Everything You Need to Know About Natural Stone vs. Engineered Stone
Natural stone has been used for construction and décor purposes for centuries. It is quarried from the earth and can be commonly found in a variety of colors and textures. However, as natural stone becomes more popular, so does the alternative-engineered stone. So what exactly is engineered stone? And what are the differences between it and natural stone?
Engineered stone is a man-made product that is created by combining quartz and other materials. It is then molded into slabs or tiles that can be used for countertops, floors, and backsplashes. Engineered stone has many of the same properties as natural stone, but it is more uniform in color and pattern. It is also less likely to chip or scratch.
So which one is right for you? If you are looking for a unique, one-of-a-kind look, then natural stone is the way to go. However, if you want a more consistent look, then engineered stone may be a better option. Ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference. Both natural stone and engineered stone have their own unique benefits that make them ideal for different projects. So, it really just depends on what you are looking for in a material. Below is a list of types of natural stone that you can buy for your tile floors.
Types of Natural Stone
Natural stone is a natural product. Every piece is one-of-a-kind and unequaled, similar to many other natural formations. Within each item of stone is the story of one particular location on our planet’s surface. Today’s limestone floor, for example, was once a sea bed, an ancient seabed, and—after millions of years of uplift—a mountainside on which the limestone was discovered.
Natural stones are carved from a mountainside in huge 50,000-pound blocks of stone. These massive limestone blocks are then divided into slabs, which are polished to give them a mirrorlike depth, a smooth surface, or a slight roughness to reflect their rich natural texture.
Natural stones hue, hardness, colors, and variation are all indicators of its mineral makeup and source. This unique combination of features distinguishes natural stone as a one-of-a-kind gorgeous and useful surface for your house.
A metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite, known as marble. Marble is never foliated, although there are exceptions. In geology, the term marble refers to metamorphosed limestone; however, it is used in stonemasonry more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone. Marble is a popular choice for sculpture and construction.
Although marble in its most natural state is white, there are other tones such as beige, black or grey. It is perfect for both the most classic and the most modern and innovative projects. Many marbles are well suited for wet area application, which extends the versatility of this material to include tub decks and showers.
Marble is the most popular natural stone for its physical properties, its multiple uses and for its original appearance.
Marble is a metamorphic rock that forms when limestone is subjected to the heat and pressure of metamorphism. It is soft and can be easily damaged, comprising primarily of calcite and often containing other minerals such as clay, micas, quartz, iron oxides and graphite. Since it is a calcareous stone it is not resistant to mild acids.
Limestone is a type of sedimentary rock that contains calcium carbonate (calcite) or the double carbonate of calcium and magnesium (dolomite). It’s usually made up of tiny fossils, shell fragments, and other fossilized debris. On close inspection of the stone surface, many fossils are frequently visible to the unaided eye. This is not always the case, however, some varieties of limestone have a very tiny grain.
Limestone takes on a variety of hues, including gray, white, yellow, and brown. It’s a softer rock that can be scratched with ease. It will effervesce in any standard acid readily. Limestone is produced in a honed finish, as most are not able to take a high polish due to its delicate nature.
Limestone may exist in a variety of textures and porosities, ranging from coquina, which is a matrix of loose or cemented sea shells, to oolitic limestones and microcrystalline limestones with structures so fine that they can only be seen under magnification.
Travertine is a dense, banded rock made of calcite (calcium carbonate, CaCO3). It’s a type of limestone that has a light color and takes a shine well; it’s frequently utilized for walls and interior designs in public buildings.
Calcareous stones such as travertine are another example. It’s a form of limestone that forms from a chemically distinct sedimentary stone, forming many tiny fractures in the stone body, allowing larger crystal formations to develop.
Travertine deposits in the Aniene River basin near Rome are several meters thick. The Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, are currently generating travertine. It may also be found as stalactites and stalagmites in limestone caverns, as is the case with Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico.
Onyx is a type of natural stone that is found in the commercial sector, which is made out of bands of light-colored or translucent minerals layered on top of one another. The majority of onyx slabs are banded calcite, as defined by a geologist.
Onyx is a relative of marble, since they both contain the same mineral content. Onyx is composed of calcite, which is also present in limestone, marble, and travertine. Banded calcite is actually a distant relative of travertine and forms in the same way.
Onyx is formed right on the surface, unlike granite, quartzite, and marble, which are all produced deep within the earth’s crust. Onyx is made from water with a lot of calcium carbonate dissolved in it, as opposed to spring or ground water. When the water from a spring emerges at its mouth, calcium ions precipitate out and form a crust of calcite crystals. More water flows by, as well as additional minerals, over time. The differences between the layers are a result of water flow rate and tiny amounts of impurities. Calcite is usually white or clear when in its most pure form, but it may be tinted by minor quantities of other minerals.
Onyx is a type of natural stone that is usually a warm honey color. This happens when there is iron oxide in the stone. The layers of onyx reflect the water’s movement and create beautiful patterns. People make slabs of onyx by cutting into the layers and revealing all of the different colors from thousands of years of deposits.
Crystals can form in many different places. Sometimes they form in caves or in other openings in the bedrock. You can also find them in veins of banded calcite that are found in fractured limestone or volcanic rocks. It all depends on where the groundwater that has minerals flows. All it takes is for someone to find the underground cache.
Travertine is manufactured in the same manner as onyx. The primary distinction between travertine and onyx is that travertine has a porous, lace-like texture, whereas onyx is smooth and non-porous. Aside from that, the two stones are quite comparable.
Granite is a type of igneous rock that forms deep below the Earth’s surface after millions of years of Magma or lava cooling and solidifying under high pressures. The granite is made from the Latin term “Ignis,” which means “fire.” Granite has three primary minerals, including quartz, feldspar, and mica.
Granite is a type of metamorphic igneous rock that forms over time through the carving of granite. The lengthy cooling process from high heat gives granite its strength and solidity. Its low porosity makes it an excellent material for both internal and external applications, mainly suited to kitchen benchtops and flooring.
Feldspar is the most abundant mineral in granite. Granite also contains a significant amount of quartz. Minor amounts of mica and amphibole are present in the granite blend.
Granite’s mineral content varies. True granite, according to a petrologist definition, must include 10 to 50 percent felsic compounds and 65 to 90 percent total feldspar minerals.
Quartsite is a metamorphic rock that is quite common. When sandstone or chert with a high content of quartz is subjected to heat and high pressure, it transforms into quartzite naturally. Quartzite generally contains more than 90% quartzite; some specimens can reach 99%.
Although quartzite may appear to be glassy and like marble in some cases, it has a smooth, slick feel. Quartzite is one of the most popular countertop materials because of its classic look.
This natural stone is widely used in construction as it is highly resistant to temperature changes, durable, resistant and does not absorb moisture. It is also one of the hardest natural stones, making it a good choice for high traffic areas.
Soapstone (also known as Steatite) is a metamorphic rock that is largely composed of talc. It also contains varying quantities of other minerals including micas, chlorite, amphiboles, quartz, magnesite and carbonates, depending on the quarry from which it originates.
Soapstone is a metamorphic natural stone made up of potassium feldspars and other minerals that have been transformed by heat and pressure. It’s formed when tectonic plates are subsumed (subducted). The rock is formed when one plate moves under another and is forced to sink. The rock is changed with heat, pressure, and the influx of fluids (but does not melt).
Slate is a type of metamorphic stone that is made of sedimentary rocks. It’s mainly composed of quartz, sericite and minerals of the chlorite group. Its color is determined by the mineral structure and size of its mineral grains, which define its makeup.
The layer in which Slate is found, known as bedding, consists of fine-grained sediments like mud or occasionally volcanic ash that were deposited millions of years ago and compressed into layers known as bedding. As the pile of sediments grew thicker, the open structure of the mudstone or shale was compacted into a mudstone or shale.
These rocks are easy to split because they have flat surfaces. People call these rocks flagstones. However, in order for slate to form, the minerals in the mudstone need to be changed by intense forces that happen when mountains are built.
Engineered Stone – Man Made Stone
Customers are concerned about making environmentally responsible decisions when it comes to stone purchases. Engineered stone is one of the most eco-friendly options for worktops.
There are several advantages to owning this stone over its natural counterparts: longer durability, attractiveness, cleanliness, and ease of upkeep. Engineered stones are high-wear and ideal for high-traffic areas like kitchen worktops.
There are numerous engineered goods on the market with various compositions, so it’s best to consult a professional to choose the right stone for your project.
Quartz is a wonderful and practical choice for nearly any surface and scenario, from hospitality to commercial ventures to personal use. ColorQuartz is a 93% quartz mixture that may be used on tops, floors, wet bars, walls, vanities, showers, tub surrounds, and even furniture. The material is incredibly long-lasting, scratch resistant, heat and stain resistant, low-maintenance, and non-porous.
The Neolith product is highly resistant, exceeding the strength and durability of most natural stone sorts such as marble and limestone. It’s constructed with a more sophisticated technology than traditional quartz surfaces, which means it has a few benefits over them as well.
The three main kinds of natural components in Neolith are granite minerals, such as feldspar and pure quartz, which give it strength and hardness, silica and glass minerals for chemical stability and natural oxides for chromatic qualities.
These materials are all subjected to extremely high pressure and temperature in order to produce a substance that is virtually indestructible. Blue Neolith, which contains sintered particles, is formed at a finer scale than granular products.
The brilliant hues of crystalline countertops are produced through the Inter-Crystalline Technological Coloring technique. The Inter-Crystalline Technological Coloring Process of natural stones originated in Brazil and was developed over a ten-year period of study. This technique allows for the molecular alteration of natural stone hues.
Traction, flexibility, and abrasion of the natural stone undergoing the Inter-Crystalline Coloring Process are not affected by the procedure. In other words, the features and qualities of your crystalline worktops and facings will be identical to those of the natural stone from which they are derived. The new granite tops and facings are more resistant to stains and damage, as well as being hydro-oil repellent and superior in quality to the original natural stone. This process does not affect veins or textures of granite or marble.
If you want to live an environmentally responsible lifestyle, a glass countertop would be a good fit. This is because glass is one of the most recyclable materials available. You may make your countertop from recycled glass that has been melted down into a single solid piece. Because the glass would have otherwise been sent to a landfill, using it in this manner is a tremendous help in conserving natural resources.
If you want your kitchen countertops to be spotless, you don’t have to worry about glass! The beauty of glass worktops is that they’re quite durable and can even withstand the heat of hot culinary tools.
Glass countertops are one of the simplest materials to maintain, owing to their lack of upkeep when compared to other materials. Being non-porous, they are able to prevent bacteria from spreading, making them extremely clean and simple to maintain.
Using crushed glass as a kitchen backsplash can add real character to your kitchen and make it unique. No one else will have the same design as you because the crushed glass is always configured differently. You can choose from many different colors and combinations, so you can find the perfect look for your kitchen.
There are many different ways to use glass in designs. You can mix crushed glass with concrete to create a mosaic look, or use acrylic for a liquid effect.
Concrete countertops are formed from a mix of cement and sand. To avoid creating the look of a sidewalk, concrete counters may be any color and must be sealed to make them non-porous and heat- and stain-resistant. As a result, the finished product has an industrial appearance.
This countertop is heat-resistant and very durable. If it is sealed correctly, it will be resistant to scratches and chips. The shapes, edge details, and textures can be customized to your preference. You can also add recycled glass or stone pieces into the mixture to create a unique look.
So, what is the difference between natural stone and engineered stone?
The main difference between natural stone and engineered stone is that natural stone is made by nature and engineered stone is made by humans. Engineered stone is also more durable, easier to clean, and requires less maintenance than natural stone. Natural stone can be more expensive than engineered stone, but it depends on the type of stone and where you purchase it.
When deciding between natural stone and engineered stone, weigh your options and decide what is best for your needs. Consider the cost, durability, maintenance, and appearance of each type of stone before making a decision.