Wednesday, 10 August 2016 00:00

Stone Solutions

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Stone Solutions

If you’re renovating or building and want your kitchen and bathroom to be fitted with the best possible products, there’s a good chance stone flooring, benchtops or even splashbacks will be high on your wish list. When it comes to cementing your selection, however, you will need to decide if engineered or natural stone is the better choice for you. April Davis sifts through the benefits of each, so you can make an informed decision.

When I embarked on my first new-build journey last year, I was a novice to the world of stone. After spending some time in my first home, however, I’ve learnt a thing or two about the pros and cons of different types of stone. One thing I can say with absolute confidence – it looks great! Whether you’re a lover of all things natural or prefer products with a perfect finish, both natural and engineered stone has the potential to completely transform your home.

To discover how both natural and engineered stone varieties can be utilised, Melbourne Kitchen + Bathroom Design magazine enlists the help of Doric Marble’s managing director, Theo Loukas.

A NATURAL ALTERNATIVE

Natural stone is an incredibly versatile product that can be used for flooring, benchtops, shower trays and splashbacks, as well as decoratively on feature walls. As the name suggests, natural stone is formed by the environment and can vary in shape, size, and appearance depending on the exact minerals present during its formation.

Natural stone varieties offer unique beauty and come in a range of styles, explains Loukas.

“On the question of stone types available in today’s market, there are myriad options available to the end user. There are [plenty of] natural stones [available], such as marble, limestone, granite [and] quartz.”

Quarried stone feature walls, large-format floor tiles, decorative splashbacks and bathroom accents are just some of the ways natural stone can be incorporated into a kitchen or bathroom.

Suitable for usage in and around the home, natural stone is both timeless and luxurious.

“Using natural stone like marble for kitchen benchtops might stain or scratch [over time] but the timeless appeal and [luxurious] feel is unmatched,” says Loukas.

MADE WITH LOVE

Unlike its natural counterpart, engineered stone is manufactured to achieve a desired colour, texture or level of quality. Here, Loukas discusses the benefits of engineered stone, which can come in a range of opulent and exclusive products that achieve a natural or smooth look and boast exceptional durability.

A range of engineered stone products is available, including premium surfaces with refined grains and natural patterns, luxury stone with veined surfaces, and of course, more innovative and exclusive selections that replicate the appearance and benefits of natural stone and have distinctive veining patterns and fresh colour palettes, as well as porcelain.

“Engineered stone will give you hassle- free usage, without the need for sealing and much less maintenance, and again it will look amazing, while keeping up with today’s trends,” Loukas says.

IMPORTANT DECISIONS

Like most things, both natural and engineered stone products have advantages and drawbacks, so it pays to carefully consider which option best suits your home, family, and lifestyle.

“There are pros and cons with all types of materials. Marble does stain [and] scratch, [while] granite is almost impossible to scratch [from] normal home usage, and performs well even for exterior use,” says Loukas.

If used internally, engineered stone is virtually maintenance-free; however, Loukas explains that “special consideration needs to be given in applications such as splashbacks as it is regarded as a flammable material”.

Most stone materials are long-lasting and aesthetically pleasing. Offering more than just style, a stone benchtop, floor or splashback will remain functional and as-new for years to come.

A LIFELONG COMMITMENT

If installed and maintained correctly, your natural or engineered stone product can last a lifetime, explains Loukas.

“As far as the installation process goes, it is relatively easy in most cases. For example, for stone benchtops most of the preparation is done by the cabinetmaker. As stone fabricators, we sight the project prior to any manufacturing taking place to ensure there is adequate support for the stone to adhere to.”

The company you enlist to install the stone in your kitchen and bathroom will follow the correct procedures to ensure your stone product will be long-lasting. After the installation is complete, however, how long your stone lasts will depend on how well you care for it.

Both types of stone are relatively easy to maintain. Most of the time, stone is sealed when it’s installed – if it’s not, you may have to do this yourself or enlist the help of your supplier. Sealers can be purchased in the form of sprays, gels or even paint and are easy to apply. Once sealed, clean your stone as needed with a neutral cleaner, and try to steer clear of harsh chemicals. You may also have to reseal the stone every few years.

Both natural and engineered stone varieties come with a set of distinctive benefits. The type of surface you choose will ultimately depend on your needs and the overall look you’re trying to achieve within your home. Once installed, your kitchen and bathroom will be set in stone, so make sure your choice is well-informed.

Read 275032 times Last modified on Wednesday, 10 August 2016 01:23