If you are looking for high-quality and extremely durable materials for your kitchen and bathroom countertops, then stones should be your number one choice. Aside from being waterproof and very resistant to scratch, stone countertops provide a stylish and cozy ambiance inside your homes. These permanent installations are also available in different types and patterns which you can choose from to match your home’s design concept.
When it comes to buying stones for your countertop, flooring, and other areas inside your home, there are basically two types that you can choose from; natural stones and engineered stones. As the name suggests, natural stones are made from naturally-forming rocks that contain quartz, tourmaline, topaz, and garnet minerals for granites and recrystallized calcite minerals for marbles. On the other hand, engineered stones are made of approximately 90% quartz crystals and 10% resin, binders, and other coloring materials that are blended and heated together to create a consistent solid surface. Before choosing which type of stone is better, check out the pros and cons of using natural stone versus engineered stone in your home.
Design and Consistency
Natural stones are formed by earth processes and therefore each slab is different from another one in terms of composition and pattern. Meanwhile, engineered stones are manufactured with consistency in both the quality and design. They are replicated by batches to make them look as uniform as possible. If you appreciate the art in the variation of colors and patterns in your home countertop and flooring, then natural stones should be a perfect choice.
Strength and Durability
In terms of strength and durability, engineered stones have a slight advantage compared to natural stones. Because they contain a higher percentage of quartz (a highly-resistant material) in combination with hard resin materials, engineered stones are less susceptible to sustaining cracks, scratches, stains, and other damages. It is also important to note that there are two common types of natural stones; marble and granite. While being one of the least expensive natural stone variants, marbles are more prone to scratching and staining especially when exposed to acidic substances.
Both natural and engineered stones are very resistant to water and can easily be cleaned by wiping the surface with a damp cloth and a spray of a mild cleaner. Because of the natural spaces in between grains in natural granite stones, they are more porous compared to their engineered counterparts. The downside is that granite countertops will require regular sealing to prevent the growth of bacteria which may cause contamination, especially in the kitchen area.
Engineered stones are easier to maintain because they are more resistant to stains, scratches, cracks, and heat. But once they are damaged, it is more difficult to conduct a repair as opposed to natural stones which may quickly be fixed by resealing. As a general rule, wipe out spilled liquids on the surface and avoid putting hot kitchenware directly on top of your stone countertops to make them last longer.
In terms of the price, there is not much difference between natural stones and engineered stones. There are natural stones which may be cheaper or more expensive than engineered stones. The prices are more or less determined by the quality of the designs and the porosity and resistance to damage of the stones.