Welcome to Myth-Busting Mondays where we DEBUNK the myths surrounding popular products used around the home!
For the next few weeks, we’ll be focusing on Engineered Stone products such as Caesarstone, Quantum Quartz, Smartstone and Essastone. Our first myth covered chipping in Engineered Stones – Click here to read!
Myth #2: Engineered Stone cracks easily
We’ve heard this one several times before: engineered stones aren’t as strong as marble or granite because they can crack easily. However, cracking can occur in any stone, natural or engineered, with the main causes being faulty installation of the slab or temperature shock.
Notes Regarding Installation
Cracking in any stone surface can occur when the stone has not been provided with adequate support during installation. All stones require a quality substrate (usually a thick MDF board) to be installed directly beneath them (on top of your cabinetry) to provide the strength and integrity your new stone benchtop needs.
In turn, any large open spans of stone must also be supported: for example, empty spaces in your row of cabinets allowed for freestanding dishwashers, washing machines or dryers must also be structurally supported to avoid cracks in the stone. For any large span of stone that sits over openings such as these, we would usually recommend a steel support be installed beneath the stone; the steel can be disguised behind a mitred edge of the stone. This solution will prevent your stone surface from cracking over these openings.
Notes Regarding Temperature Shock
Sudden rises or decreases of temperature can cause what is called temperature shock on your stone benchtop. Once again, this applies to both natural and engineered stones. It is not recommended that hot pots or pans be placed directly on the surface of your benchtop: instead, using a chopping board or trivet to rest your hot pots on. It is also important to point out that constant sources of heat (such as a slow cooker sitting directly on your benchtop) can also cause cracks in the stone. When using appliances that produce constant heat over a lengthy period of time, ensure you’ve provided adequate air circulation between the appliance and the benchtop. For example, a slow cooker could rest on a trivet to allow for air to circulate beneath the appliance.
All in all, engineered stones are significantly less prone to cracking that a softer natural stone such as marble would be however, they too can be damaged when not properly installed or handled.