Comparing Engineered and Natural Stone Slabs

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Granite Buying Made Simple

Comparing Engineered and Natural Stone Slabs   Comparing Engineered and Natural Stone Slabs

Wholesale to Public

Granite Buying Made Simple

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Comparing Engineered and Natural Stone Slabs

Comparing Engineered and Natural Stone Slabs   Comparing Engineered and Natural Stone Slabs

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At first glance, you may be unable to tell the difference between engineered and natural stone. They are all beautiful, durable additions to your home. Making a list of pros and cons of all the choices can be daunting. Your lifestyle, design preferences, and budget may dictate which stone is better for you, so here are some differences to help narrow your options. Review this comparison before making your final decision.

Types of Stones

The formation, appearance, and cost of natural stones can vary significantly between the classes listed. Engineered stones typically consist of some percentage of quartz. They vary between the brands below:

Natural Engineered
Granite Caesarstone
Limestone Cambria
Marble Concetto
Quartzite Icestone (cement and recycled glass)
Slate Quartz
Soapstone Silestone

Different Origins

Natural stone slabs are extracted from quarries and cut from rocks. The slabs go through manufacturing and fabrication to create the pieces you see at your local natural stone suppliers. They are formed via various processes and contain a combination of minerals to create unique combinations of colors, patterns, and textures. Because humans cannot influence how it’s made, the looks are constantly evolving. Since it’s pure rock, it also can be recycled or repurposed.

Manufacturers make engineered stones with a combination of natural and synthetic materials. It typically consists of a natural stone base like quartz with resin, pigments, and ground stone crystals to achieve looks similar to their natural stone counterparts.

Looks Aren’t Everything

While you may not make your choice strictly on how the stones look, it is a significant factor in your decision. You will bring your room’s look together with the stone you choose. There will be little difference or variation between the samples of engineered stone and the finished product installed in your home. It has a much higher consistency in color, pattern, and texture than natural stone. Because of this, seams can be more noticeable. Its uniform appearance can be a pro or a con depending on the look you envision. For example, if you plan to add counter space to your kitchen in the future, you can get a similar engineered stone to look like what you already installed. Natural stone is harder to match if you make separate purchases years apart.

Yes, natural stones will have irregularities or flaws, but that comes with the organic territory. Sometimes the uniformity of engineered stone, especially on expansive countertops, can be too perfect and look unnatural or unsettling. Natural slabs have unique patterns that will make your piece one of a kind. It will add character and depth that engineered stones can’t replicate. Each stone is a work of art.

Comparing Strength and Durability

Natural or engineered pieces are the best options on the market for durability. Because of the additions to engineered stones, they tend to be harder and heavier overall. This may impact your design as the extra weight has to be supported appropriately.

Both are difficult to chip or scratch. If this does occur, a professional can typically restore natural stone. Engineered stone is much more challenging to repair. Both are long-lasting as long as they are maintained properly.

Maintaining Your Stone

While engineered stones typically don’t need to be sealed, they can swell and contract if you expose them to sudden temperature changes. You need to be extra careful with hot pans to prevent permanent damage. Harsh chemicals can also discolor it, so ensure you use the correct cleaning products.

Depending on the natural stone, it can be more susceptible to acidic or corrosive liquids. Because of its nature, the slabs can also be porous, requiring sealants to prevent liquids from absorbing into the stone. However, the seal can last quite some time, depending on wear and tear. You can also easily reapply it by yourself.

Because you can install natural stone in larger slabs, it usually has fewer seams, the more bacteria-prone areas on your countertops. Besides the extra cleaning on engineered seams, both typically require the same daily wipe-down with a gentle cloth and warm water.

What Stones Will Cost

Depending on the type of natural stone you’re interested in, it can be the same, if not less expensive, than engineered stones. This may be a surprise, but engineering stone carries a high cost, similar to quarrying. Both types of stones’ composition, coloring, uniqueness, and thickness will impact their cost. Supply and demand will also affect the price. On average, granite and engineered stones are comparable in cost. Marble can be a little bit more. Overall, natural stones will have a higher resale value if you are planning renovations or selling your home in the future.

Natural stone’s innate beauty and warmth will make your home luxurious and unique. It is difficult to compete against nature as an artist. The uniformity of engineered stone can be a preference if you prefer precision. It can be more stain resistant than some natural stones. No surface is perfect, or without potential problems, so you must consider which aspects are most important to find the ideal material for your designs. Using this guide with your personal preference and needs, you can determine which stone is a match for you.