Worktop Express Blog

Oct 31

Harlow Showroom Now Open

It’s official, our Harlow showroom – situated just north of London – is now officially OPEN! Our team has been beavering away for the last few months to get this brand new warehouse on the West Road full operational, with the depot side of things having been up and running since August; however, the showroom portion has been a work in progress, and we’re finally ready to welcome customers to visit and see our wares!

Take a trip to the showroom and you’ll find five kitchen sets, completed with a range of solid wood work surfaces, including luxurious full stave oak, opulent American walnut and many more.

If you are interested in our solid wood floating shelves, then pay us a visit to see them up close and personal, along with many of our other worktop accessories. There are also samples of all of our worktop materials on hand to take away, along with a full range of kitchen cabinets and samples from our sister company, SolidWoodKitchenCabinets.co.uk.

If you are in the early stages of planning your kitchen, then why not come along and get some inspiration? The showroom will be open each Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday (i.e. we are closed on Wednesday and Sunday only), from 9am-5pm. Visitors are not required to make an appointment, although if you are travelling a little way to get here then do let us know, so that we can make sure that the right person will be available to answer all your questions.

If you’re in the West or South West of England, don’t forget we also have a showroom at our Gloucester HQ – do pay us a visit, we love welcoming new guests!

Harlow Showroom Map

Oct 27

Our fabrication service has gone from strength to strength over the last year, and we’ve worked hard to increase capacity and efficiency by investing in some top-notch machinery and refining our in-house processes.

After a period of extensive research and development, we have decided to introduce a new oil to our pre-oiling service: an industrial composition known as HABiol. This product offers increased efficiency in both drying and curing times, whilst providing an excellent level of protection; moreover, it is both compatible with our oiling machine and with our preferred oil for worktop maintenance, Rustins Danish Oil.

Rustins Maintenance Kit

This improvement will, we hope, allow us to continue to cut lead-times for fabrication and pre-oiling orders whilst producing the fantastic quality products our customers have come to expect. It will also mean that there will be only one type of oil (Rustins) recommended and sold by us for all worktop maintenance – whether you have ordered bespoke or DIY real wood work surfaces.

All fabrication customers (or those that have selected the pre-oiling option only) will receive worktops that are treated and ready for installation, but must apply one coat of oil immediately after installation (and three coats to newly-cut edges). As such, we have partnered with Rustins to produce a handy kit for post-installation maintenance. The Rustins Maintenance Kit contains everything required for the early stages of a worktop’s ‘life’ in your kitchen: 2 x de-nibbing pads, 3 x foam brushes, a pair of nitrile gloves, 2 x lint-free oiling cloths, 125ml of surface cleaner and 1 litre of Danish oil. A kit will be automatically added to all fabrication quotations as standard (this is for your convenience, but the item can be removed by request if necessary).

For more information on our oil types and their recommended applications, please view our pre-oiling information guide or visit our FAQ page.

Oct 24

According to a recent report by the UK’s largest consumer body ‘Which?’, one in four people have had problems with deliveries from online stores some time in the past 12 months. 60% of people surveyed said they shop online because of the convenience of having a product delivered, and whilst shopping online is supposed to make our lives simpler, it turns out that some retailers are shirking most of the responsibility for a product as soon as it leaves their warehouse – fortunately, the same cannot be said for our service.

At Worktop Express® we have spent a great deal of time developing our own fleet of 2Man delivery vans in order to have full control over the entire process: we can now guarantee fantastic quality from the time that the customer initially places the order and right through the order arriving at his/her chosen address, because the order never leaves our hands.

A third of the people surveyed by Which? said they were frustrated with not being able to choose a suitable delivery time, whilst 26% said that not being informed of the time their goods would be delivered was also a major gripe.

We take great pride in our in-house 2Man delivery team, and whilst we cannot always allow customers to choose the exact time at which their order is delivered, we always give our customers notice of their two hour delivery timeslot via email the day before delivery of their wood block counters, as well as a courtesy call from the delivery team 30 minutes before they are due to arrive. We even offer next day delivery on orders placed before 11am.

Other frustrations found by Which?’s survey include delays in receiving an item (15%) and getting goods that were damaged (11%). At Worktop Express® are proud to have a 99% first delivery success rate, and thanks to the combination of quality training given to all our delivery team members – as well as specialist reusable padded packaging – it is extremely rare to hear of products arriving at a customer’s address in anything other than top condition.

Below is a list of Which?’s top and bottom 10 performing online stores that were included in their survey.

TOP 10

  • 1. WexPhotographic.com 91%
  • 2. JohnLewis.com 90%
  • 3. LizEarle.com 89%
  • =RicherSounds.com 89%
  • 5. AO.com 87%
  • =Lakeland.co.uk 87%
  • =Toolstation.com 87%
  • 8. ChainReactionCycles.com 86%
  • =Coopelectricalshop.co.uk 86%
  • 10. AbeBooks.co.uk 85%

BOTTOM 10

  • 90. Shop.BT.com (BT Shop ) 58%
  • = Halfords.com 58%
  • = Isme.com 58%
  • 93. ToysRUs.co.uk 57%
  • 94. HMV.com 55%
  • 95. PCWorld.co.uk 54%
  • = TomTom.com 54%
  • 97. Homebase.co.uk 51%
  • 98. WHSmith.co.uk 49%
  • 99. DIY.com (B&Q) 47%

It was a shame to see that some of our competitors have been named as being within the bottom 10: anything that will damage a customer’s trust in the online experience is bad for all within the industry. Please rest assured that our service is consistently excellent and we really can be trusted to deliver a fantastic product from start to finish – as evidenced by our 5 star rating on independent review site Trustpilot (a score that is calculated via 5,000+ reviews).

We’re continually investing in our delivery service, and are just about to open our 2nd delivery depot in Harlow, north of London (read more about this in our recent blog post). We are also planning a 3rd delivery depot to serve the north of England, which will open soon.

For delivery of smaller items, we use the DPD courier service, who also provide 1 hour timed delivery slots, meaning that even if you order a worktop sample you’ll know exactly when it should arrive.

Whilst every effort is made to make our delivery proposition the best it can be, we do welcome any suggestions, so feel free to get in touch if you have any feedback.

Oct 20

Judson Beaumont

Sometimes it’s nice to daydream about living in a fantasy world, where straight lines don’t dominate design, and everything isn’t quite what it seems.

This kind of free-thinking is usually confined within the walls of Disney Land, but Judson Beaumont – a designer from Vancouver, Canada – has turned his fantastical ideas into a reality after setting up a company that specialises in making one-off wood furniture centrepieces that would be ideal for a child’s bedroom, or grown-up kid’s living room.

Straight Line Designs

Beaumont’s peculiar designs include a chest of drawers that look like a dress on a hangar, a bench that looks like a half-opened tin of sardines, a wardrobe that has arms and legs, and many other characters with clear influence from the world of Disney.

The furniture, manufactured by his company ‘Straight Line Designs’, sells for in excess of £3000, and is often composed in response to bespoke commissions from wealthy families looking for something unique for their child’s bedroom.

‘When people see the work, typically there is a big smile, then a few laughs along the way as they realise that the piece is fully functioning’ said Beaumont, citing architects such as Frank Gehry and designers such as Philippe Starck and the Disney Imagineers as his main influences.

Our worktops may not be as wacky as these wonderful wooden creations, but they’re an ideal centrepiece for your kitchen. If you do need something a little more unusual, then don’t hesitate to get in touch – our fabrication team are incredibly skilled at creating bespoke kitchen worktops.

Oct 17

Full Stave Oak Solid Workbenches Now on Sale!

It should come as no surprise that oak is one of our most popular timbers. A beautiful wood with a distinctive grain pattern, gorgeous golden colouring and natural resilience, oak makes a perfect work surface for any kitchen.

Whilst our standard oak worktops and Deluxe oak worktops are wonderful products, there’s not much that can beat our full stave variant. Full stave solid workbenches are made from a number of extra-wide 90mm staves that run – as the name might suggest – the full length of the worktop. These luxurious surfaces are the ideal centrepiece for a wooden kitchen, but can also be repurposed as an extravagant dining table-top, office desk and much more besides.

Good news, then, that we’re offering up to 10% discount on our 2m and 2.5m full stave oak worktops for a whole month (October 15th until November 11th inclusive)! We have already applied the discount, so there’s no need to worry about entering a code at checkout; moreover, discounts also apply to fabricated worktops of this type and size, but not to the fabrication services themselves, so please take this into account if using our Online Bespoke Worktop tool.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to see our full stave oak worktops up close, then first take a look at some of the examples in our worktop gallery, some of which have had unique bespoke adjustments made by our talented fabrication team.

If you like what you see, but want to get hands-on with our timber before placing an order, then why not order one of our worktop samples? They’re made from current worktop stock so as to be a true representation of the quality of our timber, and are just £5 including next-day delivery. If you then decide to place an order, the cost of the sample will be deducted on a like-for-like basis!

Oct 13

Back in August, we told you about our new delivery depot, located just north of London in Harlow. Though we have offered a nationwide delivery service for some time, the new depot has already increased our capacity to a great extent; and, as the service develops, we will be able to offer many more time-slots to customers in the South East of England.

We’re also opening a second showroom at the same premises as our depot, to show off our beautiful solid wood kitchen tops in a number of fully-fitted kitchen environments.

At Worktop Express® we do like to keep our customers in the loop, and so we thought we would share our ‘work in progress’ with you as the depot gets up and running and the showroom is installed – here goes!

Installing the kitchen showroom

A blank canvas: Our new warehouse in Harlow is brand new, purpose-built and was entirely empty before we moved in, but the position is absolutely perfect for us – close to local retail parks with busy shopping areas. All that space will soon be home to racks filled with our beautiful kitchen worktops, ready to deliver directly to customers in London and the South East.

The buildingThe showroom takes shape: Finishing the room

The showroom takes shape: In an adjoining unit, our new showroom and reception takes shape. The showroom will house five kitchen setups to showcase a range of our worktops alongside cabinetry and other kitchen fittings from our sister company, Solid Wood Kitchen Cabinets.

Our first kitchen set

In go the kitchens: Our first kitchen set is installed, featuring gorgeous iroko worktops with matching upstands alongside traditional cabinets painted in Farrow & Ball’s ‘Farrow’s Cream’. There’s still plenty of work to do – the kitchen will feature hot rods next to the hob and plenty more bespoke alterations by the time it’s complete.

Belfast sink and painted plate racksclassic oak worktops and our solid oak floating shelves

Belfast sinks, plate racks & more: Two more of our kitchen sets start to take shape. On the left, a Belfast sink and painted plate racks take centre stage amongst prime oak worktops in this galley-style kitchen set. The right-hand kitchen has some more traditional extras with classic oak worktops, and our solid oak floating shelves above a Belfast sink.

Keep your eyes peeled for an update in the near future, as we hope to open our new warehouse and showroom to visitors very soon. In the meantime, if you’d like to see the quality of our wooden worktops, why not order one of our worktop samples? They’re only £5 including delivery and a great representation of the quality on offer.

Also, don’t forget that we’ve got a fully kitted-out showroom open just outside Gloucester where you can view a wide range of wood worktops in situ: with so many terrific timbers on display, you’re sure to find inspiration (if needed!)

Oct 10

Autumn Flash Sale: 10% off Real Wood Worktops

At Worktop Express® we never miss out on an opportunity to offer our customers real wood worktops and a variety of other worktop accessories at the best price possible.

With our autumn ‘Flash Sale’ we are knocking 10% off almost all of the kitchen worktops in our range (standard oak and beech are excluded), as well as many other beautiful wooden products such as our solid oak floating shelves and recently expanded range of solid wood cutlery drawer inserts. Please note that bespoke fabrication services and samples are also excluded from this offer, though our worktop samples are still great value at only £5 delivered. If you are planning on placing an order any time soon, then act fast to make the most of this additional saving – the sale will be over at 23:59 on Tuesday the 14th of October, so there is only a few precious days remaining in which to save.

To make the saving, simply enter the code FLASH10 at our online checkout, or mention the code to one of our friendly sales advisers when placing an order via telephone or email.

Oct 06

Walnut is an unmistakable timber that is accredited as one of our finest worktop materials. It’s both aesthetically beautiful and very hard wearing, with plenty of character thanks to a strong grain pattern and varied colour. It is no real surprise, then, that it has earned the highly-deserved title of October’s product of the month.

Walnut is prized by furniture makers and woodworkers alike for its distinctive lustre and is often used in the manufacture of luxurious items such as car interiors, guitars, gun stocks and an array of high-end furniture.

Our walnut worktops are made of a combination of 40mm wide sapwood and heartwood staves, meaning you will see a combination of lighter coloured staves with a relatively tight grain, alongside darker coloured staves with a more ‘curly’ figuring that has unmistakable appeal. If you would like a walnut worktop that shows off the beauty of this timber in an even more opulent way, then do also consider our Deluxe walnut worktops; they have even larger 90mm staves.

If you’d like to see examples of walnut up close, why not order one of our worktop samples, or come along to our Gloucester showroom, where walnut worktops are featured in one of the nine themed kitchen sets on display.

Choose European walnut worktops from Worktop Express® and enjoy one of our favourite solid wood worktops without breaking the bank – indeed, walnut and many other kitchen worktops are on sale until the 14th October! Don’t miss these fabulous savings: our friendly sales team are waiting to take your order on 0845 22 22 644.

October’s Kitchen Worktop of the Month - European Walnut

Oct 01

10% Off Wooden Workbenches & More in Our Autumn Flash Sale

The nights are drawing in now, so we thought it was a good time to introduce a flash sale and brighten up your week! We’ll be offering a fabulous 10% discount across nearly every item in our range; but these bargains are too good to last, so this sale will only run for 14 days. If you want to save on your new kitchen wooden workbenches, then you had better act fast!

You can enjoy the brilliant savings on offer by using the code FLASH10 at our online checkout, or when placing an order over the phone with our sales advisers. This applies to the majority of our catalogue, with the only exceptions being fabrication services, worktop samples, standard oak and standard beech worktops – these two worktops are so popular that we wanted to give some of our other excellent timbers a chance to shine.

Until the end of the day on October 14th, you can save 10% off a huge selection of classic and exotic timbers, Deluxe variants and opulent full stave worktops, as well as our range of worktop accessories (including our new and very popular solid wood floating shelves).

So, if you have been looking at our worktop collection, now is the perfect time to push the boat out and treat yourself to something rather special. The discounts on offer mean that even the most luxurious items in our range are bargains: Deluxe Oak worktops come in well under £160, for example, and black American walnut worktops start at just £175.50!

If you’re local to our Gloucester showroom, why not come and take a look at some of our outstanding quality products. There are eleven worktops on display within nine inspiring kitchen displays, alongside samples of all 27 of our worktops, and many more quality kitchen products to see.