I nearly lost it big time time recently, when being helped in the kitchen to chop apples. Vast amounts of apples needed to be chopped because I was making chutney. Not that I wasn’t grateful for their help you understand, but my assistant had started to chop the apples directly on the top of my work top, no chopping board! This is a cardinal sin in my book, as not only will the knife ruin the work top surface, it also blunts the edge of the knife.
My assistant argued that as the surface was stone, surely it couldn’t hurt. Stone work top surfaces, whether granite or natural stone or a composite are brilliant, hard working heat resistant and fairly easy to keep clean, but will scratch and at worse chip if abused. Like anything it has to be looked after, they are not indestructible.
Formica work tops are good too, hard wearing, easy to keep clean, but not resistant to heat as stone tops, but chop anything directly on the top and you will get knife cuts in the surface which ruin the surface and will harbour germs.
Solid wood work tops are widely used too, and yes I know they are wooden the same as chopping boards, but have you seen the surface of a well used chopping board? Your work top will look the same, and far more expensive to replace than a chopping board. Regularly oil the top of your wooden work tops to maintain them. Wood is not as heat resistant as stone surfaces and require more maintenance than both stone and formica work tops, but have a lovely look and feel to them, and are worth the effort.
Why not have different work top surfaces around different areas of your kitchen. Perhaps stone around the sink and ‘wet areas’ and cooking area near to your cooker and hob. You could also have a wooden work top on an island or breakfast bar. If your’e really into cooking you could also have a slab of marble inset somewhere for rolling for pastry and of course a built in chopping board specifically for chopping!