen and stress tested we can confirm that the grain of the oak is of a high quality. Withstanding dropped cups to not even show a mark of evidence and water droplets wipe away as we've kept the Danish oil topped up. Worktop Express recommend we re-oil the whole surface every 3 months and we have done so - but would strongly recommend topping up areas exposed to water such as around the Belfast Sink more regularly. Incidentally this is the only maintenance you'll need to carry out to keep the wood looking like new. We've found oak to be an excellent hard wearing choice for kitchens, but of-course it should go without saying that leaving hot pans on the wood or using the surface to chop on is a absolute no no!
Worktop Express are deservedly a major online supplier for all types of Worktops. They make ordering straightforward thanks to their online Bespoke Worktop Tool for designing and importantly selecting cutting services. Meaning you can receive ready to fit worktops via their own careful courier fleet straight to your door. Finally, we have no hesitation in saying that the quality and finish of our solid oak worktop is absolutely perfect after a half a year of usage.