What are the main differences between natural and engineered stone?

Here at Granite Line, we don’t just create beautiful stone pieces; we make durable surfaces. For this reason (as well as versatility), stone has always been a popular material for kitchen worktops. Whilst we offer a huge choice of different colours and materials, there are basically two main types of stone used in kitchens: natural stone and engineered stone. If you’re in the market for a beautiful new kitchen, it’s important to understand the differences between them and make an informed decision about which one is best for your home.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of natural stone?

Natural stone is borne of the earth, and kitchen materials don’t get more natural than that! It can come in a variety of types including granite and marble, which are prized for their unique patterns and colours, which can vary greatly depending on the location and type of stone. We offer granite, for example, in a wide range of colours and patterns, from solid black to multi-coloured speckled, as too for marble, whose distinctive veins give it a luxurious and elegant look.

One of the biggest advantages of natural stone is its durability. It is resistant to heat, scratches, and stains making it ideal for use in the kitchen, where it can be subjected to daily wear and tear in a busy family home. It’s also easy to clean and maintain and can be polished to restore its shine if it becomes dull or scratched over time.

There aren’t many disadvantages with natural stone but one can be the cost. Natural stone can be expensive, especially when compared to engineered stone and part of that is down to it being more cumbersome to work with than engineered stone, owing to its weight and thickness.

The good news is that, coming straight to a granite specialist like Granite Line can really help mitigate that cost. We personally source all our material directly from across the globe, meaning we can guarantee the stones’ provenance and quality, in addition to being able to keep the prices down.

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What is engineered stone and what are its advantages?

Conversely then, one of the biggest advantages of engineered stone is its affordability. Engineered stone is significantly less expensive than natural stone, and it is also more consistent in terms of its colour and pattern, making it the go to choice for kitchens where a solid colour or pattern is needed; if you have a strict colour scheme and design, it will be easier to find an exact match for it.

Engineered stone is actually constructed from a mixture of natural stone and resin. This allows it to be moulded into a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and we can also supply it in a wider range of solid colours than natural stone. It is also non-porous, which means that it is more resistant to stains and spills, making it a good choice for kitchens.

Because of this, engineered stone has low maintenance requirements; it doesn’t need to be sealed and is easy to clean and maintain.

But inevitably, as with natural stone, engineered stone also has some disadvantages and probably the biggest is that it’s not as durable as natural stone. It isn’t as heat-resistant as natural stone, and can scratch more easily, so in a busy kitchen where meals are prepared, knives and other sharp objects can cause damage more easily than happens with natural stone.

It’s also less unique than natural stone. As we’ve said above, that can be a positive if you have a strict colour scheme to stick to, as engineered stone is manufactured to be consistent in terms of its colour and pattern. But many of our customers love the unique and varied patterns of natural stone. So, if you are looking for a truly unique and one-of-a-kind look for your kitchen, engineered stone may not be the best choice.

Choosing between engineered stone and natural stone

So, both look beautiful in their own way and both have their own advantages and disadvantages and, in many ways, it all boils down to personal preference and budget. Natural stone (e.g. granite, marble) offers unique patterns and durability but can be more expensive and require more maintenance. Engineered stone (e.g. quartz) is more affordable, low maintenance and offers a wider range of solid colours.

Whichever way you’re thinking of going, have a look online at what we offer or pop down and have a look at some in the ‘flesh’. You may surprise yourself with what appeals to you the most.