Stone Benchtops Direct

Silica-free Benchtops: The What and Why

Apr 15, 2024 | benchtops, silica-free

The benchtop industry is transforming significantly, motivated by increasing health and safety concerns surrounding high-silica materials. This shift leads suppliers and consumers to embrace ‘silica-free’ benchtops as a safer and equally durable alternative. Understanding these changes is crucial for homeowners, builders, and designers as they navigate the evolving landscape of kitchen and bathroom renovations.

Benchtops with less than 1% crystalline silica or silica-free content (referred to herein as ‘silica-free’) are engineered mineral surfaces designed to minimise the presence of crystalline silica, a component found in traditional quartz benchtops. 

This transition is driven by the potential health risks of inhaling silica dust while fabricating high-silica benchtops. Prolonged exposure to silica dust can lead to serious respiratory diseases, including silicosis, prompting the industry to seek safer alternatives.

Impact on Consumers

For homeowners embarking on kitchen renovation projects, the transition to silica- free benchtops marks a significant shift in the market. However, this change doesn’t compromise the aesthetic appeal and variety consumers have grown accustomed to in their choice of benchtops.

Consistency in Colours and Aesthetics

One of the primary concerns for homeowners might be whether the switch to silica- free options would limit their choices in terms of colours and designs. Suppliers and manufacturers know these concerns and have made concerted efforts to replicate existing ranges as closely as possible. 

While the different material composition may cause a potential 5% variance in colour and pattern details, these differences are minimal and often indistinguishable to the untrained eye. This ensures that homeowners can still achieve their desired look and feel, maintaining the design integrity of their kitchen renovations.

Effort by Suppliers to Maintain Familiarity

Suppliers are actively working to ensure that the transition to silica-free benchtops is seamless for consumers. By replicating existing ranges, they aim to provide a familiar selection of designs and finishes, minimising disruption and uncertainty in the renovation process. This effort underscores the industry’s commitment to balancing safety with consumer preferences, ensuring homeowners do not compromise on their vision for their kitchens.

Cost Implications

The transition to silica-free benchtops inevitably raises questions about the cost implications for consumers. Understanding these financial aspects is crucial for homeowners planning their budgets.

Keeping Prices Close to Current Rates

Manufacturers and suppliers are working to keep the prices of silica-free benchtops as close as possible to those of high-silica counterparts. This approach ensures that the switch does not impose undue financial burdens on homeowners. The industry recognises the importance of affordability in consumer decisions and is striving to absorb as much of the cost difference as possible.

Why Silica-free Benchtops Might Be Slightly More Expensive

Despite efforts to minimise cost differences, silica-free benchtops might still be slightly more expensive than their high-silica alternatives. This price variance can be attributed to several factors, including the research and development costs associated with formulating new silica-free materials and adjustments in manufacturing processes to ensure these new products meet safety and quality standards.

However, even with a potential price increase, silica-free benchtops represent a better choice for homeowners. Not only do they offer a safer option for both installers and residents, but they also align with growing environmental and health consciousness in home design choices. Additionally, investing in a silica-free benchtop contributes to a healthier industry standard and can potentially save costs related to health issues.

Warranty and Quality Concerns

During the industry’s shift towards silica-free benchtops, consumers may have concerns regarding the warranties of their newly purchased benchtops. 

Understandably, homeowners want assurance that their investments are protected. Despite the changes in materials, manufacturers are committed to providing robust warranty policies. This move indicates an industry-wide effort to ensure that warranties remain valid and comprehensive support is available for consumers, reinforcing confidence in the quality and durability of silica-free benchtop options.

The Future of Benchtops

As the industry evolves, specific colours and patterns that cannot be replicated with silica-free materials will inevitably be discontinued. However, this transition opens the door to new options designed within the <1% silica content guidelines. 

Manufacturers are not just focusing on meeting safety standards but are also invested in creating aesthetically pleasing products that meet consumer demands for variety and style. The commitment to innovation ensures that the range of benchtop options remains diverse, catering to different tastes and design preferences.


The move towards silica-free benchtops marks a significant step in prioritising health and safety in home renovation projects without compromising aesthetic appeal. While change can bring uncertainty, consumers must focus on these materials’ long-term benefits. The reduced health risks associated with high silica content and the continued availability of stylish and durable benchtop options make silica-free benchtops a wise choice for any renovation project.

Homeowners planning kitchen renovations are encouraged to embrace this change, reassured by the industry’s efforts to maintain quality, support through robust warranties, and commitment to innovation. 

Consulting with experts such as Stone Benchtops Direct ensures access to a wide range of silica-free benchtop options that do not sacrifice safety or style. As we move towards a healthier future in home design, the importance of choosing safer materials becomes ever more apparent, highlighting the value of informed decision-making in achieving both aesthetic goals and long-term well-being.

For those looking to navigate this transition smoothly, Stone Benchtops Direct offers quality, safety, and style in their new silica-free benchtop options, ensuring that your kitchen renovation meets the highest standards of excellence and sustainability.