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Worktop Express Blog

Mar 17

At Worktop Express, we have made a commitment to sourcing the timbers we use for our wooden work surfaces responsibly. We go to great lengths to ensure we are using sustainable wood, and that includes supporting the International Tree Foundation (ITF) in their work within the UK and in Africa.

75-year-old Pa Emmanuel of the Dom community taking care of his prunus seedlings

In July last year, we wrote about the work that ITF were planning on undertaking in Cameroon with their Community Assistance in Development (COMAID) project. The aim of the project is to establish a ‘Food Forest’ to provide nutrition and income for the local residents of the Dom community. The forest exists within the buffer zone of a 472 hectare Dom community forest in the Bamenda Highlands in North West Cameroon, and contains 354 different plant species: 23 of which are currently threatened, 12 which are new to science, and 5 which are endemic to the forest.

In the initial phase of the project, ITF supported the planting of 19,842 trees, and have reported subsequently that close to 18,000 of these still survive. Monitors, who have been equipped with boots and cutlasses by COMAID, regularly patrol the forest to prevent illegal activities and clear fire breaks around the newly planted areas. So far, fire outbreaks in the Dom forest have been prevented.

The Dom community forest management institution

The second phase will oversee the planting of 15,000 more trees along the remaining buffer whilst continuing to protect the trees that have already been planted. Hands-on training will be provided for 50 community tree planters and training for early forest-based conflict crisis warning signals and resolution will be given. ITF will also work to reorganise the Dom Dialogue Platform within the Dom Community Forest Management Institution to ensure it is more gender sensitive. This phase of COMAID will culminate in July 2017, and we will provide you an update when the project has been completed.

If you would like to learn more about our long-term commitment to sustainability, our environmental policy page has additional details.

Feb 27

This February we have offered a host of fantastic savings for customers looking for either solid iroko worktops or for any other products totalling over £300.

Until 23:59 tomorrow – Tuesday 28th of February – customers can save up to 10% on any of our solid iroko worktops. The worktops have already been reduced in price, making it really easy to order the worktops you want at a price you’ll love.

Order by 23:59 on Tuesday 28th and get FREE 2Man delivery in England and Wales on orders over £300.
Order by 23:59 on Tuesday 28th and get FREE 2Man delivery in England and Wales on orders over £300.

If you are interested in any of the other wooden or laminate worktops in our collection, you can also make a fantastic saving if your order comes to over £300. 2Man delivery to our standard areas within England and Wales usually costs £25 for the first worktop and £15 for each additional worktop, but until 23:59 tomorrow the delivery is free if you spend more than £300, saving you up to £85 in delivery charges.

To save, simply pick the worktops and other accessories you require and the cost will be discounted automatically at our online checkout. Alternatively, place your order via telephone or email and a member of the sales team will be happy to discount the cost of delivery for you; our sales lines are open 8am – 7pm today and tomorrow.

If you want to find out more about our 2Man service, visit the delivery details page.

Jan 30

Endgrain butcher blocks are an elegant, unique food preparation space for kitchens.

End grain butchers block worktops are a unique feature for kitchens, and look particularly stunning when positioned on kitchen islands.

These hard-wearing food preparation spaces are available in circular and rectangular forms and – thanks to their solid wood construction – can be set into any kitchen island with relative ease.

Whichever worktops already feature in your kitchen, our choice of maple and walnut, maple, walnut or oak endgrain butchers block surfaces are guaranteed to provide a unique talking point.

Endgrain butcher blocks are not only a beautiful hardwood interior addition, but also provide an incredibly resilient surface on which to prepare food. This is down to a vertical stave construction that exposes the hard-wearing endgrain of the wood, which is perfect for cutting upon.

If you are looking for a bespoke endgrain butchers block, we are able to cut them to size and add a range of edge profiles at our Gloucestershire worktop fabrication facility. We can also provide bespoke larger sizes and different thicknesses, which are made to order with a five-week delivery time.

To see more images of our butcher blocks, please visit our worktop gallery. End grain butchers blocks are on show at each of our worktop showrooms, where samples are also available to take away.

Jan 09

Pinterest is a great platform on which to gather ideas and inspiration for your wood worktops. This list has been put together to showcase the most popular boards on our page.

Prime Oak

It is no surprise that our Prime Oak board is amongst the most popular we have on Pinterest. One of our most commonly-purchased timber types, Prime Oak is a favourite with many due to the quality of the timber and the worktop’s seamless appearance (in this form the staves are specifically chosen for their consistency in colour and grain pattern). Naturally very strong and hardwearing, oak is an easy choice to make when it comes to selecting wood worktops for your home. Want to know more? Our Prime Oak worktops were picked as July’s Worktop of the Month in 2016 – please take a look at our dedicated blog for further details.

Camden Solid Wood Worktops Showroom

Our Camden Showroom opened in August 2016 and has proved a fantastic success thus far. For prospective customers who wish to see our wood worktops in the flesh, a visit to one of our worktop showrooms will provide great insight into what we can offer. We have a number of showrooms dotted around the country, but we also offer a sample service that allows you to see how one of our wooden worktops would look in the comfort of your home.

Caramel Bamboo

Caramel Bamboo is an elegant alternative to our standard bamboo worktops, with a honey-coloured hue that has always proved incredibly popular. As one of the most environmentally-friendly choices we have on offer, bamboo is technically not a wood, but a grass; so not only does it look beautiful, but also makes an excellent conversation starter!

Installing Wooden Worktops

When you order one of our wood worktops, you’ll make a huge saving against comparable products from high-street kitchen retailers. Fitting your own kitchen can mean further savings, so it makes sense that our board about Installing Wooden Worktops is so frequently visited. We offer a range of installation accessories, too, allowing you to order everything you need to fit your worktop at the same time as purchasing your surfaces.

Customer Kitchens

Finding out how other people have integrated their wood worktops into kitchens, bathrooms, and offices is a great way to get inspired. Our Customer Kitchens Pinterest board features a variety of examples in a range of different settings, providing a clearer view of our fitted worktops – and the beautiful, functional aesthetics that can be achieved with them!

You can find all these boards and plenty more on Pinterest. Remember, too, that if you’d like your kitchen to be featured in our ‘Customer Kitchens’ gallery, please do share your pictures with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Jan 02

Start the New Year by Sampling Our Kitchen Surfaces

In 2016 we expanded our range of solid wood worktops quite considerably as well as introducing a large range of highly-affordable laminate countertops.

With so much to choose from, we understand that picking new kitchen surfaces can be a difficult decision, which is why we offer a comprehensive worktops sample service. No matter what surface type you’re considering – whether your preference lies with solid hardwood or laminate – samples are available for each of the worktops in our collection.

Our wooden worktop samples are cut from existing worktop stock and measure 200mm x 150mm x 40mm. Each one is fully sanded and comes pre-oiled on one side to allow you to appreciate the appearance of the finished timber. Our laminate samples, by contrast, are supplied in a pack that includes a small sample of every type of laminate surface in our range, allowing you to compare them easily in the comfort of your own home.

All samples are priced at just £5 including free next-day courier delivery. If you go on to order worktops from us, we will happily refund the cost of the samples on a one-for-one basis. Simply speak to a member of our sales team when placing your order and we will be pleased to discount the sample’s cost from the total.

Samples can also be viewed at each of the Worktop Express showrooms; at present there are six branches – all of which are situated at accessible locations throughout the UK – with new sites due to open in 2017.

Dec 30

Our brand new Camden showroom is now open in the heart of the capital.

2016 has been an incredible year of highs and lows for many businesses across the country, but here at Worktop Express we have continued to build on last year’s success and have made some truly amazing progress towards our goal of becoming the leading online worktop retailer in Europe.

The year kicked off with two brand new showrooms opening in Warrington and Redhill way back in January, and since then, we have opened another flagship showroom right in the heard of London on Chalk Farm Road in Camden. Further showrooms are planned for other key locations across the country, more news of which we hope to share with you in the New Year.

Throughout the year we have added fantastic new products to our online store on a regular basis, with exciting additions such as our wooden kitchen trolleys and kitchen sinks alongside a vast new range of laminate worktops, which are both easy to maintain and incredibly affordable (prices start at just £60).

Our directors were delighted to be chosen as an investment opportunity by the Business Growth Fund.

In October, we were very proud to announce that the Business Growth Fund is investing £3 million into our parent company to further expand our operation in UK and Europe. Over the next few years we hope to use this investment to further increase our product range, expand further into Germany, and launch a new delivery service in many parts of France.

What a year it’s been! We’re so thankful to all our customers for their continued support, and we look forward to an equally exciting 2017.

To see what we’re all about, why not visit one of the Worktop Express showrooms? We now have six locations open across England, with more opening soon!

Dec 23

Wishing you a very merry Christmas from everyone at Worktop Express!

It’s been a wonderfully busy autumn for the Worktop Express team. Indeed, we have delivered a whopping 21,500 worktops to customers throughout England, Wales and parts of Scotland since October 1st, meaning that during this time we delivered a worktop approximately every 6 minutes!

2016 has also seen some huge growth here at Worktop Express, with three new showrooms opening; new warehouses required to hold our ever-expanding range of worktops and other kitchen products; and as many as forty 2Man vans now delivering orders every weekday.

We have also been incredibly fortunate to receive the support of the British Growth Fund, which has pledged to invest £3 million in Direct Online Services (the company behind Worktop Express and our sister brand, Solid Wood Kitchen Cabinets).

But we won’t rest on our laurels: we look forward to touching base with you regarding further developments in 2017, with new showrooms planned and new ranges of worktops and other products to get excited about.

For now it only remains for us to wish you a very merry Christmas and a joyous New Year!

Nov 07

Unless otherwise requested, any substantial offcuts that are created during the fabrication process are delivered alongside the corresponding bespoke solid wood worktops. If you’ve received your solid wood worktop offcuts and are wondering how best to use them, never fear: simply read on to discover five great ways to upcycle them!

Wood date block made from solid timber.

Image courtesy of Alibaba

Wooden Date Blocks

If you have received worktop offcuts from our walnut worktops, you are likely to have sections of pale sapwood and dark heartwood in your possession. These are ideal if you would like to make wooden date blocks with contrasting colour tones. Cut 40mm thick worktop offcuts into blocks measuring 40mm3, with an 80 x 20 x 40mm block to sit underneath. If you like, you can cut thinner pieces to create a convenient stand, too.

Teak wood soap dish made form solid wood.

Image courtesy of Amara

Solid Wood Soap Dish

Creating a solid wood soap dish is easy, and a particularly good choice for offcuts from our iroko worktops, which have a high oil content that makes them especially hygienic and more resistant to water ingress. Use a 120 x 80 x 20mm section of timber and add smooth edge profiling for an elegant finishing touch.

Solid oak heart-shaped decorations with string

Image courtesy of Andra Home

Hardwood Hearts

These decorative hardwood hearts are simple to make if you have offcuts from bespoke solid oak worktops. They are fairly easy to cut with a small band saw and should be sanded to ensure any sharp edges are removed. Use a wood drill with a small bit piece to add a hole, and accessorize with brightly-coloured ribbon or string.

Wooden pot for storing plants or pens.

Image courtesy of Afloral

Wooden Vase

Solid wood vases look especially elegant when made from a pale timber like maple or a dark and luxurious wood such as wenge. Simply cut a narrow section from your offcuts, cut into squares of equal sizes, and join using glue or small nails. You can also use this vessel to accommodate small house plants or store pens.

Solid wood mobile phone stand.

Solid Wood Phone Stand

A solid wood phone stand can make a handy accessory for kitchens, especially if you are using it to follow a recipe online. They also look excellent in a timber that coordinates with your wooden worktops. Using your timber worktop offcuts, cut a piece of wood to 150 x 60 x 40mm. Add a groove 50mm from the front.

Whenever cutting solid wood worktop offcuts, please be sure to wear eye protection and follow the guidelines laid out by the manufacturer if using any technical equipment. Finally, sand away any rough edges and add a coat of Danish oil to nourish the timber.

If you have created a handy kitchen gadget from your own worktop offcuts, we would love to hear from you. Please share your pictures with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Oct 21

Martyn and Will Rees founded Direct Online Services Ltd in 2009.

Martyn and Will Rees, Co-Founders of Worktop Express

Direct Online Services Ltd is the online retailer behind prominent kitchen worktops brand Worktop Express and oak kitchen supplier Solid Wood Kitchen Cabinets (as well as a number of other acclaimed brands). We are pleased to announce that the company has just secured an investment of £3 million from the Business Growth Fund to support further expansion.

Founded by father and son team Martyn and Will Rees in 2009, one of the company’s primary aims is to supply high-quality, sustainably-sourced kitchen components at truly affordable prices. The company already operates in the UK, Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland, and is excited to have secured the funds to expand further into Germany and launch a new operation in France.

‘The business has grown rapidly in the past seven years and we have continued to make investments in our team, infrastructure, operations, sales and marketing,’ commented Martyn Rees.

Will added: ‘With this substantial investment, we plan to expand our product range as well as our presence in the UK and overseas, and hope to become the leading online worktop retailer in Europe’.

The Business Growth Fund was formed in 2011 to provide long-term growth capital for fast-growing SMEs in the UK. Backed by five of the nation’s most prominent banking groups – Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS and Standard Chartered – the independent organisation helps ambitious businesses reach their full potential.

Direct Online Services Ltd now employs almost 200 people and predicts turnover to exceed £25 million this year. You can find out more about our flagship brand on the Worktop Express ‘About Us’ page.

Oct 17

Ecosia is a search engine that uses its advert revenue to plant trees.

Anyone who is a fan of our hardwood worktops will know about our passion for sustainable and ethical sourcing, and that we are strongly committed to our rigorous environmental policies. But did you know about this one easy change you can make to minimise your own carbon footprint?

Ecosia is a search engine company based in Berlin, Germany, which donates 80% of its surplus income to not-for-profit organisations with a focus on conservation. Launched in December 2009, its current emphasis is on tree planting, whilst it ensures all of its business operations are C02-neutral and all its financials transparent.

Powered by BING, a search engine owned and run by Microsoft, Ecosia displays adverts on its search results pages. The company is paid for every click on a sponsored advert, an amount which varies depending on the search term. If a web user clicks on an advert after searching for what is categorised as a higher-value search term, the advert revenue from this one click could pay for a number of trees.

Within two years, the search engine raised more than €250,000, and 116,000 seedlings were planted thanks to Ecosia’s donations. Today, the figure stands at more than 5,337,000 trees planted in total – and around €2,886,000 donated – so you can see how far the project has come. The company aims to plant one billion trees by 2020.

We strive to become ever-more sustainable in all our processes and have collaborated with the International Tree Foundation (ITF) for several years to support tree-planting projects across the UK and Africa. Find out more about our pro-environmental endeavours in our recent project update.