When designing a big project, you may want to go with high-end materials for the flooring, shower walls and other areas. Investing in marble for spacious areas can be costly, but there is a viable alternative. Rather than using natural stone that will dip into your budget, you may want to go with engineered stones to mimic the look while lowering the price. Yet we get a lot of questions about engineered stone. So before you make the final decision between marble and man-made products, here are some answers to the most common questions about engineered stones.
Q: What are the Base Materials?
Most engineered stones are made using the same basic process. A mixture of quartz, resin, glass and various dyes are crushed into a powder. More than 90 percent of the solution is quartz, so there is still a great deal of natural stone in the material. The powder is blended and then pressed into large slabs that are ideal for use in a range of construction projects. This is how manufacturers are able to create the different colors and styles, including white stones that closely mimic Bianco Dolomiti tiles. This combination of materials makes the engineered stones very strong and durable, as well as attractive.
Q: Care and Maintenance
Both natural stones like granite and engineered stones are resistant to bacteria. All molds and bacteria require a food source, and these contaminants are unable to find that source inside the solid surface of natural or engineered stones. As long as the surfaces are kept free of food, bacteria will never be a problem. This is one of the reasons why engineered stones are commonly chosen as the counters, window sills and other surfaces in commercial settings like hospitals, nursing homes and other care facilities. This feature is also popular among homeowners who want a product that’s visually appealing, long-lasting and easy to care for.
Q: Are There Sealing Requirements?
Natural stones are typically sealed to prevent water from penetrating the surface and causing stains. Marble is a little more porous and should be sealed for use in most applications. Granite has an absorption rate of 0.01 to 0.40 percent. Ceramic tile has an absorption rate of 3.0 percent and does not require any sealant. Engineered stone has an impressively low absorption rate of only 0.05 percent, so there is no need to seal it against water intrusion. This makes it the one of the top choices for commercial settings, high-moisture areas and busy homes. You can expect this same great performance level from pure white stones or colored options.
Q: Can It Withstand Kitchen Heat?
Granite is known for its incredible heat resistance. Forged by nature over time, it can withstand temperatures of up to 2000 degrees. Engineered stone does not quite match this performance level. Forged through pressure, it can handle temperatures of up to 400 degrees. Subjecting the material to temperatures above this can result in permanent damage such as blistering. However, it’s still a great choice for all types of kitchens because it can handle most hot pots out of the oven or off the stove. Some clients may choose to continue using trivets or glass cutting boards as a preventive measure, but this really isn’t necessary.
Q: Is It Environmentally Friendly?
Another benefit of engineered stones is that they’re better for the environment. Made using post-industrial recycled content, they allow more of the natural stones to be put to good use. Other recycled materials that may be used in this product include glass, mirrors, granite chips and even seashells. Quartz is also an abundant resource that’s readily available throughout the world. Extracting it does not cause undue stress on the environment, and that also gives it a higher rating when you’re looking for eco-friendly products and building materials. If you’re working on projects that need to be LEED Certified or your customers have expressed an interest in choosing green building materials, then engineered stones should be at the top of your list.
Q: How Long Will It Last? Is It as Durable as Natural Stone?
As your clients review the design and building plans, they’re going to take a close look at your chosen materials. Engineered stones wear very well and can last for a lifetime. It’s not prone to cracking like granite or other natural stones, and that makes it a top choice for most homebuyers and business owners. When people are looking for cost-effective solutions that will last as long as the building, suggest engineered stone as well as marble, travertine and granite. The surfaces can also resist marks like scratches or cuts, but it’s still recommended to use cutting boards as a precautionary measure.
Q: Will My Tiles Be Consistent?
Natural stone is made over the course of centuries and has some variation to every tile. This is part of its appeal. Engineered stone is crafted by man and features a more consistent finish. However, it’s not completely perfect. As with natural stones, you’ll still notice some slight variations between different batches. The more consistent color makes them a great choice for any project where you want a smooth finish and are trying to minimize any variation in color or pattern.
Q: Is It Safe for Food Preparation?
If you’re designing a commercial kitchen or hospitality project, skip the natural options and go straight for engineered countertops. These surfaces are some of the safest choices for food preparation. The non-porous surface eliminates problems with bacteria, and that makes chefs and the health department happy. It also won’t be stained by oil, soda, acids or wine, and that makes it easier to work with. You have to be careful about the juices or foods that are set directly on some natural stones, but this isn’t a concern with engineered finishes.
If you choose to use engineered stone in your project, work with a supplier that can provide you with wholesale pricing and quality products. Nalboor offers engineered stone in brilliant white shades. Full body Marmo glass and laminated Marmo glass are excellent options for both commercial and residential applications. Our customer service is happy to help you place your order, and we offer great prices along with fast shipments. We carry these items in our regular stock, so you can count on us to have the supplies you need on hand. Call our customer service representatives today to discuss your material needs and see how quickly we can fill your order.