Choosing your benchtop & splashback

caesarstone benchtop statuario maximus island bench in modern kitchen design

Pictured: Caesarstone Statuario Maximus

Kitchen Benchtops

The kitchen benchtop is a fundamental design feature in any kitchen and it’s possibly the most crucial decision you will make.

Being the main focal point, the benchtop will heavily influence your decisions around the rest of your kitchen finishes so it’s a good place to start when selecting materials.

The kitchen bench is often used as a dining table or entertainment area as well, so it may need to accommodate more than one practical use.

Choosing the right surface is paramount. Depending on your individual needs, some options will be more suitable to you than others as each have their own unique advantages and disadvantages.

Compare the most popular kitchen benchtops

PRO TIP
Ever considered using two different benchtop materials? Think about how each space will be used and pick the most appropriate material for that area. e.g. engineered stone for food prep areas and timber or laminate for the section where you’ll be dining.
modern kitchen design with quantum quartz benchtop splashback with tinted mirror

Pictured: Quantum Quartz Carrara

Kitchen Splashbacks

Splashbacks come in a range of different options and price points.

The most popular choice is to use the same material as the benchtop for a harmonious, elegant look that oozes high end.

Although, depending on your benchtop material, it can add to the cost considerably so it’s not always feasible.

If you’re not 100% sure, it’s best to leave this decision until after you’ve selected everything else. This way you’ll have a better idea of which product would best compliment the rest of the kitchen.

Even on a tight budget your designer will be able to help you find something that suits your design without costing a fortune.

Compare the most popular kitchen splashbacks

“It’s becoming more popular to combine two different benchtop materials together – for style and functionality, because you can separate your work spaces and use the most practical material for each.”Craig Seldon, designer for Premier Kitchens

Stone Benchtops

Edge Profile

There’s many different edge profiles you can choose for your stone benchtop however, the most popular is the pencil round (pictured below).

The pencil round is a square edge with rounded radius corners. It’s clean, simple & sits flush with the kitchen cabinets. It’s also the least expensive of all edge profiles.

There are also more detailed edge profiles for those wanting something to suit a more traditional style kitchen, such as the lambs tongue (see images below.)

Edge Thickness

The standard thickness for a stone benchtop is 20mm but you can increase this in 20mm increments to whatever you like (e.g. 40mm, 60mm and up). Some stone brands have a limited colour range released in 30mm slabs so this may also an option.

Which thickness is best for your kitchen design? It really comes down to personal preference and the style, mood or era you are trying to achieve. Your kitchen designer can help you select a profile and thickness to best suit your desired outcome.

Generally, thin tops feel lighter and are more subtle in relationship to the rest of the design and thicker tops appear heavier and tend to dominate the space a bit more. Thicker tops usually work better in larger kitchens, where the piece has room to breathe and looks in proportion to the space.

If your kitchen is particularly small, you might find a thinner benchtop more appropriate as it will feel less crowded. See below for examples of available edge profiles.

Edge Join – Mitred or Layered?

Stone slabs already come in 20mm so if you’re having a 20mm benchtop you won’t need an edge join. All you will need to choose is the edge profile (see images below).

However, if you want your benchtop in 40mm or thicker, then you will need to choose how you’d like the edge join to be done, to create the thicker edge (see images below).

There are two types of joins to choose from – Mitred or Layered.

Mitred Edge Join

A mitred edge join is where the stone pieces are cut on a 45 degree angle and joined through the actual corner (See images below).

A mitred edge join is less noticeable than a laminated edge. It can be a little more prone to chipping but this is not a common problem with careful, regular use. In most cases, a mitred join is an excellent choice, however it is more expensive than a layered edge.

NOTE: Mitred joins are only available with a pencil round edge. All other edges in 40mm or thicker must be laminated.

Layered Edge Join

A layered edge join is where the two pieces of stone are stacked on top of one another and joined through the middle of the flat surface edge. This type of join is the least expensive of the two. It is also the safest / strongest structurally but is more visually noticeable than a mitred join. Depending on the size, layout and overhang area of your benchtop, this may be recommended for extra strength.

NOTE: Layered joins are less noticeable on colours with finer details (e.g. fine stone flecks) and more noticeable on colours with larger detail (e.g. veining).

PRO TIP
Join lines in general tend to be less noticeable in lighter colours.

20mm Pencil Round

20mm Arris

40mm Half Bull Nose, Layered Edge

20mm Half Bull Nose

Lambs Tongue (20mm)
Double lambs tongue (40mm)

40mm Shark Nose, Layered Edge

20mm Bull Nose

40mm Pencil Round, Mitred Edge

20mm Shark Nose

40mm Pencil Round, Layered Edge

Slab Sizes – Engineereed Quartz

Caesarstone

Slab size: 3060mm x 1440mm
Slab thickness: 13mm, 20mm, 30mm
Warranty: 10 Year limited warranty
Outdoor Use: Not recommended

Silestone

Slab size: 3050mm x 1400mm (Standard) and 3250mm x 1590mm (Jumbo)
Slab thickness: 12mm, 20mm, 30mm
Warranty: 25 Year lifetime warranty
Outdoor Use: Not recommended

Quantum Quartz

Slab size: 3040mm x 1400mm
Slab thickness: 20mm, 30mm
Warranty: 10 Year limited warranty
Outdoor Use: Not recommended

 

Smart Stone

Slab size: 3050mm x 1600mm
Slab thickness: 20mm
Warranty: 15 Year limited warranty
Outdoor Use: Not recommended