Onyx countertops are absolutely beautiful, but are rarely seen in kitchens or bathrooms. That’s because onyx is very expensive, complicated to install, and requires frequent maintenance to maintain the stunning appearance. You need to weigh the pros and cons before choosing onyx countertops for your home.

If you’re looking for new countertops that will add a touch of class to your kitchen or bathroom, you have probably looked at both marble and granite. These are common materials that both look stunning and are durable. But some people are now turning to onyx countertops for an extra special touch. Is it the right decision?

Well, it might be. If you’re looking for something beautiful, rare, and unique, onyx could be right for you. But there is a lot of know about onyx before adding it into your home.

Onyx Countertops Pros and Cons

Here is a list of pros and cons…

Onyx is fragile.

A lot of people think all stones are “rock hard” and completely solid, but that’s simply not the case. Onyx is the perfect example of a stone that requires extra care. Onyx countertops typically include a fiberglass backing compound to strengthen the slab and keep it together.

What this means is that onyx slabs are not able to be extracted from the ground as well as other stones, so the slabs are much smaller in size than something like granite (a very hard stone).

Onyx is also soft.

The biggest problem with onyx is that it is very soft. It does not hold up well with regular use. If you move pots and pans around or chop vegetables on it, you’re going to scratch up the surface. Anything hard or sharp will have no trouble scraping your counter top.

Another danger is any acidic liquid – think vinegar or lemon juice. If you spill any of this stuff on onyx, it could “etch” and dull the surface. Red wine will do the trick, too!

So, as you can probably guess…

Maintenance is a serious issue!

You can’t just install onyx countertops and be done with it. Onyx needs to be sealed properly and then cleaned with special stone cleaner at frequent intervals to make it less-prone to scratching and staining.

If your countertops see normal daily use, plan for the expense of having them refinished periodically.

onyx kitchen countertops

Having a stunning kitchen is worth it!

Onyx is expensive.

The onyx itself, plus all the maintenance, means onyx doesn’t come cheap! Despite all the issues I just listed, onyx is the most expensive countertop material you can get (barring something ridiculous like a diamond countertop!)

Material costs range from $40-240 per square foot, depending on the quality and size of the stone. Installation costs are typically higher than you’d find with other materials, due to the care that must be taken when working with the stone.

So why would anyone even consider it?

Onyx is rare.

Onyx is a rare stone and it’s rarely used for countertops. And that is what makes it perfect for someone trying to stand out from the crowd! Furthermore, every single piece of onyx is unique.

If you want to really set your home apart, add onyx.

Onyx is positively beautiful!

Though onyx is expensive and rather impractical, there is no denying the sheer beauty of the stone. It comes in a variety of colors and the “veining” adds contrasting colors to make these slabs look like works of art.

The light hits it and it shines, brightening up the room. For even more appeal, try backlit onyx, which has a wonderful glow that you can’t get any other way.

Onyx countertops are great… sometimes!

If you have a place to install onyx that will be out in the open but see minimal use (think decorative vs a work surface), you will get a lot of compliments and probably some jealous stares!

If onyx is for you, check out our advice on where to buy onyx.