When designing a kitchen, it is essential to create a room with the right personality. A lot depends upon the overall design of the house and the desired effect of the room. Whether a kitchen is intended to be modern, rustic, or something in between, your choice of counter surfaces will significantly affect the project. Traditional stone surfaces come in many patterns but also in a rapidly escalating range of prices. Engineered stone has proven to have comparable characteristics to natural stone, with fewer disadvantages.
- The Look: The breakthrough in engineered stone was when the technology could sufficiently replicate quarried stone with consistent results. These days, elegant patterns rival and, in some opinions, surpass natural stone, primarily because of its consistency. Patterns like Calacatta Marble have such a smart and compatible character that it makes the rest of the kitchen design less complicated than natural stone. But only experts in quarried stone would notice it was not a product of nature.
- Availability: A substantial advantage of choosing a manufactured stone product is that the supply will not run out or change in significant ways. Quarried rock was created within the earth, and when it is gone, there won’t be any new product. But with an engineered material, you will be able to order more of that product. This factor is vital if you experience damage, or you want to add on to an existing product. Because of consistency in production, you will have high confidence that the new product will match the old. It also makes it possible to do large projects without worrying about finding enough matching stone for the job.
- Installation: Quarried stone is cut from the earth and polished and shaped. It is up to the skill of the craftsman to match the seams attractively. With engineered stone, the consistency of the product makes seams easier to match, and then they can be joined through a process known as seamless matching, making the connecting area nearly invisible. Seamless edges are currently very popular.
- Price: Generally speaking, engineered countertops are less expensive than granite or marble. Although at the higher end, there is some similarity. A difference of 30 to 70% can be expected, depending on the types of products being compared.
Using an engineered product for your counters makes most projects much simpler because of their compatibility and variety of available patterns. It is a heat and scuff-resistant product that stands up well to regular use, and it is infinitely more repairable than natural stone.