When choosing a benchtop for your kitchen or bathroom, natural stone offers a unique blend of durability, beauty, and functionality. While marble and granite are popular choices, many other types of stone provide excellent alternatives, each with distinct characteristics and advantages. This article delves into the different types of stone that can be used for benchtops, excluding marble and granite, to help you make an informed decision for your next renovation project.


Overview: Quartz is an engineered stone with natural quartz crystals mixed with resins and pigments. This combination creates a highly durable and non-porous surface.


  • Durability: Resistant to scratches, stains, and impacts.
  • Low Maintenance: Non-porous surface that doesn’t require sealing.
  • Variety: Available in various colours and patterns, including designs that mimic natural stone.
  • Hygienic: Resistant to bacteria and mould, it is ideal for kitchens and bathrooms.

Applications: Quartz benchtops are perfect for kitchens and bathrooms due to their durability and ease of maintenance. They are also suitable for high-traffic commercial areas.


Overview: Soapstone is a natural stone composed primarily of talc, which gives it a smooth, soap-like texture. It typically comes in shades of grey, green, and black.


  • Heat Resistant: Can withstand high temperatures, making it ideal for kitchens.
  • Non-porous: Resistant to stains and bacteria without the need for sealing.
  • Aging Gracefully: Develops a natural patina over time, adding character and warmth.

Applications: Soapstone is often used in kitchens for countertops and sinks. Its heat resistance and durability also make it suitable for fireplace surrounds.


Overview: Slate is a fine-grained, metamorphic rock that is known for its rich, earthy colours and natural cleft texture.


  • Durability: Resistant to scratches, chips, and cracks.
  • Heat Resistant: Can handle hot pots and pans.
  • Natural Beauty: Offers a rustic, natural appearance with unique patterns and colours.

Applications: Slate is commonly used for kitchen benchtops, bathroom vanities, and outdoor kitchen areas. Its natural look is perfect for rustic and contemporary designs.


Overview: Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of calcium carbonate. It features subtle, natural hues and a smooth texture.


  • Aesthetic Appeal: Offers a timeless, elegant look with soft, natural colours.
  • Versatility: Can be polished for a sleek look or left honed for a more rustic appearance.
  • Heat Resistant: Suitable for kitchens and fireplaces.

Applications: Limestone is used for kitchen benchtops, bathroom vanities, and fireplace surrounds. Its classic look complements both traditional and modern interiors.


Overview: Travertine is a type of limestone formed by mineral springs, known for its distinctive porous surface and natural beauty.


  • Unique Appearance: Features natural pits and troughs that add texture and interest.
  • Versatile Finishes: Available in polished, honed, or tumbled finishes.
  • Natural Insulator: Stays cool to the touch, which can be beneficial in warm climates.

Applications: Travertine is used for kitchen and bathroom benchtops, backsplashes, and flooring. It is particularly popular in Mediterranean and rustic design schemes.


Overview: Onyx is a unique and luxurious stone known for its translucent properties and striking, swirling patterns.


  • Aesthetic Appeal: Offers a dramatic and opulent look with its vibrant colours and natural veining.
  • Translucence: Can be backlit to create a stunning visual effect.
  • Uniqueness: Each slab is one-of-a-kind, providing a unique focal point.

Applications: Onyx is often used for statement pieces such as kitchen islands, bathroom vanities, and bar tops. Its luxurious appearance makes it ideal for high-end applications.


Overview: Quartzite is a natural metamorphic rock formed from sandstone and known for its hardness and durability.


  • Durability: Tough and resistant to scratches and heat.
  • Natural Beauty: Features unique, natural patterns and a wide range of colours.
  • Low Maintenance: Non-porous and easy to maintain with regular cleaning.

Applications: Quartzite is perfect for kitchen benchtops, bathroom vanities, and outdoor kitchens due to its durability and natural beauty.


Choosing the suitable stone for your benchtop involves considering factors such as durability, maintenance, aesthetic appeal, and suitability for the intended application. While marble and granite are popular options, other stones like quartz, soapstone, slate, limestone, travertine, onyx, and quartzite offer unique benefits and distinctive looks. By exploring these alternatives, you can find the perfect stone that matches your style, needs, and budget, ensuring a beautiful and functional surface for years to come.