Thursday, 25 June 2015 02:51

Set In Stone

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Set In Stone

Stone is a timeless choice for your kitchen and bathroom design, but as well as the classic, natural choices, engineered products are making a splash. Kate Milton investigates the different types of stone available to help you determine which is best for you.

From the Taj Mahal to the pyramids, stone has been one of the most popular materials throughout history. Now in contemporary times, stone holds its place as a beautiful choice for home design, especially for practical uses, such as benchtops for the kitchen and bathroom.

Working with stone on a daily basis, Maria Barillaro of Multiform Stone Industries understands just how well stone can work in residential design.

“Stone is great in [a domestic setting]; it’s versatile, looks amazing even after years of having it in the home, [and] it’s durable. It comes in polished finishes and matte finishes, depending on the stone you choose,” she says.

Multiform Stone Industries specialises in manufacturing all types of stone, so Barillaro knows the ins and outs of each type of stone, as well as which are popular with clients – and there are clear favourites!

She says marble and reconstituted stone are the most popular, and it’s easy to see why. Marble has long been the stone of choice thanks to its beauty, but forms of engineered stone are offering up tough competition with looks and practicality.

Barillaro believes it’s important to choose the right stone based on your individual needs, taste, and budget.

“Stone varies, [so it] depends on the person’s home, what look they are after, and cost,” she explains.

To help you make your choice, Melbourne Kitchen + Bathroom Design looks at some of the highest- profile stone types and what they have to offer.

GRANITE

Granite is an igneous stone, which means it is formed from volcanic magma that has cooled over time. The magma combines with different minerals in the ground, and is compressed by the pressure of the earth, resulting in the granite’s crystalised appearance.

It is known for being strong and durable, and you’ll notice that many ancient structures and statues created from granite are still standing. One of the best things about granite is that every slab is unique. Granite comes in a wide variety of shades, from white, cream, and pink through to blue, orange, grey, brown, yellow, and black.

Granite is heat-resistant and scratch-resistant, but it is not damage-proof. It is a porous material, meaning it is susceptible to staining, and while you can seal the granite to help prevent staining, it is best to take proper care of the stone to keep it in best condition.

Granite is perfect for benchtops as it is tough and safe for preparing food. It is advisable that you use a chopping board to cut your food, but granite is a safe surface for food preparation. It can also be used for floors, such as in entry ways, and in bathrooms and outdoor areas. It can be polished for a shiny finish, or blasted for a more textured look.

To care for granite, avoid using any acidic or abrasive cleaners, including vinegar and lemon juice. Stick to warm, soapy water and a soft cloth. If you spill anything, be sure to soak up the spill immediately, so it doesn’t have time to sink in and stain the stone. resealing your granite surface every one to two years will also help maintain it. If you have granite floors, use a dust mop on them, and avoid vacuum cleaners, especially if worn, to prevent scratching.

MARBLE

Another natural stone, marble comes under the category of metamorphic rock. This means that the original rock form – limestone in the case of marble – undergoes changes after being exposed to heat in the earth.

Pure marble is white in colour, but if there are any impurities in the limestone, the marble will form in a range of different colours. This includes pink, green, blue, yellow, and black, and may have veins of different colours running through it.

Marble is heat-resistant, but is porous – more so than granite – so is susceptible to scratches and stains. Having the marble sealed and regularly maintaining it will help prevent damage, however, it can be a good idea to use it in areas of the home that do not have high traffic, or at least are less likely to experience spills!

This is the only downside to marble, as it is a spectacular material that can create a beautiful and elegant feature. Being a natural stone, it is consistently unique, meaning your bathroom or kitchen is guaranteed to be one-of-a-kind. The veined look of marble is striking, so if you like to make a statement, marble is for you.

Caring for marble is much like granite; you must take care not to scratch it with any hard materials, and it is advisable to steer clear of any harsh or acidic cleaners or liquid. always use a chopping board when preparing food on a marble benchtop, and remember, while it is resistant to heat, it is recommended that you don’t put any hot saucepans directly on the benchtop, but instead use a trivet.

RECONSTITUTED STONE

reconstituted stone is a man-made product that combines the best qualities of natural stone with practical characteristics for residential use.

“Reconstituted stone, also known as engineered stone, is combined with natural marble, granite quartz and a highly specialised resin,” Barillaro says.

This combination means reconstituted stone is non-porous, mildew- and mould-resistant, waterproof, scratch- and stain-resistant, and does not require sealing. Put simply, it is a low- maintenance product. as a result, it can be used all over the home, both inside and out, as it can handle the wear and tear of high traffic areas.

In terms of appearance, reconstituted stone can be made in almost any colour. It is often created to have a similar appearance to natural stone, but with a consistency that is not possible in nature. On top of this, it can be made in neutral, classic shades with minimal veining, through to bright colours with patterns, so it will suit your home, no matter what look you’re after.

looking after reconstituted stone is less complicated than natural stone, as you do not need to be as careful with spills and stains, however to keep your stone areas in best condition, you should still take care. Simply wipe down benchtops with a soft, damp cloth to clean them, and avoid using harsh cleansers or abrasive scrubbers, as they could lead to loss

of shine. There are gentle cleaners available that have been created specifically for use on reconstituted stone, so if you prefer to clean with something stronger than water, these are your best option.

MAXIMUM PORCELAIN

The word porcelain may bring to mind to delicate tiles or homewares, but MaXIMuM Porcelain is anything but fragile.

Made using all natural materials with nothing toxic included, these panels are safe for use around the home. On top of that, MaXIMuM Porcelain is extremely hard and durable, and non- porous, so it resists scratches and stains. This product has been designed with sustainability in mind, so not only is the production process as environmentally friendly as possible, the finished product is made to last a lifetime and does not need to be sealed, removing the need for future products and maintenance.

The panels are made to be light and thin, so they are easy to install, and come in a range of sizes, including extra-large, which allow for more creativity and less interruption of design. It is produced in a range of colours and styles, with finishes that resemble natural stone, concrete, wood, and even metals. Its durability and safety mean it can be used both indoors and outdoors, for almost anything you could want, including outdoor kitchens.

MaXIMuM Porcelain doesn’t require any special methods of caretaking, but like other forms of stone, it’s important to be gentle with the product when cleaning and opt for porcelain-tile specific products to keep them in best condition.

NEOLITH

NeOlITH is a sintered surface, which means it is made using extreme heat and pressure. By using high-quality and natural raw materials and an innovative process, a dynamic new product has been created.

This material is exceptionally strong, making it resistant to scratching and damage from everyday use. Because it is non-porous, and has an absorbtion level of almost zero, it is less likely to stain, and is resistant to mould and bacteria, making it a perfect kitchen benchtop option.

Because it is also resistant to extreme weather conditions such as uV rays and freezing, it’s perfect for outdoors, such as use in entertaining areas. It can also be used for floors and cladding.

NeOlITH is another lightweight product that can be produced in large slabs, providing easy installation and aesthetic conformity. The range of colours available is fairly neutral but extensive, and has been inspired by nature. It has a matte finish, although the marble-inspired options can come polished. If you’re looking to create something similar to natural stone, but with more visual conformity, this is a great option.

While NeOlITH is resistant to strong cleaning agents, it is not advisable nor necessary to use such potent liquids. Harsh or abrasive products could potentially change the colour or finish of your NeOlITH, so it’s best to opt for a mild detergent instead.

DEKTON

Dekton is another sintered material, made from a combination of elements that are used in glass, porcelain and quartz. It credits its durability to its unique compaction process. Dekton claims to be stain-proof and highly resistant to damage from chemicals, heat, and abrasion.

It is also flexible, and comes in a variety of thicknesses and dimensions. all of this means it is a versatile material that is suitable for almost anything, especially creative and innovative designs. Kitchen and bathroom benchtops are ideal, as Dekton can handle the wear and tear that comes with high use and exposure to liquids of all sorts. It is also suitable for outdoor use, as it can resist the forces of nature.

Dekton comes in a range of colours and designs, from natural styles to contemporary and industrial, to meet any design brief. The shades include white, grey, black, brown, and marble-style.

Being one of the easiest materials to look after, all you really need to do is to wipe it down with a damp cloth.

Choosing the right stone for your benchtops and home design comes down to a matter of taste and practicality. each type of stone has its strengths, so consider the look you’re after, what you want to use the stone for, and your family’s needs.

What is certain, however, is that no matter which material you choose to go with, you’ll have a unique and exceptional kitchen or bathroom.

 

Read 204963 times Last modified on Thursday, 25 June 2015 02:54