The Worktop Fabricators Federation has launched an all-industry guide to help showroom staff and consumers select the right type of worktop for their needs.

“Too often, consumers are led to believe an engineered or natural stone worktop is bullet-proof – only to end up disappointed after children have climbed on it, hot pans have been placed on it, harsh chemicals have been used to clean it or the supporting cabinetry has shifted in response to floor-compounds or plaster drying and shrinking,” says WFF director Mark Mills.

“Call-backs and disappointments are costly and uncomfortable for all concerned – especially when we know so many of them could have been avoided by better hand-holding during the selection process.”

The WFF’s new Guide to Engineered and Natural Stone Surfaces was launched at the KBB Kitchens, Bathrooms and Interiors exhibition on March 7.

The guide steers a road between manufacturers’ detailed cutting instructions on the one hand, and customers’ unsubstantiated assumptions on the other.  The result is an authoritative, readable, no-nonsense guide to the selection, care and maintenance of worktops in quartz, granite, marble, quartzite and sintered stone materials.

Its opening introduction, for example includes a useful table comparing common worktop types (including wood, laminate and glass) in terms of ease of maintenance, coping with hot pans, cleaning, cutting and outdoor use.  Along with advice to:

“Relax. There are many myths created around looking after stone. The single greatest myth is that it should be bulletproof. Nobody ever said this. We do not expect wood to be impervious to everyday wear and tear, nor do we expect carpets or other surfaces to be bulletproof. All surfaces will wear in different ways. But your WFF fabricator will educate you about how the different surfaces will perform and on how best to look after them further in this guide…”

To back the launch, and to encourage kitchen showrooms to join in with educating their customers, the WFF has produced neat A6-size point of sale vanes.  Designed to stand discreetly on in-store displays, the mini-posters carry a QR code which enables customers to download the detailed guide directly from the WFF’s website.

“We know professional kitchen studios share our concern when customers feel they have been over-sold the benefits of a stone worktop,” says Mark Mills.

“None of us wants disappointed customers. And none of us benefits when the stone industry seems to be failing to live up to its promises – even if they are promises nobody who understands stone would ever have made in the first place.

“The answer is to work together to manage customers’ expectations — and better professionalise the whole process of choosing, specifying, maintaining and above all enjoying a well-performing, fit for purpose stone worktop.

“This guide is a first small but vital contribution to helping our industry’s customers along that journey.”

The WFF guide can be downloaded free of charge at:

Studios can obtain the A6 point-of-sale for use in their showrooms from the WFF’s secretary at: .

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