The Ultimate Stone Benchtop Buying Guide

The Ultimate Stone Benchtop Buying Guide

Whether you’re refreshing your existing kitchen, renovating or building a new home, one of the most lavish and most desired products of all is a stone benchtop. Nothing quite matches the opulence, style, and durability provided by stone benchtops, which is why they’re on so many Perth homeowners kitchen Wish List.

As Perth bathroom and kitchen specialists, we at Ross’s Discount Home Centre know all too well how significant adding a stone benchtop can be to a kitchen’s overall design and aesthetics. You don’t even have to renovate your kitchen to see the impact; a simple benchtop upgrade to stone will transform a dated kitchen into a contemporary kitchen in a matter of hours.

If you’re looking to modernise your kitchen, completely renovate it, or you’re in the process of building a home, chances are, you have a stone benchtop in mind. To help ensure you choose the best benchtop for your kitchen, we’ve compiled this easy-to-follow stone benchtop buying guide.

Table of Contents:

Benchtop Durability

While you may think the most important aspect of a stone benchtop is its design, it’s actually its hardness and porosity. The harder the stone, the more durable it will be. The lower the porosity, the lesser the chances of it staining or marking from everyday use.

Thus, when shopping for stone benchtops in Perth, a hard non-porous stone will yield the lowest maintenance and greatest longevity. Porous stone has a high absorption rate and needs constant sealing to retain its looks and performance.

Other qualities to be mindful of are its resistance to impact, cracking and chipping and heat. A stone benchtop is a significant investment, so you want to make sure it offers excellent value for money and lasts the test of time.

Types of Stone Benchtops

The first step in selecting a stone benchtop is to understand the options in the market to weigh up the pros and cons of each to find a suiter for your kitchen. The primary four materials used for stone benchtops in Perth are quartz, marble, granite, and engineered stone.

While any of these four materials will provide a stunning result, there are some differences between them in terms of denseness, durability, and price.

Quartz

Quartz is a popular choice for stone benchtops in Perth due to its affordability. It is an economical option because it’s actually a form of engineered stone, not 100% natural stone. Quartz is one of the worlds hardest minerals, with only diamond, sapphire and topaz being harder. Thus, it is an ideal mineral for benchtops.

Engineered quartz benchtops are made from quartz granules mixed with a pigment and resin to create each design. The range of Stone Benchtops you’ll find here at Ross’s Discount Home Centre is also made from quartz, Silestone to be precise. Silestone is an extremely robust product that comes with a 25-year warranty.

In addition to being affordable and hard, quartz boasts some other impressive qualities. It’s non-porous, scratch-resistant, heat resistant, low-maintenance, and doesn’t require sealing. Engineered quartz benchtops are also available in a large selection of colours, patterns, and designs. The natural mineral does not limit them.

It’s hard to find any drawbacks with quartz, but if I had to name one, it would be that because they are engineered, they can have somewhat of a uniform look rather than the organic patterns you would see from a natural stone.

Marble

If budget isn’t an issue, then a marble benchtop would have to consider as the God Tier of stone benchtops. Marble is a metamorphic limestone known for its attractiveness. It’s one of the worlds most beautiful materials, and it never ages – it’s timeless. Marble benchtops exude prestige and luxury, mirrored by their high price tag.

However, you may like to think twice before splurging on this gorgeous material for your kitchen benchtop because, while it scores a 10/10 in the looks department, it doesn’t score so well elsewhere.

Marble is a soft and porous material – two qualities that don’t fare well under the stains of everyday kitchen use. Unfortunately, marble is very susceptible to staining and requires high maintenance to retain its good looks. Being soft, it is prone to cracking and chipping, and being porous, it needs regular sealing to avoid damage.

Marble benchtops are also limited in design. They’re only available in the range of marble available, which are generally tones of white, cream, browns, greys, and black.

Granite

Granite is another great benchtop material. Formed by volcanic action that slowly cooled over time, this igneous rock is known for its unique veining patterns that resemble its original environment. It’s available in a wide range of colours and patterns. Granite offers an elegant look that has similar properties to quartz. It’s hard and dense, highly resistant to chips and scratches, and low maintenance, providing it is sealed.

The drawbacks of choosing granite for a kitchen benchtop is that it has to be sealed to perform well, and it’s a little more expensive than quartz/engineered stone.

Engineered Stone

Engineered stone is a manufactured material that comprises two components; a natural mineral – usually quarts or granite and a binding agent – usually resin or a polyester base.

Engineered stone benchtops are by far the most popular choice in Perth due to their many favourable characteristics. They’re extremely hard, dense, UV resistant, low-maintenance, stain-resistant, impact-resistant, available in a wide range of colours, patterns, and designs, and don’t require sealing.

As mentioned above, our range of stone benchtops is Silestone, a quartz composite that offers a 25-year warranty. You can view our range of stone benchtops here.

Benchtop Design

Once you have selected the type of stone benchtop you want, you can then concentrate on the shape and size of the benchtop. Obviously, your benchtop will need to be as big as your base cabinets. However, other considerations here include overhang for bar stool seating, waterfall ends for a contemporary look, the thickness of the slab, and the edging.

Benchtop Overhang

Interior design today is all about open plan living, creating community spaces and making the kitchen the heart of the home. One way to help achieve such a goal is to include an island bench in your kitchen design with an overhang to create a breakfast bar/bar seating. This addition will increase the overall cost of the stone as more stone will be required, but the memories such a design choice can help create are priceless.

Waterfall Ends

If you’re looking to modernise your existing kitchen or create a contemporary kitchen, then one of the best design choices you can make to achieve this is to include waterfall ends on your benchtop/island.

Stone waterfall benchtops with veins are particularly impressive because the stonemason will be able to match up the veins, so they flow down the waterfall end from the benchtop. It’s small details such as this that guests notice right away and really add a wow factor to a kitchen design.

Again, additional stone will be required to achieve such a look. However, the results are worth it. And, if you are looking to have waterfall ends on a budget, consider choosing a thinner slab such as a 20mm slab over a 40mm slab to stretch your dollar. The impact waterfall ends will have on your kitchen design will far outweigh the impact of having a thicker slab, believe me!

Slab thickness

Another consideration when selecting a stone benchtop is the thickness of the slab, and it shouldn’t be too difficult of a decision. The thicker the slab, the higher the cost. Stone benchtops come in a range of thicknesses, which will differ from provider to provider. Our Silestone range comes in thicknesses of 1.2cm, 2cm, and 3 cm, for example. Others may offer 4cm.

There isn’t any significant benefit to opting for a thicker slab other than the aesthetics. A thicker slab will look more prestigious and luxurious than a thinner slab, but it won’t have that big of an impact on the overall design.

If you’re on a tight budget, it’s a much better choice to opt for a thinner slab and put the savings towards waterfall ends, an overhang for bar stools, or, like I did, a matching stone splashback! Such upgrades will yield far greater results than having a thicker slab.

Benchtop Edging

The final design consideration is the edging, which is often overlooked. While most contemporary homes will opt for a basic square edge with a slight round edge (basic eased), there are many options to choose from which may better suit your design style. For instance, a traditional or Hamptons home may better serve a bevelled edge.

Common edging options include straight bevelled, basic eased, bullnose, ogee, mitred, and demi-bullnose.

Benchtop Colour

Knowing the type of stone, the design, slab thickness, and edging preference, you can not focus on what matters the most; the colour/pattern/design of the benchtop.

The volume of design option options will vary depending on the type of stone you choose. Quartz and engineered stone benchtops offer the greatest variety, with literally hundreds of options available. They can perfectly mimic the look of marble to feature intricate veining, concrete, lustrous granite styling, and contemporary terrazzo designs – the options are endless.

Alternatively, if you opt for a marble or granite benchtop, you are limited to available types and colour ranges, typically white, browns, blacks, and creams.

When choosing a benchtop colour, pay close attention to the colour of your cabinets. Your benchtop needs to suit the cabinet colours to provide a cohesive look and suit the overall style of your kitchen. Your style may be monochromatic, i.e., back on black, contrasting, i.e., white on black, or complementary, i.e., whites and greys.

Benchtop Texture

The final step in selecting a stone benchtop is to choose the texture or finish. There may not be additional options in some cases, but you will find engineered stone benchtops, for example, usually offer various texture options depending on the selected design.

Common benchtop textures include polished, matte, silk, and lightly textured surfaces.

Keep in mind that the plainer the surface, the easier it will be to wipe down and clean.

Budget Considerations

It goes without saying, stone benchtops are more expensive than laminate benchtops, but they are certainly worth the investment. Not only do they help to create a much more luxurious kitchen, but they will increase the salability and price of any home.

If you are on a budget and have your heart set on stone benchtops, then there are some smart choices you can make to reduce costs. As mentioned above, you can opt for a thinner slab, which is the first step to take. You can also forgo design elements like waterfall ends and bench overhangs to reduce the amount of stone used.

Another way to reduce the cost of your stone benchtop is to purchase it from Ross’s Discount Home Center. We stock offcuts which allows our prices to be much lower than other suppliers in Perth. If you would like a quote, please contact our Kitchen Salesperson, Fiona, on (08) 9378 2233.

Conclusion

Choosing a stone benchtop over other materials is a smart design choice for any kitchen. Whether you’re looking to update an old kitchen, renovate or build a new home, a stone benchtop will elevate your kitchen to a whole other level like no other option.

When shopping for stone benchtops in Perth, the most important element to consider over design, colour, style etc., is the durability of the stone. Your benchtop will cop significate use over the years, and it needs to last the test of time. As such, it’s critical to invest in a hard non-porous stone for maximum longevity.

There are four types of stone benchtops to consider: quartz, marble, granite, and engineered stone. Quartz is actually a form of engineered stone, which is both hard and non-porous. Granite is also hard and non-porous; however, marble is soft and porous, making it a poor benchtop choice.

When considering the design, give thought to whether you want an overhang for bar stools and waterfall ends and the price implementations of each. Also, consider the thickness of the slab, along with the edging, colour and texture options.

For Perth’s most affordable stone benchtops, look no further than Ross’s Discount Home Center’s Silestone range. View our wide range of designs on our website, including those below and contact us for a personalised quote.

View Stone Benchtops