Choosing Stone for your Kitchen when renovating.
With the popularity of open plan living, todays kitchens need to be both functional and fabulous. Kitchens are no longer separated from the rest of the home in a closed off room in which to simply cook and clean. Contemporary kitchens are considered the main hub of the home, a space where the entire family can come together and an area to showcase when entertaining.
When renovating a kitchen, choosing stone for benchtops has long been a popular choice for homeowners. Stone benchtops not only create a stunning feature, they are also incredibly durable and add value to your home. With the addition of a matching stone splash back, stone creates an amazing feature that simply cannot be equaled with tile. The most commonly sought after stone in kitchens are either natural options, such as marble and granite, or engineered stone (quartz).
So what is the difference between natural stone and engineered stone, and which should you choose for your kitchen renovation?
Marble has been used in kitchens for decades and creates a stunning kitchen finish that is truly timeless, though it requires regular sealing to avoid staining and special products to keep clean. Granite became popular in kitchens in the 1990’s. Many types of granite benchtops, but certainly not all, are now considered somewhat dated. Granite and marble are both naturally occurring stones that are designed by nature, being formed after years of heat and pressure which gives each slab its unique pattern and texture.
No two slabs of natural stone are exactly the same, making your countertop (benchtop) its own unique work of art. When ordering your natural stone, it needs to be kept in mind that these naturally occurring slabs will differ slightly to the samples you choose as there may be colour variances in the stone you receive.
Natural stone is heat resistant and durable, but is by no means indestructible. Although it is widely thought that placing hot pots and pans on stone will not do it damage, it is not recommended by suppliers as they may create black burn marks or gashes. In addition, while it is highly durable, dropping heavy items on its surface may cause it to break or chip.
Natural stone is porous and does require regular maintenance by way of a sealant to prevent stains and damage.
It is impossible to hide the seams of a natural stone benchtop although, the stone mason will aim to do their best to keep the veining in line and aesthetically pleasing as possible. The natural veins and colours in natural stone makes it impossible for the slabs to appear completely seamless. It is for this reason we at Master Bathrooms & Kitchens will aim to have as few seams as possible, and have them placed in an inconspicuous area where necessary.
While natural marble may not suit everyone’s lifestyle and budget, it is certainly a beautiful choice for the kitchen and although, it does come with a considerable price tag and requires regular maintenance and special care, it is worth the extra effort for its timeless design and authenticity.
For those homeowners who prefer a more simple cleaning, maintenance free, budget friendly option for their kitchen, without compromising kitchen design, keep reading!
Engineered Stone (Quartz):
In recent years, engineered stone has become increasingly popular due to its design, durability and price tag. It has quite literally become three times as popular for kitchen renovations than natural stone. Caesarstone, Smartstone & Quantum Quartz are the main manufacturers of engineered stone here in Australia and each provide their own array of collections for engineered stone design types.
Engineered stone is made up of natural quartz which is finely ground, mixed with resin, formed into slabs and undergoes an intricate design process. It is non-porous and does not require any sealing product at all, making it completely maintenance free. As engineered stone is a manufactured product, it allows for a uniformity that natural stone cannot provide. Seems are almost invisible because it is a manmade product that has been coloured and manufactured.
Engineered stone is considered more durable than natural stone. It is scratch resistant, non-porous, waterproof and mould and mildew resistant. Recent designs include industrial concrete and exquisite marble styles that boast luxurious veins that are often showcased on popular renovation shows. It offers four times the flexural strength and double the impact resistance of natural stone. Did we mention that engineered stone is maintenance free? It is the perfect alternative for those who desire natural stone without the stellar price tag. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t?
Engineered stone is heat resistant, but like all stone materials, can be damaged by sudden surface temperature changes. Like granite and marble, it is not recommended to place hot cookware directly on an engineered stone surface.
Polyester resin is used in its manufacture and may degrade in the presence of ultraviolet radiation. So varieties of engineered stone that are created for interiors, should not be used where it will be exposed to direct, unfiltered sunlight as over time, it may cause the product to discolour or fade. That said, there are ranges now available that are made specifically for outdoor use to withstand UV light and the harsher elements that our outdoor entertaining areas sustain. So be sure to look into these ranges if considering an Alfresco Kitchen.
Warm water and a mild detergent is all that is required to clean engineered stone, but of course there are the usual approved convenient sprays available to be purchased.
In summary, both natural and engineered stone are beautiful and extremely durable options for kitchen benchtops surpassing any other benchtop or splashback finish that add design flair and considerable value to your home. The choice between the two ultimately comes down to the individual preference of the homeowner and what best suits the decor of the home.
Master Bathrooms & Kitchens are a bathroom and kitchen renovation company that is family owned and operated. We have been renovating homes beautiful since 1995 and offer advice and expertise that only comes from years of experience. Be sure to peruse our websie for more renovation inspiration and advice or simply call us on (02)9899-9330 for a quotation today!
Watch our video below of just some of our beautiful bathrooms & kitchens.