Stone is a great material for kitchen worktops. It’s hardwearing, stain-resistant and most-significantly, it looks great.
There are two types of stone that are used for countertops – natural and engineered stone. Much of the debate about which is best centres around taste and personal preference, but there are some key differences between the two categories.
This blog post explains the key differences between the two types, allowing you to make an informed decision about which is best for your kitchen.
Natural stone is, well natural. Heat and pressure under the Earth’s surface forces molten rock and minerals together to create wonderful stones like granite and marble.
Because they are formed naturally over millions of years, no two slices of natural stone are every completely the same. You can rest your morning cup of coffee on a countertop and know that it is sitting on something that’s 100% unique.
No one in the world has a countertop quite like yours.
There are different colours and styles of natural stone. The stones come from quarries all over the world, and stones from each region have their own characteristics.
Stones like granite and marble have a natural quality that is impossible to replicate with engineered stone.
This natural beauty is difficult to describe but is usually evident by sight and touch. If you are unsure what we mean, then you are welcome to come down to our Middlewich workshop and see what we mean.
Granite and marble are both stain, chip and scratch-resistant (which is not to say that it is 100% stain, chip and scratch-proof). Marble is slightly softer and more porous than granite, which means it is more susceptible to damage.
The quality of stone can also vary. Unlike engineered stone, which is uniform all the way across, you may receive a slab of granite that is particularly weak.
These weak spots or imperfections can be difficult to spot, but using a specialist like Cheshire Graniteline gives you the best chance of spotting a compromised stone before it is installed in your kitchen.
Generally speaking, however, natural stone worktops last longer than engineered stone worktops.
You can extend the life of natural stone worktops by treating them correctly against scratches and chips and we think they also have a more classic look that keeps up with changes in taste more comfortably.
Benefits of natural stone
- Each slice of natural stone is totally unique.
- There are lots of choices and the stone has a special ‘natural’ look and feel.
- Natural stone is hardwearing and resistant to stains, chips and scratches, particularly if it is treated properly.
As the name suggests, engineered stone is a man-made product. It’s different to natural stone in a few key ways, but it is still an incredibly popular choice for kitchen worktops thanks to its quality, durability and, for a lot of people, the price.
Engineered stone usually contains about 90-95% natural stone crystals, which boost the quality, look and durability of the stone.
Silestone is a mix of quartz and resin while Technistone is a mixture of quartz, granite, resin and colour pigmentations. Because colour can be added artificially, engineered stone can be created in some rich colour schemes.
It is a matter of taste, but if you aren’t a big fan of the ‘veiny’ or ‘imperfect’ look that you often get from natural stone then you may prefer the more uniform look that you get from engineered stone.
Lots of engineered stones have sheer black or perfect white colour schemes. Quartz can also be used to create some dazzling effects, particularly in modern kitchens where the designs really stand out.
The resin makes engineered stones non-porous. This makes engineered stone stain resistant and easy to clean. While stains and bacteria can be absorbed deep into a natural stone surface, engineered stone is more resistant and easy to clean with spray and cloth.
It is great for giving the look and feel of natural stone, without the high prices that can be associated with granite and marble.
It’s also cheaper to maintain because there is little need to treat or repair engineered stone regularly.
Benefits of engineered stone
- Rich uniform colour schemes that are perfect for modern kitchens.
- Stain resistant and easy to clean.
- More affordable than natural stone alternatives.