The difference between natural and engineered stone is a common query in Townsville from those in the market for stone. Interestingly, each has its own set of attributes that buck common misconceptions as to what kind of stone is "the best".
Natural Stone vs. Engineered Stone
It is important to select the type of stone that will satisfy both your want for a beautiful finish to your home, along with the durability to withstand what your needs are, and practicality for your use. There is little point in purchasing an exotic, expensive stone for a working family where its location in a high traffic area will most likely cause irreparable damage.
Whether you decide on natural or engineered there are some things you may like to consider in terms of differences between the two.
Natural stone is exactly that – naturally forming stone, that has existed for thousands of years and is quarried at various locations around the world. The location determines the colour and type of stone found. Natural Stone is unique with no two pieces alike.
Natural stone is stain, scratch and chip resistant.
This should not to be confused with stain, scratch and chip proof, as no one can guarantee Mother Nature’s product. This is a common grievance about natural stone, which is why is it important to select a stone that is practical to your lifestyle.
Naturally forming stone has a large spectrum in terms of colour, type, style, structure, porosity and price. It is this large and varying spectrum particularly in colour and veining, which accounts for the main difference between natural and engineered stone.
With natural stone - price is never a determinant of quality or function, (unlike products in other markets). A higher priced piece may be more porous and therefore is softer and easier to scratch – so price alone should never be a determinant in choosing which stone is best for you.
Engineered stone is a man-made product and was introduced into the market in the late 1980’s.
The need for a manufactured stone arose due to a demand for more consistency in the look of the finished product, and a denser product. The main component in engineered stone is naturally forming quartz which is a highly strong mineral.
Engineered stone has general consistency in colour and style due to each piece being made to exact recipes. It contains almost nil porosity which makes it resistant to scratches, chips and stains, giving it an added hygiene factor when used in a kitchen setting.
As the product is made primarily from naturally forming quartz, a difference of up to two shade tones can be viewed between sample and slab, i.e. the sample you see may not be exactly the same as the slab. This is an important consideration if choosing engineered stone – which is a different process to if selecting natural stone, (where you can chose the specific slab).
A common misconception with engineered stone is that it is less expensive on the whole compared to its natural stone counterpart. Price is determined on a range of factors, including design of the application, e.g. the orientation of your kitchen can play a huge part due to resulting waste and therefore overall price.
Although price is an important consideration when choosing a stone, it should not be the defining reason to choose one piece over another.
Conclusion: Natural Stone vs. Engineered Stone
Basically, there is no one type of stone that can be considered “better” than another, much less deciding on whether natural or engineered stone is “better”, mainly because each person’s definition of quality and value are different.
Work out first what your needs are, what application the stone will serve, and how you want it to look and feel in your home. From there, you should be better informed to choose the right stone for you and your home.
For more information on Natural Stone or Engineered Stone please give us a call (07 4728 7432) or visit our Townsville Stone showroom at 5 Hamill Street (just off Duckworth) Garbutt, Townsville.