Countertop Materials like Marble, Granite, Travertine and Quartz are products of nature
When you select natural stone products versus engineered for your kitchen, bath or bar countertops, keep in mind some basic facts that are important to your future satisfaction. Marble, Granite, Travertine and Quartz are the most common natural stones used throughout the construction industry for a variety of residential and commercial hard surface applications, primarily, countertops. Being a product of nature they are subject to variations in color and shade and many geological imperfections such as irregular markings, voids, pitting, veins, fissures and lines of minor separations. These variations may be able to be repaired at the factory (even during fabrication in some cases), by additional surface treatments, most common repairs are filled or bonded with a resin. Professionally repaired cracks, voids and even fissures, would require that the resin be mixed with the actual dust generated from the surface prep and milling process to minimize color and shade variations.
Natural Stone Expected Variations
The natural stone slabs used to create your countertop or other hard surface application, may not match the sample(s) our designers presented at your home or business, or what you may have viewed in our showroom, even samples vary by piece. In all reality, this is the beauty of using a natural stone, it’s what gives your finished surface its unique characteristics. Keep in mind, no Two natural stone slabs are exactly the same, thus our professional fabricators and installers will determine where, if any at all, splicing shall be done to ensure the least, if any at all, noticeable seam.
Natural Stone Maintenance
Unsealed natural stone is hygroscopic by nature meaning they will absorb moisture, cleaning agents, dirt, dust and especially the colorants found in many beverages and thus losing its natural luster and original color and appearance. A quality sealer/impregnator is required to provide the best protection from foreign substances, keep in mind, to date we have not yet seen anything that can guaranty full protection, thus a regular regimen of maintenance is truly your best protection.
Do not use harsh chemicals containing acids, caustics or a strong alkali to clean your natural stone surfaces, and never allow lemons, oranges…or any citrus fruit to sit on your surface, it needs to be wiped and rinsed immediately or it may etch the surface. Never allow wine, juices, coffee, tea and any other colored liquids to sit on your surface, always use a coaster for any beverage.
This is the reality of what may come when using mother natures natural stones for any type of hard surface application. If you are in doubt of your ability in maintaining a regimen of care, or know there is a high probability of spills, consider using man made engineered hard surface materials for your application.
Engineered and Simulated Natural Stone Hard Surface Materials
Engineered stone countertops are remarkable products, offering the ‘best of both worlds’ regarding durability and aesthetics. They’re made to look and feel like stone yet they possess enhancements that nature couldn’t provide, namely, the durability and cleanliness that comes with a non-porous surface and the organic make up that is subject to degradation by harsh chemicals containing acids, caustics or a strong alkali or coffee, tea, wine, juices, coffee, tea and any other colored liquids.
One of the most popular and widely used forms of engineered stone is quartz countertops. Brands like Silestone and Cambria use quartz as the primary ingredient in their engineered stone countertops and other surfacing products.
Quartz isn’t the only form of stone that’s used however. Granite, marble and semi-precious stones can be found in various engineered stone countertops, each with their own decorative and functional appeal.
The Choice between Natural Stone and Engineered Stone is Yours, We want to make sure you are well informed prior to making your final decision.