Choosing a Kitchen Benchtop

May 19, 2015 by Belinda

Choosing a product for our new kitchen benchtop is the hardest decision I have had to make for the house so far. And yes, I recognise that this is a first world problem. It is probably not surprising given my love of the Hampton-style that I want a marble or marble look surface for my kitchen bench. As I see it, there are three main factors influencing my choice:

1. Aesethic – if it’s not the real deal, how good an imitation is it?

2. Function – how worried am I going to be about me/the kids and hubby’s red wine leaving stains and scratches?

3. Cost – given that apparently I have designed a ‘significant amount’ of cabinetry through the house according to the builder, this is a definite consideration.

I have narrowed down my options to the following, from cheapest to most expensive.

1. Laminex

Laminex has come a long way from our orange benchtops in the 80s. With advances in their printing technology, Laminex now have a marble-look range that is heat, scratch and stain resistant. I would need to see a large piece to decide whether this is a worthy imitation.

Choosing a Kitchen Benchtop

Carrera Marble

2. Caesarstone

I have had Caesarstone in our last house in the kitchen and bathroom and thought it was great. I had no issues with it being marked or stained, although it did get a small chip on the edge near the sink. From a practical sense I put anything on it, including hot pans. Since then, Caesarstone have released a Supernatural Range which includes some marble lookalike colours.

Choosing a Kitchen Benchtop

(L-R): Calacutta Nuvo, London Grey, Frosty Carrina

The latest colour being released in June is Statuario Novo. The showroom had a small piece on display but it was hard to gauge how this would look in a large piece for an island bench.

Choosing a Kitchen Benchtop

3. Carrara Marble

In comparison to its’ other Italian marble friend, Calacutta, Carrara marble tends to be greyer with softer and finer veining.  It is more common than Calacutta and is therefore less expensive. The downside to marble are its’ risk of scratching, etching and staining. Honed marble is less resistant to scratching but polished marble withstands stains better.

Choosing A Kitchen Benchtop

via CDK Stone

4. Neolith

This is a product I had not heard about until I saw Dea and Darren use it in their apartment on The Block. It is a natural porcelain product that is highly durable and resistant to staining and scratching. It comes in an Estatuario Marble look profile. Seeing it in a slab at the CDK Stone showroom, from a distance I could not tell it was not the real thing. Although it does not have the cool and smooth feel of real marble.

Choosing a Kitchen Benchtop

5. Calacutta Marble

Calacutta is on the top of the list from a cost perspective. After seeing the many slabs at the CDK Stone showroom, I can see why. It is more rare than its Carrara friend and usually has more dramatic veining. As a feature, it would be hard to beat. It comes with the same risks as Carrara as far as etching and staining.


After questioning anyone I know who has a marble kitchen benchtop, most people love it and embrace the patina that develops from everyday use. Until I get our final budget breakdown I am still undecided. From an aesthetic point of view, I have put together a collage which shows the options against each other.

Choosing a Kitchen Benchtop

I would love to hear your opinion. Which way should I go?

Belinda XO

12 thoughts on “Choosing a Kitchen Benchtop”

  1. Although I adore marble and have used a beautiful piece for our splashback I decided on ceasarstone for our bench tops – having 3 boys and also the huge cost made the decision easier. You may be in for a huge shock once your final cabinetry costs come in ( I know we did!) so that may decide for you. I am sure anything you choose will look amazing!

    1. Thanks so much Louise. Can I ask which Caesarstone colour you chose for your bench top? Yes, am bracing myself for the quote! x

  2. Belinda have you had a look at Elba marble from Artedomus!!! It has low porosity and is really beautiful. I personally think you can’t beat the natural product

  3. This is so timely! We too are building and I am getting kitchen quoted at the moment – so thank you for putting this together Belinda! I’m leaning towards the Caesarstone in the kitchen and then using the Laminex in the bathrooms and laundry. We too have lots of cabinetry so I think this will work for us financially. Plus, whatever savings I make go into the ‘pool fund’! Vx

    1. Yes, that ‘pool’ fund is also a killer Virginia! What colour Caesarstone are you leaning towards for the kitchen? x

      1. I think Calacatta Nuvo but it depends on what colour splashback I finally decide on – I’ve got 4 different turquoise coloured subway tiles that I’m struggling to decide on, and another couple of samples on the way! Decisions, decisions

  4. Anna : Colour me Anna

    The budget is always a killer. We used Laminex in the laundry, a smart stone in the bathrooms and the kitchen benches and then I used one of the smart stones in a marble look on my huge island bench. I love it and it has been very low maintenance. The other hot tip I got from our cabinet maker was to go for a 20mm bench top with a shadow edge. It drastically reduced our costs and with our slightly more country style kitchen, it works. We dropped the waterfall bench top too because it was just another added expense plus we are not super modern in the house.

    1. Love that 20mm bench tip, thanks Anna. The island bench will hopefully be a bit of a feature so I think if I can splurge in one place it will be there. x

  5. I love the picture of the Calcutta marble countertop. It really has a modern feel to it. Hopefully, when I redo my kitchen, I can find something similar that goes great with my decor.

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