Natural Stones vs. Engineered Stones

Natural Stones vs. Engineered Stones cafe marble chia pudding

In contemporary living, the growing trend of natural stones and engineered stones in achieving aesthetical outlooks is quite obvious. For those who are of oblivious of the this growing culture, read through this article to have a view of what you are probably missing out on.

What are Natural Stones?

Just as the name suggests, Natural Stones are stones mined from the earth naturally without any mixing or enhancement whatsoever. Otherwise put, “Natural Stone” refers to a number of products quarried from the earth, used over many thousands of years as building materials and decorative enhancements. Natural stones include:

• Granite
• Marble
• Limestone
• Travertine
• Slate
• Quartzite
• Sandstone
• Adoquin
• Onyx and others.

What are Engineered Stones?

In simple context, Engineered Stones are refined stones; they are stones refined from the originality of natural stones for the sake of rejuvenating the naturalness of natural stones.

Engineered stone is a composite material used as an alternative to solid stone in the making of kitchen countertops. This type of constructed stone material is different from terrazzo because engineered stone is produced on-sight instead of in slabs by a manufacturer.

Apparently, engineered stones are only alternatives to natural stones but interestingly, they have all the properties of a natural stone such as fire resistance and strength but they are usually lighter. Engineered stones include:

• Quartz
• Silestone
• Caesarstone
• Silestone
• Cambria
• Okite
• TechniStone
• Viatera
• Zodiaq
• IceStone

Natural Stones

Pros

• Each natural stone has a unique look, texture and shape that cannot be confused for another. They are easily identified and give everything being used for an evident sense of naturalness.

• Natural stones are composed of pure ingredients that cannot be sourced for through an alternative means. This explains why even engineered stones are being derived from the crushing together of various natural stones.

• Natural stones are very porous; therefore, they are usually pre-treated with sealant which helps maintain its freshness.

The only maintenance needed for natural stones are wiping up spills or stains and reapplying sealant every 6-12 months. Natural stones are known for their long-lasting characteristic and their effortless ability to last a lifetime.

• It is comforting to know that natural stone has a business side as well. Undoubtedly, Natural stone still has a higher resale value than engineered stone, which an important consideration if you’re renovating and plan to sell your home in the near future.

Cons

• Because of their undiluted properties, natural stones are extremely heavy, and some cabinets and floors might need structural reinforcement before installation.

• Often times, natural stones usually don’t look like how they appear in the showroom after you buy them. This is not because they are fake; it is merely because of the natural element. The sample you see in a showroom may not be the exact piece that you get.

Veining, brightness, and color can vary quite a bit, depending on where on the slab your countertop is cut from, and also how the cut is made. So when your purchased natural stone doesn’t look like what you expected of it, you should know that it is not substandard, it’s just the cut.

• No doubt about this, depending on its origin and the rarity of the stone, natural stone can be the most expensive option.

Engineered Stones

Pros

• Unlike natural stones that have varying sights, with engineered stones, you know exactly what you’re getting. The sample you see is exactly what you will see after purchase.

• Engineered stones are usually of the mid-range price but as the quality creeps up, so does the cost but you can be sure the cost won’t be as expensive as the cost of a natural stone. The cost of engineered stone is almost always lower than that of high-end natural stone. If you are trying to cut cost, engineered stones might just be the best for you.

• With engineered stones, you don’t have to worry about sealant treatment. Because of their composition (crushed natural stone and polymer resin), engineered stones never need sealing, and are virtually spill-proof.

• There is always an improvement with engineered stones; you can never run out of options. New engineered stone products are being developed all the time, and you have nearly unlimited options when it comes to colors, styles, and patterns.

Cons

• As much as engineered stone shares the heat resistance property with natural stones, the resin in some engineered stones can swell or contract if subjected to sudden temperature changes, causing permanent damage. It is recommended that you cover the surface up before placing any hot substance on it.

• As a result of the uniformity and color of engineered stone, the unnaturalness in it is well pronounced; which then distinguishes it expressly from natural stone.

• Engineered stones usually don’t have the capacity to accommodate seams like natural stones. So you need to be very careful during installation so you can be sure it’s being installed in the right place that wouldn’t attract seams.

Suitability Of Natural Stones And Engineered Stones

Natural Stones

Most natural stones are suitable for floors, walls, countertops, vanities and other surfaces. The choice of using natural stones solely depends on personal preferences and budget.

If you like to see a sense of naturalness in the appearance of your interior and exterior surfaces, natural stones are best suitable for this purpose and they are assured to give the lifelong use that you need.

Engineered Stones

Engineered stones such as marbles are commonly used for indoor walls because of their low porosity; which makes them more resistant. Engineered stones are very suitable for both commercial and residential interiors and exteriors and they are especially mostly used to build fireplace in homes.

If you want a fancy and less natural look for your property, engineered stones are the best choices to go for because of their pronounced aesthetic properties.

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