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Engineered stone is a composite material made of crushed stone bound together by an adhesive, most commonly polymer resin. For this reason, these stones are often referred to as Quartz products. Research reported in Consumer Reports (2010) magazine reveals virtually no difference in performance between quartz based products and sealed granite.
Since it has a uniform internal structure, Engineered stone does not have hidden cracks or flaws that may exist in natural stones. Its polyester resin binding agents allow some flexibility, preventing cracking under flexural pressure. But, the binding agents often continue to harden, leading to a loss of flexural strength over time. The polyester resins are not completely UV stable and engineered stone should not be used in outdoor applications.
These stones are sometimes damaged by direct application of heat. Quartz engineered stone is less heat resistant than other stone surfaces including most granite, marble and limestone. These stones can be damaged by sudden temperature changes. Manufacturers recommend that hot pots and pans never be directly placed directly on the surface, and that a hot pad or trivet is used under portable cooking units.
Quartz products are often referred to by their brand names, such as: Cambria, Silestone, Viaterra, Zodiaq, Caesarstone and Q Quartz. Each brand offers their own touch to the formula to create a high quality material in stunning colors that rival natural stones beauty.
Cambria, Silestone, Caesarstone, Viaterra, Q Quartz and Zodiaq
Granite, Marble, Limestone, Quartzite and Slate
Natural stone is prized for its distinctive beauty and the sense of peaceful tranquility it creates, but there are also many practical benefits to using Natural Stone in your home. Natural Stone products are more durable than many artificial products, often lasting for decades with very little maintenance. With Natural Stone there are no worries about exposure to harmful chemicals in the home or released into the environment during production or disposal.
Natural stone products differ in composition, color, and texture even among pieces from the same source. This is usually considered a benefit, lending itself to one of a kind designs and distinctive, dramatic applications.
Stones vary in density and some can be harder or softer than others, this makes some stones more difficult and expensive to quarry and process. Quarrying methods vary as well; stones may be quarried below ground, which is more expensive than above ground. Also, since natural stone is quarried all over the world, long distance shipping factors into the price. Most common stones are readily available at reasonable prices that can often compete with the prices of different materials.