It can be hard to tell the differences between natural stone and engineered stone. For many, it’s next to impossible. In order to tell them apart, you have to know what you’re looking for. So, what is it that sets these two stones apart from each other?
Both options have their own positive assets. Both are gorgeous and mesh well with all different types of kitchens and bathrooms. There are also plenty of choices for both options when it comes to materials. For natural stone, the most popular choices are marble, granite, slate, limestone, and travertine. For engineered stone, many people choose a variation of quartz.
The main differences between these two types of stones lie beneath the surface. Keep reading to find out more.
The most notable difference between natural stones and engineered stones is their source. Natural stones come from the earth—they’re made from slabs of rock that are cut from stone quarries deep underground. In these quarries is where natural stone is formed over a long period of time from molten rock and various minerals. All these formations are unique, which means that no two natural stone countertops will ever be the same. The location of the quarries where the stones are found also makes a difference in their appearance.
Engineered stone, as the name would suggest, is man-made. Countertops that are made from quartz combine natural materials and man-made materials, mixing ground stone crystals with resin and pigments in order to create the look of a natural stone.
A Deep Dive into Natural Stone
Choosing your countertop material is a big deal, and you want to make sure that your choice will coincide with your lifestyle. This section will take a closer look at the durability and cost of natural and engineered stone, which are the two main areas in which they differ the most.
The beauty of natural stone is often what gets noticed first about it—it catches the eye and often gives off the air of style and elegance.
The durability of a natural stone countertop is often equally as impressive, although the degree of durability does depend on what type of stone you choose. Granite, on the one hand, is known for its strength and hardiness. Marble, on the other hand, should be handled with a more gentle hand—not necessarily because it’s easily breakable, but because it’s a softer stone than granite.
As long as natural stone countertops are sealed the right way, they can last forever. Natural stone is inherently porous, which increases the need for accurate and regular sealing to prevent damage from liquid soaking into the pores.
Cost and Value
Because natural stone countertops are stylish and sturdy, they’re an extremely popular choice—and their popularity means that they add value to a home as soon as they’re installed. Even if you’re not looking to put your home right on the market, natural stone is never a bad idea—you never know what might happen in the future.
For natural stone, you get what you pay for. Every project is priced differently, but the higher price that natural stone is known for is due to its high quality. The more that you invest upon installation, the less you have to pay in repairs down the road.
A Deep Dive into Engineered Stone
Engineered stone is impressive in the way that it can mimic the appearance, color, and texture of natural stone. While the color itself typically comes from a stone, it’s often enhanced with dyes or other colorants so it will pop.
Many people enjoy the predictability and uniformity of engineered stone rather than the standout uniqueness of natural stone.
As long as it’s installed correctly, engineered stone is hard and strong. It’s even known to be as tough as granite. But while natural stones must be sealed upon installation (and regularly thereafter), engineered stones do not because they are not inherently porous. This makes cleanup and maintenance extremely easy.
Cost and Value
Engineered stones may not have the same air of luxury as natural stones do, but they are still capable of adding value to a home. They mostly always qualify as an upgrade from old and outdated countertops, and their low maintenance is enticing for many buyers.
Engineered stone is known for being more affordable than natural stone, which also makes it the go-to choice for remodelers on a tight budget.
What’s Your Choice?
No matter which stone you choose—natural or engineered—there are advantages to both. The choice itself comes down to what’s right for your home and your lifestyle. If you’d like help deciding what’s best for you, give Sanford Granite a call at (407) 490-4926 for a consultation.