Stone is a material of choice for homeowners, interior designers and manufacturers alike when it comes to creating the perfect kitchen. However, the debate as to whether to use natural stone or engineered stone continues, and this article will look into the benefits of each side, to help you make a decision.
Natural stone has increased in popularity over the years as it has become more readily available to consumers. It is obtained from the earth by mining, and it is then cut into slabs. The location of the quarry from which it is mined is the determining factor in the colour, type and features of the stone itself. As it is mined from the earth and created totally naturally, each slab of natural stone is unique – a feature which makes it very popular for those looking to design a kitchen like no other.The bounty of natural elements below the Earth’s surface mean that there are countless colours, hues, styles and structures of natural stone to be used. Some of them have different porosities too, and the combination of these unique features means that pricing varies according between each slab. Natural stone is resistant to stain, chip and scratch resistant. A common mistake is to confuse this with being stain, chip and scratch proof, which is not the case – in fact, the more porous the stone, the softer and less resilient it may be. Although more porous stone is usually more expensive, this is not necessarily an indicator of higher quality, so take care when choosing which stone to use. The longevity of natural stone worktops is far superior to that of engineered stone. If the natural stone is properly treated, then it can become very resistant to scratches and chips, even more so than it is in its untreated state.
Engineered stone is a man-made product that uses artificial materials coupled with natural elements. In fact, engineered stone contains 90-95% natural crystals which help enhance the quality and durability of the material. As the colour that is used in the slabs is purposely created, it is identical throughout all slabs that are taken from the same piece of stone, which allows for uniformity of colour throughout the room that you are using it in. The non-porous nature of the engineered stone surface means that cleaning it is incredibly simple. With natural stone, the porous surface means bacteria can be absorbed into the stone itself, posing a hygiene risk to users. Engineered stone, however, can be cleaned with a simple spray and cloth combination. The surface itself is also resilient to stains, as it lacks the porous surface which can be susceptible to things like oil, wine and other stains that can occur when cooking. Engineered stone is ideal for those who want to present the look and feel of natural stone in their kitchen but do not want to pay the higher prices, or undertake the more extensive upkeep that natural stone requires. By no means is the quality of engineered stone inferior or sub-par – the different styles of engineered stone make it a perfect alternative to natural stone.When choosing your worktop and the material that you desire, it is important to consider the above factors as well as your own personal tastes. Natural and engineered stone have their own advantages and drawbacks, so research is vital to ensuring you choose the right surface for you. Touchstone Worktops are proud to provide a wide range of natural and engineered stone worktops of the highest quality. If you would like to know more, please get in touch with us today and we will be more than happy to help you with anything you need.