Benchtops – what are the options?

The kitchen benchtop is like the ‘icing on the cake’, ‘the cherry on the top’, the ‘finishing touch’. So what are the options and what are the pros and cons.

Composite Stone

Composite Stone (otherwise known as engineered stone) is a man-made product.  Crushed stone, adhesive and colour is mixed to form stone slabs.   The slabs are then cut to measure and polished in the same manner as Natural Stone.

Composite Stone comes in a variety of thicknesses, colours and finishing’s.  There are many advantages to using Composite Stone, here are just a few:

Colour Consistency: Being a manufactured product means there is much more consistency in colour across stone slabs.

Durability: Composite is as durable as stone gets. It is non-porous so resists stains more effectively than Natural Stones.  It’s also harder so more scratch and heat resistant (nothing is ever ‘proof’) and requires little to no upkeep.

Cost: composite slabs do range in price.  And although there are slabs that will break the bank there are also a number of cost effective stones making composite a real option for most budgets.

Natural Stones - Granite & Marble

Nothing beats running your hand over a natural stone top; examining the unique swirls and colour changes, imagining that this very piece has been extracted from a quarry in Brazil or India. It’s pretty cool when you think about it… or am I just weird. So what are the pros and cons of Natural Stone:

No piece is exactly the same. Each top is unique in its own right and this is by far the biggest pro when it comes to considering Natural stone. Textures, patterns and colours differs from slab to slab. Some slabs of Black River will contain hues of brown while others will have a blacker base.

The main disadvantage of Natural stones is that it is softer and more porous than composite stones. Scratching and staining is more likely and resealing annually is recommended for many Granites.

Stainless Steel

She’s an oldie but a goodie; the go-to benchtop of the 60s and 70s, the humble stainless benchtop is still highly functional and looks great. Either on its own or teamed with timber or stone it works.

There are very little disadvantages to using Stainless. It’s incredibly robust; heat resistant, stain resistant and requires next to no up keep. In my opinion Stainless gets better with age; its timeless and will last a lifetime.


Let's be honest timber anything is beautiful and kitchen benchtops are no exception. Nothing warms a space like timber, nothing completes a space like timber, we all love Timber.

But timber comes with some pretty gnarly disadvantages.  So before you order that piece of American White Oak, firstly consider the following.

Timber and Water are not great friends. Over time, water damage is inevitable.

Timber is temperature sensitive and subject to seasonal movement.  It shrinks, it expands, it warps, it moves.  Accept it, expect it.  It’s just the way it is.

Timber is not the toughest kid on the block.  Dents, nicks and scratches are inevitable.  But if you can view these as adding character, then maybe timber is for you.


High Pressure laminate sheets are applied to MDF or Particleboard to create Laminate benchtops.

Laminate is hardwearing, it come in an endless variety of colours, patterns and finishings including block colours, faux marbles, granites, stones and woodgrains.

There is a laminate for every purpose and every palette.

Laminate is very cost effective and certainly worth considering if budget is an issue. 

Ready to discuss your project? Speak to an expert.

CALL (09) 835 3465


  • Brendon built and installed our new kitchen, which we love. He consulted with us on the details before installation and found great outcomes for the handles, sink, and drainer grooves, He did an amazing job of incorporating some of our recycled rimu into our kitchen too. He ensured the kitchen was completed to our needs, and a very high standard. He has also provided some fantastic wardrobe designs and installed these, and listens to the customer needs and follows through with a great job.
    Bryce & Rachel
  • I dealt with Brendon and his team from Contrast Interiors for a fairly extensive build after he was recommended to me through Trade connections. His contact was professional, prices fair, and the the result was outstanding. He built our kitchen as well and laundry, 2 bathrooms, and then had some other parts thrown in as well since the result was great.
  • A huge thank you to the team at Contrast Interiors for our beautiful kitchen. We are so delighted with the final result. It not only looks amazing but is highly functional and has been manufactured to a very high standard. Brendon, Monica and the team were fabulous to deal with. We would not hesitate to recommend Contrast Interiors
    Jack & Bronagh
  • A note to say how very thrilled we are with our new kitchen. It is just what we had envisaged when we initially meet with you. Well designed, manufactured and finished. You and your team have all been so easy to deal with, very professional and not to mention delivered on time, amazing!
    Nat & Jason