Your Guide To Kitchen Benchtops

High Tech Ideas for the Kitchen

With so many products on offer, design choices for your kitchen bench top are endless.

Here’s the Retreat Design guide to kitchen bench tops.

We also highly recommend having a read of Choice Australia’s article where they’ve put 16 benchtop materials to the test in their labs, assessing their ability to resist heat damage, staining, impact, cutting and abrasion.

Follow the Link here.



Marble, Granite or Stone

Natural marble is a high end product with a beautiful, one of a kind finish. Clients can choose a specific slab with a variety of colour and veining options. Depending on the finish, marble can be very expensive and also rare. It is a high maintenance product that is more porous and softer than reconstituted stones and can therefore stain easily. Care must be taken to clean spills immediately and it is suggested that marble is sealed every 6 months. Granite on the other hand is a far more durable & resilient material. Natural marbles and stones are considered more luxurious than man made products and add a certain wow factor to the design. Marble, granite and stone are generally supplied in 20mm thick slabs and can be built up at the edges to give a thicker bench top appearance. Suppliers can provide the material with a polished, honed, flamed or brushed finish depending on the look you are trying to achieve. Our favourite products to use in our kitchen projects include Statuario Venato and Calacatta marbles.


Timber hardwood or veneer

Being a natural product, timber has a lovely warm finish. The use of hardwood timber for kitchen benchtops isn’t very common as it’s susceptible to staining, warping and moisture retention. Whilst we like to add timber highlights on the cabinetry or breakfast bars in our kitchen designs, we rarely install a timber kitchen bench. Cooking fats, oils, knife marks and hot pans can damage the surface so its best kept for surfaces that aren’t in high use. Our timber veneer finish is a better option which has a polyurethane coating which protects the wood finish from staining and wear & tear.



Engineered solid surfaces such as Caesarstone, Smartstone, QStone, Silestone, Quantum Quartz etc

Available in 12mm, 20mm & 30mm thick slabs, the range of engineered solid surfaces is vast and impressive. Made using a mix of ground stone/quartz, polymers and pigments, solid surfaces can look very realistic whilst having the added advantage of being a lot easier to maintain. Engineered stones offer a non-porous surface material that is stain, scratch and heat resistant. A more uniform and perfect finish can be achieved at a cost which is typically more affordable than natural marble. Advances in technology have allowed for the development of engineered stone surfaces that have veins and colouring very similar to natural marble at a fraction of the price. Due to the nature of the product, sinks and basins can be moulded out of the engineered stone product for a seamless look. We produce a lot of kitchens using Caesarstone bench tops and splash backs which have a beautiful high end finish. It is important to note that you need 200mm gap from a Caesarstone Splashback to a gas cooker.  Corian is an acrylic resin based solid surface which can also be moulded into shapes and sinks can be made in one seamless benchtop.


Large format compact surfaces such as Dekton, Neolith, Lapitec & Laminam

A popular choice at Retreat Design is large format compact surfaces (essentially a porcelain tile) which is  ideal for use as a bench top and cladding material. The slimline composite material comes in large sheets which allows for greater design scope and installation without cuts or joins. Available in a wide range of finishes and colours which mimic natural stones and marble, it has near-zero porosity, making the product hygienic, stain resistant & easy to clean. It is also wear, scratch & heat resistant. Available in thicknesses of 6mm, 12mm and 20mm. Care must be taken to avoid dropping large heavy objects on the surfaces.


Large format matte finish surfaces such as Fenix NTM

Fenix NTM is a super opaque interior design finish suitable for horizontal or vertical surfaces (namely kitchens).
This revolutionary nanotech material is made in Italy and has the following properties: anti-fingerprint, super matte finish, resistance to scratches & abrasions, enhanced antibacterial properties, thermal healing of micro scratches, hydro repellent & heat resistant, easy to clean and it’s available in a variety of colours and thicknesses. This is becoming a popular benchtop choice for our Arrital range of kitchens.


Stainless Steel

The favoured choice of chefs and commercial kitchens, stainless steel is hard wearing and very hygienic. It can be assembled in large sheets for a seamless benchtop finish. It can also be used as a splash back without having to create a join and is a versatile product. The only downside is it can be cold to touch and can scratch over time.



This finish gives a raw and industrial look to the kitchen. Concrete bench tops can be made and finished in many different ways.  A mould is formed and the concrete is poured in to the desired size and shape. Its important to remember that concrete is a porous material and you’ll need to apply some kind of concrete sealer, or a combination of sealers, to the bench top to protect it from stains, heat damage and scratches.



The ever enduring Laminate benchtop is not only economical but durable and hard wearing. Our Italian suppliers such as Arrital and Arredo3 have a huge variety of High Pressure laminates to choose from with many different design finishes. We tend to use laminate benchtops for the scullery area or for kitchens with budget constraints (without compromising on style). Our HPL tops come in 12-60mm thicknesses.


Calacatta marble

Calacatta marble benchtop

Arabescato Marble island benchtop

Arabescato Marble island benchtop

20mm Carrara Marble Benchtops

20mm Carrara Marble Benchtops

Artedomus Terra Nero Porcelain benchtop

Artedomus Terra Nero Porcelain Benchtop

Stainless Steel Benchtop

Stainless Steel Benchtop

Caesarstone Rugged Concrete Benchtop

Caesarstone Rugged Concrete Benchtop

Qstone kitchen bench top in ‘Diamond White’

Qstone kitchen bench top in ‘Diamond White’

Silestone ‘Blanco Zeus’ Benchtop & Paperstone 60mm breakfast bar

Silestone ‘Blanco Zeus’ Benchtop & Paperstone 60mm breakfast bar



Q Stone Diamond White Benchtop & Oak Laminate Benchtop

Q Stone Diamond White Benchtop & Oak Laminate Benchtop

Dekton kitchen

Dekton benchtops at our South Fremantle project

Dekton benchtops

Large format Dekton benchtops

Kabuki Black Granite

Kabuki Black Granite benchtop and Oak breakfast bar

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About the Design Blog

Welcome to the Design Blog. Here we're sharing the latest kitchen and bathroom products from our Italian manufacturers. We'll also bring you inspiring kitchen renovations and beautiful bathrooms. Feel free to ask questions in the comments.