Onyx Countertops: 13 Pros and Cons

onyx countertops pros and cons

With their captivating translucence and unique patterns, Onyx countertops have been gaining popularity in upscale interior designs.

Known for adding a touch of elegance and intrigue to any space, these countertops are as functional as they are aesthetically pleasing.

This blog post explores the advantages and drawbacks of incorporating onyx countertops into your home design.

It’s crucial to weigh these factors before investing in your kitchen or bathroom renovation. We’ll delve into the 13 key pros and cons, giving you a comprehensive understanding to make an informed decision.

Pros of Onyx Countertops

Exquisite Aesthetic Appeal

1. Unique Veining and Patterns

I remember walking into my friend’s kitchen for the first time and being blown away by her onyx countertops.

Each slab of onyx is unique, showcasing intricate veining and patterns. No two onyx countertops are the same, giving your kitchen or bathroom a one-of-a-kind appeal that’s hard to replicate.

2. Translucent Qualities

One of the defining features of onyx is its natural translucency. This is a quality I have come to appreciate in my own home, where an onyx countertop adds a sense of depth and dimension.

The light passes through the stone, creating an ethereal glow that’s nothing short of mesmerizing.

Natural Lighting Enhancement

3. Backlit Options

Imagine a countertop that lights up, adding a soft glow to your kitchen or bathroom. That’s the magic of backlit onyx countertops.

I’ve seen this in action at a local upscale restaurant, and it certainly made a lasting impression.

4. Creates Ambiance

Onyx countertops aren’t just about functionality but about creating a specific mood or ambiance.

Combining the stone’s natural translucency and the option for backlighting can transform a space, making it feel warm, welcoming, and utterly luxurious.

Wide Range of Color Options

5. Natural Colors

Onyx comes in beautiful natural colors, from whites and greens to deeper reds and blacks. This range means you can find an onyx countertop to match virtually any design scheme.

6. Dyeing and Staining Possibilities

What I find fascinating about onyx is its ability to absorb color. If you fancy a shade that’s not naturally available, onyx can be dyed or stained to achieve the desired hue. This versatility is yet another reason why I love onyx countertops.

Durability and Strength

7. Resistant to Heat and Stains

I can attest to its durability with an onyx countertop in my kitchen. The stone is naturally resistant to heat and stains, making it a practical choice for kitchens where hot pots and pans are common.

8. Long-lasting with Proper Maintenance

Like any investment, an onyx countertop requires care. But with proper maintenance—like regular sealing and prompt spill cleanup, it can look beautiful for years.

I’ve had my onyx countertop for over a decade, and it’s still as stunning as the day it was installed.

Eco-Friendly Option

9. Natural Stone Material

For those of us who are environmentally conscious, onyx offers a green option. It’s a natural stone material, so it doesn’t deplete non-renewable resources or contribute to pollution during production.

10. Sustainable Sourcing

Many onyx suppliers are committed to sustainable sourcing practices, ensuring the stone is quarried to minimize environmental impact.

It’s a detail that gives me peace of mind, knowing that my beautiful countertop is also a choice that supports the planet.

Cons of Onyx Countertops

High Maintenance Requirements

1. Regular Sealing

While I love my onyx countertop, I must admit it requires a bit more care than other stone countertops. One of the main tasks is regular sealing, usually annually.

This ensures that the stone’s porosity doesn’t allow it to absorb stains. I’ve considered it a small price to pay for a beautiful kitchen centerpiece.

2. Vulnerability to Scratches and Chips

I’ve also found that onyx can be slightly more prone to scratches and chips than stone countertops.

I learned the hard way when I dropped a heavy pot and left a small chip on the countertop. Now, I’m always more careful about cutting boards and not dropping anything heavy.

Costly Investment

3. Initial Purchase Price

Onyx is a premium countertop material. I remember being shocked at the initial cost when installing it in my kitchen. But I was completely sold on its unique aesthetic and decided to invest.

4. Installation Expenses

On top of the higher purchase price, installing onyx countertops can be costly because of the stone’s delicate nature.

It requires an experienced installer to prevent any damage. Still, I found the investment worthwhile for its appeal to my kitchen.

Limited Resistance to Chemicals

5. Vulnerability to Acidic Substances

One thing I learned quickly was how onyx reacts to acidic substances. A lemon juice spill left a mark that took a bit of elbow grease to remove. It’s made me more aware of what I place on my countertop.

6. Avoidance of Harsh Cleaners

I also discovered that certain harsh cleaners can damage the stone. I now stick to mild, stone-safe cleaners to keep my onyx countertop in shape.

Susceptibility to Water Damage

7. Risk of Stains and Etching

Onyx is sensitive to water, too. It’s essential to wipe up spills to prevent staining or etching promptly. This is one of the reasons why some might not recommend onyx for high-moisture areas like bathrooms.

8. Not Ideal for High Moisture Areas

I once considered installing an onyx countertop in my bathroom but eventually decided against it due to the high moisture and potential for water damage.

Limited Availability

9. Geographic Sourcing

Onyx is sourced from specific geographical areas, which can make it a bit more difficult to find. This is a factor to consider when planning your kitchen remodel.

10. May Be Challenging to Find

Finding the perfect piece for my kitchen took me a while due to the limited availability. But when I finally found it, it was nothing short of perfect!

Despite the few drawbacks, I do not regret choosing onyx for my countertop.

Tips for Maintaining Onyx Countertops

1. Proper Cleaning Techniques

When cleaning my onyx countertops, I’ve learned that gentleness is key. I avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive sponges that can scratch or etch the surface.

Instead, I use a soft cloth and mild, stone-safe cleaners. There was a time when I accidentally used a harsh cleaner, and I noticed a dull spot where the cleaner had been.

It was a hard lesson, but it taught me the importance of using the proper cleaning techniques to maintain the sparkle and shine of my onyx countertop.

2. Regular Sealing Schedule

Sealing is another crucial aspect of maintaining onyx countertops. At first, I underestimated the importance of this step.

However, after noticing a few stains from a dinner party, I realized that regular sealing could have prevented this.

Now, I have a sealing schedule, which I stick to religiously. I seal my onyx countertops every six months to ensure they remain stain-resistant and maintain their lustrous appearance.

3. Avoiding Common Pitfalls

Having owned an onyx countertop for several years, I’ve learned to avoid common pitfalls. For instance, I’m careful about placing hot pans directly on the surface, which can lead to thermal shock and crack the stone.

I always use a trivet or heat pad. Also, I avoid spilling acidic substances like lemon or tomato juice, as they can etch the surface.

If an accident happens, I promptly clean up to avoid any damage. These little precautions have significantly prolonged the life of my beautiful onyx countertop.

Alternatives to Onyx Countertops

While I deeply love my onyx countertop, I understand it might not be for everyone. Fortunately, there are many other options for getting a stone countertop.

Here are some of the alternatives I considered before settling on Onyx:

1. Marble

Marble is a timeless choice known for its elegance and the unique touch it brings to your space. I remember walking into a friend’s kitchen and being completely awestruck by her marble countertop’s luxurious appeal.

It’s available in various colors and patterns, but be prepared! It requires similar maintenance to onyx and is prone to scratching and staining.

2. Granite

Before I went for Onyx, I had a granite countertop. I loved its durability and the fact that it’s less porous than onyx or marble.

This means it’s more resistant to staining, which can be a tremendous advantage, especially if you have young kids. I only switched because I wanted a more unique and eye-catching design that Onyx offered.

3. Quartzite

Quartzite caught my eye when I was countertop shopping a few years back. Its natural look resembles marble but is much harder and more durable. But, like my onyx countertop, it needs regular sealing to prevent staining.

4. Quartz

If you’re looking for something lower maintenance, quartz might be the way to go. It’s a man-made material, so it’s available in a wide range of colors.

A friend of mine has a stunning red quartz countertop – something you’d likely never find in a natural stone.

The best part is it’s non-porous, so it doesn’t need to be sealed! The low-maintenance aspect of quartz sometimes tempts me!


Reflecting on my experience with my onyx countertop, I can confidently say it’s a mixture of challenges and charm. The mesmerizing beauty and unique patterns of onyx are undeniable.

Every time guests visit, I see their eyes drawn to its stunning design. Yet, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

The need for regular sealing and careful handling to avoid scratches and stains is a reality I can’t ignore. It requires commitment, but its aesthetic appeal outweighs the maintenance demands.

Choosing Onyx is a decision that should be made after weighing several factors. It’s crucial to consider your lifestyle and the amount of maintenance you’re willing to commit to.

For people like me, who value aesthetics highly and don’t mind a little extra care, onyx is a fantastic choice.

But if you have a busy family home with kids or are not too keen on regular sealing and careful handling, it might be more practical to consider alternatives like quartz or granite.

Wrapping up, I stand by my decision to choose onyx countertops. Yes, the journey has been a bit laborious at times, but every time I look at my countertop, the striking design and luxurious feel make every bit of the effort worthwhile.

As with any major decision, it’s all about what works best for your needs and preferences. If you value unique aesthetics and don’t mind a slightly high-maintenance relationship, I can’t recommend Onyx countertops enough!


Hi! I’m Kobby, one of the co-owners of favoredstoneguides.com and the newest house owner in town. I’m a huge fan of most things natural. Over here on this site, I'm happy to share all the exciting hacks, tricks, and tips I have learned and continue to learn each day about taking care of natural stones.

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