Advantages of Engineered Stone Countertops
by Melissa Bullard
Face Your Kitchen Columnist
Natural stone, particularly granite, has been a popular countertop choice for years. Granite offers many advantages besides its natural beauty. It is durable, heat-resistant, and scratch-resistant. But granite countertops are very expensive and require periodic sealing, and if the countertop gets cracked or chipped, it's difficult to find a match. If you're refacing your kitchen cabinets and you're thinking about replacing your countertops, consider engineered stone instead of granite or another natural stone. Need some help deciding? Check out these advantages and disadvantages of engineered stone countertops.
Advantages of Engineered Stone
- Engineered stone is more durable than natural stone. Made from quartz, a very hard natural stone, engineered stone is usually composed of more than 90 percent pieces of quartz bound together by resins. On the other hand, granite is usually 60 percent or less quartz. Engineered stone is non-porous, making it stain- and bacteria-resistant, and it is also more heat-resistant than granite.
- Engineered stone is more flexible than natural stone. You can get manufactured stone to look like granite, marble, travertine, or concrete. It comes in a variety of colors and patterns, so regardless of the material you use in refacing your kitchen cabinets, you should be able to find a slab of engineered stone that coordinates.
- Engineered stone can be matched exactly by its manufacturer. If part of your countertop chips or scratches, it's much more likely that the company from which you bought it can find an exact replacement, whereas it is usually very difficult to find an exact match for a natural stone.
- Engineered stone is easier to maintain than natural stone. Not only are most manufactured stone countertops more durable than natural stone, but their nonporous surface means that they don't require periodic sealing, and you can use a wider variety of chemicals to clean them.
Disadvantages of Engineered Stone
- Engineered stone is expensive. Because engineered stone is so durable, it can be slightly more expensive than granite.
- Engineered stone is not necessarily ecologically-friendly. While quartz is a natural material found in abundance, those who are interested in a green kitchen may have concerns about the ecological impact of mines, and the use of petroleum in fabrication. If you're interested in engineered stone, look for companies that have taken steps toward making their products more environmentally-friendly.
- Engineered stone lacks the variation of natural stone. The look of engineered stone is often uniform, lacking the veins and variations found in natural stone that are so appealing to some.
Once you know your budget and exactly what you're looking for in a countertop, you can decide whether engineered stone is right for you.
About the Author
Melissa Bullard earned a Bachelor's degree in English Literature, then a Master's Degree in Spanish Language and Literatures from the University of Nevada, Reno. She has taught writing, literature, and Spanish classes, and is currently working as a fre
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