Onyx is a natural stone whose lavish and natural beauty makes it popular among homeowners looking for a material that looks similar to marble, especially when polished. Its contrasting shades and rich parallel layers are formed over thousands of years, creating a one of a kind material.

However, onyx is rarely seen in bathrooms and kitchens as it’s complicated to install and needs frequent maintenance to maintain its stunning looks. As a result, it’s most commonly used to create bar countertops owing to the uniqueness that makes the surface stand out.

Thinking about installing an onyx bar countertop in your Toronto property but aren’t sure if it’s the best fit? Here are some pros and cons to help you decide.

Consider Onyx for Your Bar Countertop

If you’re in search of a natural stone bar countertop but want something that’s rare and inimitable, onyx might be the perfect option.


  1. It Looks Great

The biggest benefit of an onyx countertop is the unique appearance that makes it stand out from other natural stone alternatives.

Onyx is generally pastel or light in colour. Similar to other materials, onyx countertops are available in a wide range of colours, from blue and green to yellow and red. It’s also available in neutral tones such as beige and cream.

There are also many exceptional patterns and variations such as specks similar to quartz, veins seen on marble, and swirls just like in granite.

  1. It Lasts

Being made from a natural stone, onyx countertops can last up to 100 years when cared for and maintained properly. So, you might not have to replace it in your lifetime.

  1. It’s Rare

Unlike other natural stone countertops forged deep within the earth’s crust, onyx is formed on the surface from ground or spring water with an abundance of calcite dissolved in it. When the water emerges at the spring’s mouth, the mineral precipitates and gradually builds a crust of calcite crystals. Over time, more water flows by, allowing more minerals to settle.

The many variations present in the layers are caused by the different amounts and flow rates of the water, along with the impurities present. This process is what creates the unique aesthetic quality of onyx slabs. This makes it ideal for those who want a countertop that stands out.

  1. It’s Translucent

An exceptional benefit of onyx is its translucence which makes it seem delicate to the touch. This property allows light to shine through when placed behind the stone, allowing you to have a backlit bar countertop. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about the uneven distribution of light.

Depending on the spectrum of the light source used for the backlighting, the colours present in the stone can appear warmer and more vibrant. This feature is something you won’t find with other materials.

  1. It’s Lightweight

Onyx is much lighter than other natural stones, making it easy to be used in creative applications. Most onyx is quarried in small slabs, making it easy to fabricate and handle. It ranks on the softer end of the stone density scale, making it ideal for vertical and interior applications.


  1. Its Cost

Owing to its rarity, onyx is among the most expensive natural stone countertops. Along with the cost of the material, the cost of labour and installation is also generally more as you’ll have to hire a contractor with experience handling the material. This needs to be done to ensure the countertop doesn’t sustain damage during installation.  Additionally, any repairs will be costlier as it’s not easily available.

  1. Its Fragility

Unfortunately, onyx countertops are soft, fragile and require a lot of maintenance.

Although similar to other natural stones in many ways, it’s not as hard. You can add a layer of fibreglass on the bottom of the onyx compound to give it more strength but it may still be prone to scratching and cracking.

Additionally, the countertop needs to be sealed properly to protect the surface.

  1. Its Maintenance

When installing an onyx bar countertop, you can’t just place it and be done with it. The material needs to be sealed when used as a work surface, be it in a bar, kitchen or bathroom. Additionally, you need to apply a special stone cleaner regularly to keep scratches and stains at bay.

If you plan on using the countertop routinely, you’ll need to consider the cost of having it refinished periodically to ensure it looks as good as new for a long time.

Onyx is an exotic natural stone that can make a breathtaking impression when used as a bar countertop. The varieties available offer a chance to create a visual masterpiece wherever you want to install it. Your onyx bar countertop will easily become the centrepiece of the space, especially if you incorporate backlighting. Hopefully, the pros and cons outlined in this post help you make a sound decision about whether onyx countertops are right for you.