Kitchen Worktop Thickness – Info, Advice & Why It Matters
Kitchen worktop thickness may not be the first thing on your mind when dreaming up a new kitchen.
However, it’s more than just millimetres or inches; it’s about merging aesthetics, functionality and durability.
In this post, I’ll go over kitchen worktop thicknesses for a variety of materials, talk about why worktop thickness is important and answer some common questions about the topic.
Let’s get into it!
What Is The Standard Kitchen Worktop Thickness?
The most popular kitchen worktop thicknesses are 20, 30 and 40mm (approx. 3/4, 1.2 and 1.5 inches). However, there’s no set ‘standard’ thickness.
When it comes to kitchen worktops, the thickness can vary based on the material and the style you’re aiming for.
You’ll typically see most stone worktops (man-made or natural) available as 20 and 30mm and most laminate and wooden worktops as 40mm.
Obviously, there are lots of exceptions to this, which is why there’s not really a ‘standard’ worktop thickness.
As a kitchen design expert, my personal advice when it comes to worktop thickness has always been:
📐 20mm for contemporary kitchens.
📐 30/40mm for traditional (classic) kitchens.
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Kitchen Worktop Thicknesses
I’ve listed some of the most popular kitchen worktop materials and given the most common thicknesses they are available in as well as the use cases for these and a little bit of general information on each. 😀
|Worktop Material||Common ‘Standard’ Thicknesses|
|Compact Laminate||12mm/13mm, 20mm|
These thicknesses are the most common, but it’s worth noting that other thicknesses may also be available depending on the brand and specific product.
Laminate Worktop Thickness
Laminate worktops offer a versatile and cost-effective solution for various kitchen styles. They are available in a variety of thicknesses, with the most common standard thicknesses being 22mm and 38mm.
- 22mm: Ideal for modern or minimalist kitchen designs, these thinner worktops provide a sleek appearance while saving space.
- 38mm: More suitable for traditional or busy kitchens where durability is essential. They provide a substantial feel and can withstand daily wear and tear better than thinner options.
The different materials used in laminate worktops, primarily a chipboard core with a laminate sheet bonded on top, lend themselves well to varying thicknesses. The laminate sheet is generally very thin, while the chipboard beneath provides the thickness and durability
Compact Laminate Worktop Thickness
Compact laminate worktops are most commonly available around 12mm or 13mm thick. Although some brands offer compact laminates up to 20mm thick.
- 12mm – 13mm: These thinner compact laminate worktops are suitable for modern or minimalist kitchen designs. Their sleek appearance can complement a contemporary aesthetic while still providing a durable surface.
- 20mm: Thicker compact laminate worktops are ideal for more traditional kitchen designs.
The structural integrity of compact laminate worktops comes from their homogeneous construction, often comprising layers of craft paper impregnated with resin. This construction provides excellent dimensional stability, impact, moisture, scratch, and abrasion resistance, irrespective of the thickness chosen.
- Popular Brands: Some of the notable brands known for their compact laminate worktops include Formica (Axiom) and Duropal.
- Types: Compact laminate worktops are available in a wide variety of styles, finishes, and colour-coded cores. You can find everything from stone-effect and wood-effect laminates to solid colour laminates.
Wood Worktop Thickness
Wood worktops exude a classic charm and warmth, making them a traditional favourite for some.
They are available in a variety of thicknesses, with the most common standard thicknesses being around 30mm and 40mm. (They may be 27mm and 38mm but you get the idea)
- 30mm: Ideal for a mix of traditional and modern kitchen designs, 30mm thick wood worktops provide a balanced look that’s not too hefty yet substantial enough for everyday kitchen tasks.
- 40mm: More suitable for traditional or rustic kitchens, 40mm thick worktops offer a robust and solid feel, capable of withstanding the daily rigours of a busy kitchen.
The inherent strength and durability of wood as a material lend itself well to these varying thicknesses. The thickness of a wood worktop not only impacts its visual appeal but also its functional usability and longevity.
- Popular Types: The market is rich with a variety of wood types including oak, walnut, beech, and bamboo, each bringing its own unique grain patterns, colours, and characteristics to the table.
Granite Worktop Thickness
Granite worktops are revered for their stunning natural aesthetics and robust durability. They are typically available in 20mm and 30mm thickness, with 30mm being the more common and preferred choice due to their substantial feel and enhanced durability.
- 20mm: Ideal for a sleek and modern look, 20mm thick granite worktops are less bulky but still offer a level of elegance and durability that is characteristic of granite. They may be preferred in contemporary kitchen designs where a slim profile is desired.
- 30mm: More suitable for traditional or high-end kitchens, 30mm thick granite worktops provide a more substantial and luxurious feel. They are capable of withstanding heavy use and potential impacts, making them a practical choice for busy kitchens.
The dense and hard nature of granite makes it a suitable material for varying thicknesses. Its natural strength and resistance to scratching, chipping, and heat damage are not significantly affected by the choice of thickness, although thicker slabs will naturally provide more material to resist severe impacts.
- Popular Types: There’s a good selection of granite slab types categorized by colour, pattern, and origin. Popular types include Absolute Black, Alaska White, and New Venetian Gold.
Marble Worktop Thickness
Marble worktops are synonymous with elegance, adding a touch of luxury to any kitchen. Typically, they are available in thicknesses of 20mm and 30mm, similar to granite worktops.
The choice between these thicknesses often boils down to personal preference and the design aesthetic you’re aiming for.
- 20mm: Ideal for contemporary or minimalist kitchen designs, 20mm thick marble worktops offer a sleek and sophisticated appearance. They provide a delicate balance between aesthetic appeal and functional utility.
- 30mm: More fitting for traditional or opulent kitchen settings, 30mm thick marble worktops exude a sense of luxury and solidity.
The beauty of marble lies in its unique veining and soft tones, which are well-displayed in both thicknesses. However, the thicker the marble, the more pronounced the veining can appear, providing a more dramatic visual impact.
- Popular Types: There’s a wide range of marble types each with unique veining and colouring. Popular types include Carrara, Calacatta, and Statuario marble, each with its own unique blend of colours and patterns.
Quartz Worktop Thickness
Quartz worktops are among the most popular countertop materials. They are typically available in thicknesses of 20mm and 30mm, although some brands also offer 12mm quartz slabs for worktops, splashbacks (backsplash) or wall claddings.
- 20mm: Ideal for modern or minimalist kitchen designs, 20mm thick quartz worktops offer a sleek and contemporary appearance. Despite their thinner profile, they still maintain a high level of durability, making them a suitable choice for everyday kitchen use.
- 30mm: More suitable for traditional or luxurious kitchen settings, 30mm thick quartz worktops exude a sense of solidity and luxury. They are more durable and can withstand greater impact compared to their thinner counterparts, making them a practical choice for busy kitchens.
The engineered nature of quartz allows for a range of thicknesses without compromising on the material’s inherent durability. The choice of thickness can subtly alter the aesthetic and functional appeal of the worktop, aligning with personal preferences.
- Popular Brands: Notable brands known for their quartz worktops include Silestone, Caesarstone, and Cambria.
- Types: Quartz worktops are available in a vast array of styles and finishes, mimicking the appearance of natural stone, concrete, or even unique geometric patterns.
Ultra-Compact Worktop Thickness (Sintered Stone/Porcelain Composite)
Ultra-compact worktops, (sometimes referred to as sintered stone, porcelain composites or ceramic worktops – I’m grouping these together), provide a sleek and modern option for kitchens.
They are typically available in worktop thicknesses of 12mm and 20mm with some brands (Dekton) now offering 30mm as well.
- 12mm: This provides a sleek and modern look perfect for a contemporary or minimalist look. It’s suitable for everyday use in kitchens, providing a robust surface without being too bulky.
- 20mm: This is a more traditional thickness, lending a substantial, sturdy feel to the worktop.
The nature of this type of material allows for these variations in thickness while maintaining a high level of durability and resistance to scratches, stains, and heat. The denseness ensures that even thinner sections remain strong and resistant to daily wear and tear.
It’s quite common to see thicker 50mm+ worktops in this material that will have been ‘built up’ using a substrate to create the desired thickness.
- Popular Brands: Some notable brands include Dekton, Neolith, and Lapitec.
- Types: There’s quite a variety of finishes to mimic different materials such as marble, granite, or concrete, giving you a wide range of aesthetic choices.
Acrylic Worktop Thickness
Acrylic worktops, known for their seamless look and repairability, come in various thickness options to cater to different aesthetic and functional needs in the kitchen. The most common worktop thickness is 38mm.
This is typically made up of a 12mm solid surface (acrylic) material wrapped around a moisture-resistant MDF subframe.
- 12mm: Typically just the acrylic solid surface itself with no subframe. These thinner acrylic worktops are ideal for modern, contemporary kitchens.
- 38mm: The most common ‘standard’ thickness. 38mm acrylic worktops are more suited for traditional-looking kitchens as the thicker worktops offer a substantial feel.
- 50mm+: As acrylic worktops are built up with a subframe they can in theory be any thickness you like. Having an extra thick worktop can give your kitchen a chunky robust feel, as well as influence the final worktop height, which might be helpful if you’re on the taller side.
Acrylic worktops are primarily made of a blend of natural minerals and polymer-based plastic, which is formed into a solid surface. This composition allows for a range of thicknesses, catering to diverse needs and design preferences.
- Popular Brands: Corian by DuPont is probably the best-known brand in the acrylic worktop market. Other notable brands include HI-MACS and Staron.
- Types: Acrylic worktops come in a huge range of styles, colours, and finishes, allowing for a high degree of customization to match different kitchen decors.
Why is Worktop Thickness Important?
The thickness of your worktop isn’t merely a design choice, but an important decision that affects aesthetics and functionality.
When it comes to aesthetics, the thickness of your worktop can drastically alter the feel of your kitchen. A sleek, thin worktop can bring a modern, minimalist allure to the space, while a thicker worktop can evoke a sense of solidity and traditional elegance.
It can also play a role in determining the type of edge profile you can have. Thicker worktops provide more material to work with, allowing for a variety of edge profile options such as bullnose, ogee, or a chiselled edge which can give a rich and luxurious feel.
On the other hand, thinner worktops may be limited to simpler edge profiles like a straight or bevelled edge due to the lesser material thickness.
On the practical front, the thickness of your worktop affects its functionality in a significant way. For instance, a thicker worktop may offer a more comfortable working height, especially for taller individuals, ensuring ease of use over time.
As well as this, the thickness of a worktop can directly impact the size of unsupported overhangs for seating areas. The size or depth of overhang you can have without additional bracing largely depends on the worktop material and its thickness.
Thicker worktops can generally support larger overhangs without requiring additional support, thanks to the increased material strength that comes with greater thickness.
Thicker worktops, owing to their increased weight and dimensions, may need additional structural support to ensure they remain stable and secure over time.
This might include reinforced cabinetry or the addition of support brackets, especially in areas with overhangs or spans over open spaces.
The weight of thicker worktops can place substantial stress on the supporting structures, making it important to ensure that these are robust and adequately strong.
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Cost Implications of Worktop Thickness
Generally, thicker worktops entail a higher material cost due to the increased amount of material used. Additionally, the manufacturing process of thicker worktops might require more time and resources, contributing to a higher price tag.
Standard vs Custom Thicknesses
When it comes to standard versus custom thickness, standard-thickness worktops are usually more cost-effective. They are produced in larger quantities, and the manufacturing process is streamlined to minimize costs.
On the other hand, opting for a custom thickness can elevate the cost substantially. Custom thicknesses are less common, and the unique specification may require special manufacturing processes or additional labour to achieve the desired thickness.
This bespoke service inevitably comes with a higher cost.
It’s also important to factor in the installation costs. Thicker worktops are heavier and may require more labour or special equipment for installation, potentially increasing the installation costs.
If budget constraints are a primary concern, opting for a standard thickness or a thinner worktop in a particular material could provide a more economical solution.
It’s essential to weigh the cost implications against your design preferences, functionality needs, and long-term value when choosing the worktop thickness for your kitchen.
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What is the most popular worktop thickness?
The most popular worktop thickness tends to be 20mm or 30mm for stone materials like granite, marble, and quartz.
However, the popularity of a particular thickness can also depend on the specific material and the prevailing design trends. It’s always a good idea to explore different thicknesses and materials to find what resonates with your personal taste and the design theme of your kitchen.
Can I customize the thickness of my worktop?
Yes, many manufacturers offer customization options for worktop thickness, although this service can significantly increase the cost. Custom thickness allows you to get a worktop that perfectly aligns with your design vision and functional needs.
However, it’s crucial to note that not all materials may be available in custom thicknesses, and the availability might vary from one manufacturer to another.
There you have it! My guide to kitchen worktop thicknesses.
From the aesthetic appeal of sleek thin worktops versus the traditional elegance of thicker ones to the practical functionality concerning working height and unsupported overhangs for seating areas. There’s more to think about than may meet the eye.
Understanding the implications of your choice will ensure you are content with your kitchen for years to come.
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Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.