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Date posted Jan 23, 2024
Updated on Jan 23, 2024

Benchtops for the kitchen – from choosing material to installation guide

Modern kitchen benchtops are the place where the most activity takes place during meal preparation. You’re likely to see it a lot, so it’s important that you love it and choose the right one for you and your budget. It pays to do research when it comes to choosing the best kitchen benchtops. We often focus on what looks good but when replacing kitchen benchtops we should also consider other factors, finding the perfect balance between style, functionality, and budget.

Choosing from different kitchen benchtops is a complex decision. It is easy to be seduced by the shine of a stone kitchen benchtop in the shop. However, the process of choosing a new kitchen benchtop involves a comprehensive understanding of various materials, their practicality, and maintenance requirements. In this Trendstyle blog, we will explore the decision-making process of updating a kitchen countertop, taking into account personal preferences and practical considerations.

Benchtops are the largest horizontal surfaces in the kitchen. They can be a focal point of the room. Many homeowners are unsure how to choose one. Consider what is most important to you, your family and how you live. There are a few hints to help you:

    1. Kitchen design for achieving a luxurious look;
    2. Choose materials, capable of withstanding the rigours of daily use;
    3. A benchtop that resists stains, scratches, and heat contributes to a hassle-free upkeep routine;
    4. Maintaining a hygienic kitchen is easy with non-porous and resistant to bacterial growth materials;
    5. Consider the environmental impact of your choices;
    6. Balance benchtop opulence with budget considerations.

Kitchen benchtop materials

You can choose from a wide range of kitchen benchtops in Australia to create a truly unique kitchen. These benchtop materials can bring new aesthetics and benefits to your kitchen. The variety of materials available goes from classic engineered stone kitchen benchtops to innovative recycled benchtop materials, each option brings its own set of characteristics.
Not only the look that is evaluated but also the durability and maintenance requirements of your kitchen benchtop material. Let’s navigate through the best material for kitchen benchtop choices available, shedding light on their unique qualities, style nuances, and practical advantages.

Kitchen stone benchtops

Stone slabs for kitchen benchtops have become a popular choice for homeowners seeking a perfect blend of elegance, durability, and functionality. When considering a kitchen stone benchtop, the first thing to understand is the distinction between engineered and natural stone options, each offering its own set of characteristics and benefits.

Engineered stone kitchen benchtops Natural stone kitchen benchtops
Engineered stone, often made from a blend of crushed natural stone and resins, can look very realistic. This manufacturing process allows for a wide range of colour options and patterns.
A natural stone benchtop for the kitchen lets you make a truly personal decision. You can choose your slab in the warehouse. Each piece is available for you to choose from.
Engineered benchtop kitchen stone is renowned for its durability, resistance to stains, and minimal maintenance requirements.
Natural stone kitchen benchtops may require more maintenance, such as cleaning, polishing and sealing. It also depends a lot on what agents you use for your kitchen surfaces.
Depending on the style, you can pay up to the same amount as for a natural stone bench or even less.
A stone slab can be expensive, and rare depending on how it is finished.

The choice of the best stone for kitchen benchtops depends on your personal preferences, budget, and lifestyle. Ultimately, both options can elevate your kitchen’s aesthetics and functionality, you just need to select the right material.

What stone to choose?

Each material brought its charm and practicality to the cooking space, making the decision-making process both exciting and enlightening. The key is understanding your preferences, lifestyle, and willingness to invest in maintenance to make the best choice for your kitchen.

  • A marble kitchen benchtop is a beautiful option for a high-end kitchen if price is not an issue. The main reason why people choose marble kitchen benchtops is that they are more luxurious and add a wow factor to any design. While marble for kitchen benchtops is a soft and porous product, it requires constant maintenance. Spills must be cleaned up immediately, and the marble benchtop for a kitchen should be sealed at least every 6 months. It’s important to remember that a kitchen marble benchtop is delicate and must be treated with care.
  • Granite is an excellent choice for your kitchen benchtop if you want it to be luxurious and expensive. With the proper maintenance, granite kitchen benchtops are extremely durable and will last a lifetime in your home. Granite performed exceptionally well with tempting to minimal abrasion. Scratches could only be seen under bright light on kitchen granite benchtops. The material is porous, so you will need to seal it to provide stain resistance.
  • If you want something practical, quartz will do. quartz kitchen benchtops have a wide range of colours and patterns and are not as costly as marble or granite. For engineered quartz, you won’t even need to seal the material because it’s non-porous. The only drawback of quartz material that is resistant to staining and heat damage is that it is prone to chipping.
  • Earthy tones and unique veining patterns of travertine kitchen benchtops created a visually captivating surface. However, travertine requires diligent maintenance to prevent staining, and its susceptibility to scratches. Despite these concerns, a travertine kitchen benchtop shears beauty and warmth, adding a timeless and natural elegance to the kitchen.
  • Limestone, with its natural charm and soft, muted hues, added a touch of classic beauty to my kitchen. The subtle variations in colour and texture created a warm and inviting atmosphere. While a limestone kitchen benchtop is relatively softer than other stones, it requires more careful handling to prevent damage and staining. For those who appreciate a patina that tells a story, limestone is an excellent choice.

Timber kitchen benchtops

Wooden kitchen benchtops are a popular choice, as they add warmth and character to a room. Kitchen benchtop wood lets you choose from a variety of species for the tone you desire. Staining wood comes in all kinds of colours, creating a beautiful appearance, from the oak kitchen benchtop to the deep hardwood kitchen benchtop. Wood has a unique look that suits great in modern and traditional kitchens. Kitchen timber benchtops can become even more beautiful with age.

Timber can be a good material for sustainable kitchen benchtops. However, it is susceptible to scorch marks and scratches. Regular maintenance is required to maintain the wood kitchen benchtop appearance. However, wood kitchen benchtops can be repaired by sanding off the surface and refinishing in polyurethane or oil. Before using a wood benchtop for the kitchen, it will be necessary to apply a coating. A timber benchtop can be coated with polyurethane to protect it and make it safe for use in the kitchen. Oil must be applied annually, while polyurethane can last longer.

The cost of wooden benchtops for the kitchen is between mid and high. Butcher blocks made in a factory are usually the least expensive. A wooden kitchen benchtop custom-made from rare and exotic timbers can be quite expensive. If it comes to solid timber kitchen benchtops, expect natural variations as each piece will be unique.

Modular lengths are available for a kitchen with a wooden benchtop and can be cut to your specifications. Kitchen with timber benchtop custom lengths are available for longer runs or widths. timber benchtops for the kitchen are available for installation on your own or have them professionally installed.

Alternative kitchen benchtops

In this section, we explore a diverse array of materials that have been making waves in kitchen design, offering alternatives that go beyond traditional benchtop choices. From the industrial charm of concrete to modern designs, we navigate through the features that define their popularity. Discover the seamless, flexible, and vibrant or budget-friendly and versatile options that offer a myriad of styles and finishes.

  • Concrete kitchen benchtops have become popular in recent years, as industrial trends have increased. Since cement kitchen benchtops are handmade, no two benches are exactly alike. A polished concrete kitchen benchtop is extremely durable and you can even have a sink made from the bench. The weight of a kitchen concrete benchtop is comparable to that of natural stone. Hot items can go on without causing harm. But avoid dropping or knocking concrete, particularly the edges and corners which are susceptible to chipping. Concrete is precast offsite and delivered as a finished material to the site to maintain control. For a more creative concrete benchtop kitchen design it can be poured at the site.
  • The most important reason to go with porcelain kitchen benchtops in Australia is that they are fireproof and are not affected by hot pots. This defines their popularity in outdoor cooking areas. Ceramic kitchen benchtops are extremely scratch and wear-resistant. This means that they will still look great in 20 or 30 years.
    The price per sheet can range from $750 up to $1000. You won’t have to seal the porcelain kitchen benchtops, and they come in large sizes. The edges and corners may chip if they are hit.
  • Acrylic kitchen benchtops are a relatively recent option, worth considering. These surfaces are seamless, flexible, and non-porous, perfectly suitable for a kitchen worktop. They are stain and scratch-resistant and approved for food zones.
    Acrylic comes in many colours, textures and patterns, creating either marble look kitchen benchtops or concrete look kitchen benchtops. Those made of acrylic are perfect for any type of kitchen, whether it is modern or traditional. Acryl offers matching sinks and basins that seamlessly integrate to create a minimalistic look. These are available in many unique patterns and colours, making them an attractive alternative.
  • Laminate kitchen benchtops offer a variety of new styles for a low price. In the available ranges, you can find textured hardwoods, solid colours, matte or concrete-look kitchen benchtop finishes. There are also many edge profiles and finishes available so it would be difficult to look through all the options.
    Kitchen laminate benchtops can be easily cleaned but they are prone to edge chipping and scratches. When preparing food, always use a chopping board, since laminate for kitchen benchtops is not heat-resistant. While kitchen benchtop laminate prices may vary depending on the thickness and finish, it is still the most cost-effective benchtop option. Kitchen benchtops from laminate can be easily installed by DIYers. You can buy a laminate kitchen benchtop in straight lengths and cut, edge, and join it by yourself.
  • You can create a rustic atmosphere in your kitchen by using a bamboo kitchen benchtop. Bamboo is a great option if you choose affordable and environmentally friendly kitchen benchtops. While bamboo kitchen benchtops add aesthetic pleasing to the interior, they have to be maintained properly to save their beauty. You can seal affordable kitchen benchtops either with oil, or polyurethane.
  • Stainless steel kitchen benchtops are a favourite of professionals, but it can also provide the worktop texture that you like in home kitchens. A stainless steel kitchen benchtop is heat-resistant and can be used to seamlessly cover the worktop and splashback. It makes a stainless steel benchtop kitchen easy to maintain and a very hygienic option. Stainless steel kitchen benchtop with sink will wear and scratch with time. However, repolishing them every 5-10 years will restore their original shine.
  • A tiled kitchen benchtop offers a variety of design options. Even though porcelain is the most common material there are other materials available, though. With kitchen benchtop tiles’ advantages of being hygienic, resistant to heat, stains and scratches you get the perfect cooking space. Also, tiles can be cut to fit any size.

Kitchen benchtop types and settings

Tailoring your kitchen benchtop to your specific needs and preferences is made possible with most kitchen benchtop types. From choosing the material, colour, and texture to determining the size, depth, and thickness, different types of kitchen benchtops allow you to create a personalized focal point that complements your overall kitchen design.


Accurate measurements are the backbone of a functional benchtop. Ensuring kitchen benchtop size precision is crucial for seamless integration with appliances and efficient use of the kitchen space.
Consider the kitchen benchtop width to make sure it meets all your cooking and preparation needs. It is recommended to have at least 1000 mm of uninterrupted bench to feel comfortable with most cooking activities. Kitchen benchtop depth is typically 600mm to 650 mm with the standard overhang of the floor cabinet (20mm). A sleek, neat look may be achieved by having the benchtop depth match that of your refrigerator.
Kitchen benchtop thickness contributes to the visual impact and durability of the bench. For engineered stones, such as kitchen marble benchtops, it is 20 mm, and frequently recommended to consider a double-edge buildup for a luxurious look. For a laminate or timber benchtop kitchen it is on average 30 – 33 mm. Of course, it should be installed following your kitchen zone plan. Whether you opt for cheap kitchen benchtops or robust surfaces, finding the right balance is key to achieving the desired look and practicality.


When choosing the perfect kitchen benchtop, the options extend far beyond mere aesthetics. There are countless settings, each bringing its unique design and functional purpose to your meal preparation surface.
A kitchen benchtop overhang is an extension of the benchtop beyond the supporting cabinetry. This extension creates additional space that can serve various purposes. Overhang leaves room for base cabinet hardware so you do not touch it while cooking. If you have an extended benchtop, you may be interested in accommodating seating arrangements such as bar stools or chairs.
Benchtop overhangs are not only practical for creating a designated space for dining but also break up the vertical and horizontal lines in the kitchen and create a sense of depth and dimension. The dimensions of the overhang are a crucial consideration in kitchen design, ensuring that there is enough space for comfortable seating without compromising the structural integrity.
For a touch of contemporary elegance, consider a kitchen benchtop with a waterfall edge. This is usually a custom kitchen benchtop design that extends the bench material down the sides, creating a continuous flow from the horizontal surface to the vertical sides. The result is a seamless and visually striking element that adds a modern and sophisticated vibe to your kitchen.
Seamless kitchen benchtops with a splashback, create a cohesive and streamlined appearance. The absence of visible joints or seams enhances the overall aesthetics. Besides giving your kitchen a polished and unified look, it simplifies maintenance, as there are fewer crevices for dirt and grime to accumulate.
In conclusion, the world of kitchen benchtops offers a myriad of choices, allowing you to tailor your culinary space to your taste, budget, and lifestyle. Whether you opt for a waterfall edge for modern flair or a seamless design with a splashback for a polished look, each type brings its own charm to your kitchen environment.

Kitchen benchtop installation secrets

A successful kitchen benchtop replacement requires more than just choosing the right materials. A new kitchen benchtop installation will be one of the final steps in your renovation. In this section, we’ll delve into the essential secrets of installing kitchen benchtops, ensuring optimal functionality, longevity and visual appeal.

    1. Proper support and reinforcement
      Functionality starts with a sturdy foundation. A level and robust support structure is essential for preventing sagging or potential damage when replacing kitchen benchtops. This is especially true for marble or stone kitchen benchtops as they can not be installed without fully levelling.
      Base cabinetry will usually support your benchtop. But what about the area around your appliances? For instance, Behind the cooktop, a slide-in range will have a 50 mm benchtop strip. Cutting kitchen benchtops is usually carried out on sites to avoid damage, as it is difficult to move after being cut. Another common problem is when the benchtop meets a dishwasher. It will not support the bench, so it is necessary to add some structural support at the side. Adding reinforcement, especially for heavy kitchen stone benchtop installation, and incorporating support brackets enhance the stability your benchtop needs to handle daily kitchen activities.
    2. Seam placement and integration
      Seams may appear when the cooking surface is large and wide or the kitchen layout involves corners and you have to combine two pieces of slub instead of a whole one. Minimizing seams while changing a kitchen benchtop is not just an aesthetic concern; it’s also about functionality. Strategically placing seams far from moisture from a sink and heat from a cooker contributes to a longevity surface, and makes it easier to clean and maintain. It is especially important when replacing kitchen benchtop laminate, because its edges are not water-resistant and can deform by moisture.
      Also, address challenges related to patterned materials joining. It is advisable to purchase extra bench material to ensure a beautiful pattern.
    3. Sink attachment
      Before installing a kitchen benchtop, make sure you have the sink on site. When installing standard undermount or dropped-in sinks your contractor will need to make sure the sink fits properly into the cabinet. If the sink does not fit in the cabinet, it may need to have some modifications made.
      If you’re installing an apron-front sink, pay attention to the point where the front of the counter and the sink come together. Some sinks are designed with a notch in which to fit the countertop.
    4. Sealing and finishing
      Sealing after replacement kitchen benchtops is paramount for protecting against stains, water damage, and bacterial infiltration. And for some kitchen benchtops, those from marble, concrete or wood it is a necessary condition for their functionality. Choosing the right sealing option based on material characteristics ensures a hygienic and long-lasting surface. Finishing touches, also contribute to the benchtop’s good appearance by increasing resistance to daily wear.

Professional installation vs. DIY

While DIY installations may seem cost-effective, functionality often comes from professional expertise. Skilled labour ensures precise measurements, avoiding potential issues that might arise from a less-experienced approach. Understanding the considerations for changing kitchen benchtops helps homeowners make informed decisions aligned with the long-term functionality of their kitchen.


Why is it crucial to choose the right kitchen benchtop?
The kitchen benchtop is the focal point of meal preparation and a significant visual element in your kitchen. Choosing the right one ensures a perfect balance between style, functionality, and budget.
How to choose from different materials for a kitchen benchtop?
Each material, from a wooden benchtop for the kitchen to timber and a kitchen concrete benchtop, has unique characteristics affecting maintenance, durability, and aesthetic appeal. Understanding these aspects is crucial for a functional choice.
What are the differences between engineered and natural stone kitchen benchtops?
Engineered stone is a benchtop slab, which is composed of roughly 90% crushed stone and bound together by polymer resin. It offers a wide range of colour options and patterns, known for durability and minimal maintenance. Natural stone, on the other hand, allows a more personal selection of slabs but may require more maintenance.
What is the role of support and reinforcement during kitchen benchtop installation?
Functionality starts with a sturdy foundation. Adequate support prevents sagging and potential damage, especially crucial for heavy or overhanging benchtops. Such reinforcement ensures your kitchen can handle daily activities.

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