Kitchen Renovation Tips: Choosing Kitchen Benchtop Materials


The kitchen, often referred to as the heart of the home, is where culinary magic happens, and memories are crafted. The kitchen bench is the centrepiece of most kitchens worldwide. This is why the selection of kitchen benchtop materials is of utmost importance. Whether you’re renovating or building a new kitchen in a new home, choosing a benchtop shouldn’t be taken lightly.  

The benchtop is often one of the first things you notice when walking into a kitchen, and it plays an integral role in most kitchen tasks. Food preparation, post-dinner clean-up, and even something as simple as making your morning coffee happen on it. The benchtop is also the place where kids sit to do their homework, guests hover with their drink of choice, and family members gather to discuss life’s important questions (such as “What do you want for lunch?” and “Do we need milk?”).

Understandably, there’s a lot of pressure when it comes to choosing the right benchtop for your kitchen. This is where this comprehensive guide comes in. It can provide you with a better understanding of the various kitchen benchtop materials you can choose from. This is to ensure that you make an informed choice when it comes time to pick the bench top material for your kitchen.

Understanding the Different Materials You Can Choose for Your Kitchen Benchtop

black kitchen bench top material
A benchtop is a long-term investment item, not something you’ll change every year or two, so it makes sense to put some serious thought into the selection process. Every benchtop material has its own story, reflecting its aesthetic appeal and functional attributes. Here’s a list of some of the most popular options available to you and what makes them unique.

Granite – A natural marvel, granite is revered for its unique patterns and robust nature. Each slab is a piece of art, offering a luxurious touch to kitchens. While it’s a long-term investment, its durability ensures it remains timeless.

Marble – Marble is the epitome of luxury. Its unique veining and cool touch make it a favourite among many homeowners. However, it’s softer than granite and can be prone to staining, making it essential to seal regularly.

Laminate Laminate kitchen benchtops have come a long way. Modern manufacturing techniques have elevated this material’s quality, making it a cost-effective alternative that doesn’t compromise on aesthetics. It’s versatile and available in various designs that mimic pricier materials.

Stainless Steel – A modern choice when it comes to kitchen benchtop materials, stainless steel is hygienic, heat-resistant, and offers a sleek, professional look. However, care should be exercised when it’s chosen since it can show scratches and fingerprints over time. This material will also require regular cleaning to prevent tarnishing and the buildup of grime.

Timber – Timber or wooden kitchen benchtops exude warmth and rustic charm. Keep in mind however that these timber kitchen benchtops, while perfect for traditional or country-style kitchens, will require careful and very specific maintenance to prevent drying or warping.

Quartzite – A quartzite benchtop has numerous attributes, one of which is its resilience. This material is harder than granite, making it exceptionally durable against scratches and daily wear and tear. It also has natural veining and rich textures that offer a luxurious aesthetic that can rival the beauty of marble. High-quality quartzite is priced as a true kitchen investment.

Quartz – Made from a blend of natural quartz and resin, this choice combines durability with aesthetic appeal. The non-porous nature of this bench top material resists staining and bacteria, and they come in a wide range of colours and patterns without needing regular sealing. Note, however, that they’re not as heat-resistant as some natural stones, so using trivets for hot pots is advised to prevent damage.

Engineered StoneEngineered stone benchtops combine the beauty of natural stone with enhanced resilience. Made from crushed stone and resins, they resist stains, scratches, and bacteria. Their manufacturing allows for diverse colours and patterns, suiting various aesthetics. One drawback of this choice is it’s sensitive to high heat, so using protective pads for hot items is essential to prevent damage.

Concrete – Customisable and contemporary, concrete benchtops are for those seeking an industrial edge. These, however, require regular sealing to prevent staining but can be tailored to fit any design or colour preference.

Porcelain and Ceramic Tile – These classic sisters, the porcelain benchtop and ceramic tile benchtop, are a durable option and can come in a vast array of designs. One downside of this choice is the grout lines, which can be a maintenance challenge, requiring regular cleaning to prevent staining. It can also look rather dated if you’re using it in a modern kitchen, but it can look spectacular when used in a retro-style kitchen.

Considerations for Selecting Kitchen Benchtop Materials

Aside from the design and material, there are several factors that will also influence the final choice you make when it comes to renovating your kitchen. Here are some of them:

Cost – Before picking your final option, establish a kitchen renovation budget to narrow down choices. Try to strike a balance between your overall budget and quality to ensure not only staying within budget but also the lifespan of your kitchen benchtops.

Durability – Consider your kitchen’s daily demands. If your kitchen is constantly used, more durable materials might be your best choice. Always remember that high-traffic kitchens will require hardy kitchen benchtop materials.

Maintenance – Understand the level of care each material demands. Some materials, like marble, require more care than others. If you can’t commit to taking proper care of your chosen bench top material, opt for low-maintenance ones over those that require additional care.

Aesthetics – No matter how much you love a specific bench top material, if it doesn’t fit your kitchen design, it will look rather off. Always ensure the material you pick complements your overall kitchen design. Your kitchen benchtop materials should resonate with your kitchen’s overall theme.

Design Tips for Selecting Your Bench Top Material

neutral coloured benchtop material
Before you can choose kitchen benchtop materials, you need to think about what design aesthetic you’re hoping to achieve. Bear in mind that certain kitchen styles rely more on colour than material. For example, charcoals, metallics, and dark wood grains look great in contemporary kitchens, while pastels are seen in most retro kitchens.

Regardless of what material you choose, always remember that your benchtop should be in harmony with the kitchen’s overall design. Here are some ideas to help you make your choice:

Matching with Kitchen Cabinetry – Cohesive colour schemes create visual appeal. A harmonious colour palette between the benchtop and cabinetry can create a seamless look.

Creating a Modern Look – Sleek lines and reflective surfaces enhance modern designs. Consider materials like stainless steel or quartz for a contemporary touch.

Complementary Flooring Material – Your bench top material and floor should also create a harmonious look together. They should complement each other, not compete or clash horribly, like plaids and stripes.

Ask Experienced Kitchen Designers for Bench Top Material Advice

Planning a kitchen renovation is both exciting and daunting. The benchtop, being a central element, is one thing that demands careful consideration. It’s not just about aesthetics – it’s about choosing a surface that will witness countless meals, endless conversations, and years of memories.

If you want help choosing the right kitchen benchtop materials to suit your kitchen design, budget, and lifestyle, don’t hesitate to make a free showroom appointment with our expert team here at Craftbuilt. Our experienced kitchen designers come with over 45 years of industry experience, so you can rest assured we can help you choose the perfect bench top and create that new kitchen that is ideal for you.