What Is A Waterfall Worktop? – Pros, Cons & Everything Explained

A waterfall worktop creates a sleek, contemporary look in any kitchen design by providing a seamless, flowing work surface. But what exactly is it?

In this post, I’ll explain what a waterfall worktop is, its pros and cons as well as answer some popular questions about the topic.

Let’s dive in!

What Is A Waterfall Worktop?

A waterfall worktop (waterfall end) is when the worktop material drops down from the counter at a 90-degree angle and runs down the side of a cabinet to the floor. Typically found at the exposed end(s) of a kitchen island or run of cabinets.

Waterfall worktops (waterfall countertops) are a popular trend in kitchen designs. It can become a dramatic centrepiece and focal point for your kitchen island or add a touch of luxury to your space.

An experienced stone worktop fabricator will match the grain and veining of your stone slab so that it looks like the worktop is carved from a single piece of rock and has a continuous flow down the edge of a cabinet.

White Quartz Waterfall Kitchen Island
White Quartz Waterfall Kitchen Island

The Difference Between a Waterfall Worktop and a Waterfall Edge

Sometimes you may see a waterfall countertop edge listed as an option to finish your custom worktops. Instead of a full piece of worktop material that runs down to the floor, the front edge of the counter has an extra strip of stone attached with a hidden join.

The result is a seamless edge that makes the worktop look like it is thicker. It offers a crisp and clean finish that pairs well with contemporary cabinetry. Sometimes a waterfall edge is described as a stacked or mitred edge. 

Often times the term waterfall edge is used when describing a waterfall countertop. But there is technically this difference when it comes to your kitchen worktops.

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Pros Of A Waterfall Worktop

  • Trending style that complements your contemporary kitchen design
  • Adds a polished appearance to your island
  • Dramatic and eye-catching
  • Can be built using a wide range of materials

Cons Of A Waterfall Worktop

  • A contemporary trend that may fade in popularity and become dated.
  • Expensive upgrade as it significantly adds to materials and labour.
  • Potential for the waterfall to be damaged in a lively household.
  • Limited edge design

Waterfall Worktop Materials

You can have a waterfall worktop made out of nearly any material. Waterfall worktops can be made out of the following countertop material:

  • Granite
  • Quartz
  • Soapstone
  • Marble
  • Concrete
  • Solid Surface
  • Laminates
  • Butcher Block or Wood
  • Quartzite

A waterfall worktop is usually created in one of two ways. A mitred joint or a butt joint.

A mitred joint is when each edge of the worktop is angled at 45 degrees and the two pieces join together so the visible joint is right on the corner of the two pieces. It gives a neater finish and a more premium look. Having a mitred joint will normally cost more.

A butt joint is when one piece is positioned on top of the other. With a kitchen counter, this will be the main worktop slab on top of the top edge of the waterfall slab. The joint will be visible from the side. This method is much easier and cheaper to install as there is less fabrication work involved.

Adhesive will be used to secure the worktop joints to one another as well as to the cabinet side to fix the waterfall worktop vertical drop securely in place. Biscuit or box joints may also be used to secure the two pieces together, typically if the worktop is thicker or when using laminate or timber.

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Waterfall Worktop Costs and Considerations

A waterfall worktop can add as much as £2,000 to the price of a standard stone worktop. Depending on the type of material, how much is required and the fabrication method.

Adding a waterfall worktop is a great option for your upscale custom kitchen or bath renovation. If you are building on a budget, consider that you will need an extra square metre or more of worktop material. If you are using quartzite, that tags an extra £1,000 to the cost of the slab. For a laminate project, you are looking at £100 or so.

The cost of fabrication (CNC / numerical control laser cutter) also increases as their extra piece will need cutting, edging and finishing. A mitred edge will be more expensive than a butt joint edge. You could be looking at another £500 to £800 for fabrication costs for stone /solid surface worktops.

Finally, there may be additional costs for the installation of a waterfall worktop. Most stone fabricators/installers will have already factored this into their price. However, if you’re creating a waterfall worktop from timber or laminate then there will be extra work for your kitchen fitter/builder.

Are waterfall countertops still in style?

Yes, waterfall worktops remain a very popular and desirable worktop design. Especially for contemporary kitchens. The trend first appeared about 10-15 years ago as kitchen islands and open-concept living became more popular.

Will it last? If home builders return to a more traditional floorplan with enclosed kitchens, this trend may become a fading fad. However, I think this design trend will be around for many years to come as the open-plan concept shows no signs of going away.

Final Thoughts…

There you have it! Everything you need to know about waterfall worktops.

Waterfall worktops are a great way to add a contemporary and upscale look to your modern kitchen design. However, the extra costs associated with them may put some off. As with everything in kitchen design, it’s what you like and where you want to allocate your budget!



Michael from Kitchinsider.com

Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for around 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.