Growing in popularity, Quartz Kitchen Islands and Peninsulas provide much needed additional worktop space, additional storage, and more importantly, they offer different viewpoint perspectives as well as a socialising place to meet. Incorporating breakfast bars, sinks or hobs can also free up space elsewhere on your worktop. Islands are also a great way of adding contrast to a kitchen, by way of having a different colour for the island to the worktops. The contrast option also makes for a lower initial kitchen worktop cost, and enables a kitchen to be updated at low cost if you fancied a change after a few years.
We are not here to tell you how big your island should be; however, there are limitations on slab sizes that may impact the look of a quartz kitchen island. There are several methods that a large island can be fabricated if exceeding slab size, all of which will require an additional slab of material. If the island top is larger than 3 - 3.2m, a center join would be the best way to achieve balance and symmetry. Ideally, any island end panels (drop / waterfall ends) would benefit aesthetically if pattern or vein matched, this also requires some considerations on slab sizes. If pattern matching, carefully choosing the closest matching section from a second slab would be essential for best results. For vein matching, selecting a surface that is available as a book matched surface (veins that are designed to join in 1 or 2 directions when slabs are put side by side to allow symmetry) would be the best option.
Considerations on island size must include your choice of material and the maximum slab size that it is available in. Not all slabs are available in the larger Jumbo Format size, and although they only differ by 10-30cm, the extra provided has a vast impact on the possibilities, and can substantially affect cost. Quartz brands vary in the manufactured slab sizes and range from 3m - 3.3m in length, and width, from 1.4m - 1.6m. These dimensions depend wholly on whether your chosen surface is a standard or Jumbo format.
Most quartz kitchen islands are rectangular and either run parallel to the worktop or sit proud of an 'L-shaped' or 'U-shaped' kitchen as a divider to a living or dining space. Curved corners are becoming increasingly popular, and follow the curve of the units underneath; even bespoke radius curves on breakfast bars have seen some action recently. Small radius curves on a square or rectangular island are also a good idea for the safety of youngsters running around the house! Quartz is versatile and as long as it fits and can be cut on the CNC machine, you can have any shape you like.
Book matching is achieved by aligning 2 slabs of material from the same block together. The resulting symmetry is what is called book matching (butterfly join). Natural stone Marble, is the most commonly used material for book matched veins, because it boasts the veins to do so. engineered quartz manufacturers imitate natural stone in all their products, allowing for a wider choice with higher resistances than marble. Quartz maybe a better choice for hard wearing quartz kitchen islands for durability and ease of maintenance. There are several designs of veined quartz, such as calacatta, that are available as book match surfaces, generally though, higher in cost as two slabs of quartz will be required for the matching.
Large spacey kitchens with plenty of room for an island or peninsular are able to make a statement by maximising on the veins or designs that quartz offers. Centre fold, boxing, drop profiles, end panels, in fact a multitude of designs could be fabricated making something very unique.
End panels are a superb design extra for the end of an exposed worktop length or on one or both ends of an island as a wrap. The continuation of a worktop into a waterfall (end panel) can look amazing in any material. If you have chosen to opt for a waterfall end, it may be prudent to opt for a mitre join to help with the vein or the ever more luxurious, book matched vein finish. As previously described in 'Island and slab size', it is important to note that unless you have a small quartz island having 2 end panels to vein match proves more of a challenge without purchasing additional material. End panels are described by many in various ways and you can rest assured knowing that waterfall ends, and end panels refer to the same. Drop sides can be determined as a drop of any distance, not necessarily, from the worktop level to the floor.
Joins with angles, most predominantly end panels can be joined in 2 ways; With butt joins, the worktop rests on top of the vertical end panel. Mitre joining is where both pieces are cut at a 45 degree angle and joined. In most applications, especially worktop designs, not requiring vein matching, a butt join is more than sufficient. For a more elaborate finish, such as book matched veins, it is worth paying the little required for a mitre finsh.
Drop Edges are most commonly used to increase the overall depth of an edge, as 20mm or 30m thickness materials may not be deep enough for your design ideas. We advise that 20mm thickness materials are used for quartz kitchen islands with drop edges, and that they are mitre joined. Overlays using a 12mm thickness quartz are likely to need a drop edge to increase the depth to cover the underlying base worktop surface. Drop edges can be made as deep a profile as preferred; very effective at 150mm around the perimeter of the island, or joined at 45 degrees to 150mm sides that wrap around to make end panels appear boxed. It must be noted, however obvious, that drop edges and boxed finishes do not combine well with radius corners or curves.
Housing a sink or a hob into a quartz island is a great advantage and works best if the island is of a suitable size; the process involved with fabricating is much the same as adding a sink to a worktop run. A benefit of relocating the sink and quartz drainer to the island from a worktop length is the space that can be saved for food preparation. The largest thing to consider is the plumbing work that would need to be carried out. Hobs added to quartz kitchen islands, again, is much the same as cutting for a standard worktop length, but is benefitted by having the space for an extractor behind it, which for us is an additional cut out. Options for ventilation of steam are plenty, and include pop-up, downdraft, and ceiling-mounted overhead hoods.
The standard unsupported overhang for any worktop material is 30cm; therefore extra support maybe required for overhangs that exceed this depth. Care must be taken when deciding on overhang depth as any support, for aesthetic purposes, would be better hidden from sight. Concealed support for larger overhangs can include downstands, end panels, and cross support bars. Other supports may include breakfast bar legs, brackets and marine ply as an overall support; however, these do come with challenges of finding ways to obscure the support. It is advised that you speak with us for advice on how support can be administered.
An average sized 30mm thick quartz island could weigh up to 500kg (half a tonne), so it is important to ensure that any non-standard supporting units are able to take on this weight. Access to the location of the island must also be considered to safely transport the quartz island for installation. Our templating team will assess this on the day of templating and also consider other access concerns, such as parking and upper floors of a flat. It is advised all these factors are taken into account prior to the templator arriving too site, to avoid later disapointment.