What is Composite Stone?
The term composite stone, or engineered stone refers to a stone surface commonly used throughout the home (most commonly as a kitchen benchtop). This type of stone has been manufactured by man as a more durable substitute to natural stone. Composite stones are commonly manufactured using a ratio of up to 93% natural quartz aggregates with pigments and polymer resins. There are also composite stones that are created using crushed marble powder combined with resin and polymers however, this type of product has been mainly used to create bathroom fittings rather than benchtops.
Where can I use Composite Stone in my home?
This type of stone is most commonly used as a kitchen benchtop. It has also become very popular in the bathroom as a vanity top and also as a wall cladding (in place of wall tiles), as well as being used to form bathroom shelves and bath hobs. Composite stone can also be used in other areas around the home however, it is always important to check with the manufacturer that the product is safe and warrantied in other applications.
What are the benefits of Composite stone?
Composite stones are non-porous: natural stones have small pores in the surface which allow the stone to stain more easily if not properly and regularly sealed. With a non-porous composite stone however, maintenance becomes less of an issue. Composite stones do not require regular sealing, are less prone to staining and marking and are, in general, much easier to maintain than natural stones commonly used in the home, such as marble.
Composite stones are available in a variety of different colours: tans, blacks, whites, etc.: you are sure to find a stone that will suit your style and palette! With the availability of modern technology, composite stone manufacturers have been able to almost perfectly mimic the aesthetic qualities we all love in natural stones, with the release of marble-look composite stones.
In general, composite stones are much easier to maintain than natural stones: most ranges of composite stones work out to be less expensive than natural stone, as well saving you the cost of regular professional maintenance.
What sizes/edges are available in Composite Stone?
Various edge details are available for your composite stone, ranging from the most popular square edge to a classical ogee edge. Slabs are available in standard sizes, most commonly 3060mm x 1440mm and with 3 standard thicknesses: 30mm, 20mm and 13mm. To achieve non-standard thicknesses in a benchtop the stone would be put together with a mitred edge to form the desired thickness.
How does Composite Stone compare in terms of pricing?
In terms of pricing, most composite stones are often cheaper than natural stone however, with the introduction of new designs and colours, some top of the range composite stones can end up costing a little more than natural stone! So, if your first preference was a granite benchtop but you were concerned about price, it is definitely worth quoting your kitchen benchtop in granite and also in composite stone to see the true difference! Should you prefer a natural stone, it is also important to factor in the costs of regular sealing.
In general, a composite stone is a fantastic substitute to real stone, providing much more for the user in terms of durability, wear, less maintenance and vast colour choices.
For further information on composite stones, visit the following websites; each of these brands are available in Australia:
- Caesarstone (quartz based)
- WK Stone – Quantum Quartz (quartz based)
- Silestone (quartz based)
- Apaiser (marble based)
Have you used Caesarstone in your home? Tell us what you think of the product!