With so many materials flaunting their features and flashing their finishes, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when choosing the right benchtop for your commercial kitchen.
Do you go for the classic charm of marble or the strength of stainless steel? Laminated or stone?
Welcome to the ultimate guide to commercial kitchen benchtops — your map through the maze of choices. We will simplify your search, narrowing down your options and giving you the clarity you need.
Whether you’re renovating, starting fresh or just curious, get ready to dive deep into the world of benchtops and discover which surface deserves a spot in your kitchen.
Pros & cons of different types of benches
Each material comes with its own set of strengths and shortcomings. From the sleek sophistication of stainless steel to the rustic charm of timber, let’s delve into the pros and cons of these popular bench choices.
Stainless Steel Benches
Image credit: houzz.com.au
Stainless steel benches offer a modern, sleek style and unmatched durability, making them a favourite in Australian commercial kitchens.
Starting from $575/metre, prices can vary based on size, design and additional features. Commercial benches with frame support and shelving start from $900/metre.
It is predominantly found in commercial kitchens across Australia, from bustling Melbourne eateries to quiet Adelaide cafes.
Typically, it comes with a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty, though terms may vary by brand and model.
- Highly resistant to heat, water and stains, ensuring longevity.
- Easy to clean and maintain, offering a hygienic surface ideal for food preparation.
- Sleek design fits seamlessly into various kitchen styles.
- Does not chip or fade over time (stainless steel is the most durable product on the market)
- Easy to clean, hygienic and resistant to corrosion.
- Does not become outdated. Stainless steel has been used since the 1960s; this timeless material has only increased in popularity today.
- Can be fabricated to include an upturned splashback at the back. This means no silicone join is at the back of the bench, ensuring no risk of corroding seals or leaks.
- It can show fingerprints and smudges easily, requiring frequent wiping.
- Prone to scratching, especially from sharp tools or heavy-duty kitchen equipment.
- Higher upfront cost compared to some other benchtop materials.
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Marble benches boast a timeless elegance and unique veining, bringing a touch of luxury to any commercial kitchen setting.
Starting from $800/metre, prices fluctuate based on the marble type, thickness and finish.
Chosen by upscale restaurants and cafes across Australia, from the heart of Sydney’s food scene to boutique dining spaces in Brisbane.
Generally, marble benchtops come with a 5 to 10-year manufacturer’s warranty, contingent on the brand and finish.
- Each slab offers a distinct pattern and colour, ensuring a one-of-a-kind bench.
- Marble provides a cool surface, ideal for pastry and dough preparation.
- Elevates the aesthetic appeal and value of any kitchen space.
- Its porous nature makes it susceptible to staining from spills like coffee, red wine or oil.
- Requires regular sealing to maintain its appearance and prevent damage.
- More fragile than other materials, potentially leading to chips or cracks with impact.
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Laminated benches are versatile and cost-effective, made by bonding a plastic laminate layer to a particleboard or MDF substrate.
Starting from $300/metre, with prices based on finish, brand and thickness.
Popular in cafes, fast food joints and other high-turnover establishments across Australia due to their cost efficiency.
Typically, manufacturers offer a 5 to 7-year warranty on laminated benches, depending on the brand and product range.
- Available in a vast array of colours, patterns and finishes to mimic the look of pricier materials.
- Resistant to most stains, making cleanup a breeze.
- Cost-effective choice for large commercial areas needing extensive bench space.
- Not as heat resistant; hot pots or pans can cause damage.
- Potential for scratching or chipping over time, especially on edges.
- Long-term exposure to water can cause warping or delamination.
Image Credit: Marbleunlimited.com
Granite, an igneous rock with a granular structure, offers both strength and elegance as a benchtop material.
From $700/metre upwards, depending on the stone type, finish and origin.
Common in upscale restaurants, bars and cafes throughout Australia, it is revered for its natural beauty and durability.
Most suppliers provide a 10 to 15-year warranty, although the stone’s inherent longevity often exceeds this.
- Naturally heat resistant, tolerating hot pots without the risk of damage.
- Every slab is unique, adding a touch of individuality to your kitchen’s design.
- Extremely durable and resistant to scratching and staining with proper sealing.
- Requires periodic sealing to maintain resistance to stains and spills.
- It can be expensive, especially for rarer varieties or intricate designs.
- Heaviness may necessitate additional support structures during the installation.
Image Credit: AllStoneandGlass.com.au
Engineered stone combines natural quartz crystals with resins, pigments and other materials to create a versatile and consistent benchtop surface.
Ranges from $700/metre, depending on the brand, design and complexity.
It is popular in modern commercial kitchens and restaurants in Australia due to its uniform appearance and resilience.
Most manufacturers offer a 10 to 20-year warranty, reflecting the product’s durability.
- It offers a consistent pattern and colour without the natural variations of stone.
- Highly resistant to staining, scratches and chips due to its non-porous nature.
- Low maintenance and doesn’t require sealing like natural stones.
- Excessive heat can damage the surface, so it’s advisable to use protective mats.
- Although tough, it can still be damaged by very sharp objects or high impacts.
- It might lack the unique charm and character of natural stones.
Image Credit: Pexels.com
Timber benchtops bring a natural warmth and rustic charm to commercial kitchens, crafted from various hardwood species.
Ranges from $500/metre, dependent on the timber species and finish.
Favoured in boutique cafes, rustic eateries and establishments aiming for a cosy ambience.
Generally, manufacturers offer a 5 to 10-year warranty, though it heavily depends on the type of timber and finish.
- Provides a unique character and organic feel to any space.
- Timber’s natural antibacterial properties make it hygienic for food preparation.
- If cared for properly, timber can age gracefully, adding to its character over time.
- Requires regular oiling and maintenance to prevent drying, cracking and staining.
- It is more susceptible to scratches, dents and heat marks than stone or steel.
- Moisture can warp timber, so ensuring proper sealing is vital, especially near sinks.
Which benchtop is right for you?
Navigating your choices for benchtop materials, from concrete to composite and solid surfaces, can be overwhelming. Each surface promises its own blend of aesthetics and functionality.
However, stainless steel is an unparalleled option for finding the perfect fusion of durability, ease of care, and timeless style for a commercial kitchen. It offers a solid surface that’s both sturdy and easy to maintain.
Stainless steel effortlessly stands up to the demanding environment of a busy kitchen, making daily care a breeze.
Martin Stainless Steel: Your trusted commercial kitchen benchtop provider
We understand the pivotal role a benchtop plays in a commercial kitchen. By investing in a stainless steel benchtop, you’re not just choosing a surface; you’re opting for longevity, hygiene and a sleek finish that remains in vogue regardless of changing trends.
Martin Stainless Steel is here to help. We specialise in commercial and residential stainless steel fabrication throughout Sydney. Our expert team of fabricators will create high-quality steelwork custom-tailored to your exact requirements.
Get in touch with us today to enquire about any stainless steel products or fabrication services and get a quote!