When it comes to choosing the type of stone for your home, it’s important to pick something that reflects your individual taste and complements your property. The stone you select should also be durable and suited to your needs, as well as to its placement in your home. For example, choosing an expensive stone for a busy area would not be very practical and would likely result in damage to the stone.
Whether you decide on natural or engineered stone, there are various things to consider before making your purchase.
Natural stone is a stone that has been untouched by manufacturing and is just as it would be in the great outdoors. Quarried from various locations around the world, this stone is naturally formed and will, therefore, be unique with no two pieces exactly the same. Where the stone is sourced from will also determine its colour and type.
Natural stone is stain, scratch and chip-resistant – this should not be confused with stain, scratch and chip-proof, however, as no one can fully guarantee something naturally-made. It's important to be aware of this when choosing your materials, as many people later discover their stone isn't as resilient as they'd expected it to be.
When you choose naturally forming stone, there’s a wide variety available in terms of colour, style, type, structure, porosity and price – one of the key differences between natural and engineered stone. Also, unlike engineered stone, the price of natural stone is not indicative of its quality, so should not be chosen for this reason alone. A higher priced piece may be more porous and, therefore, be softer and easier to scratch.
Manufactured by man, engineered stone was first introduced into the market in the late 1980s as a result of increased demand for continuity in stone styles, and for a denser product. The main component in manufactured stone is naturally forming quartz, a mineral that gives greater durability to the stone.
Unlike natural stone, engineered stone is available in consistent styles and colours, so is a better choice if you wish to match your décor. It’s also virtually non-porous and is, therefore, resistant to scratches, chips and stains, which also makes it more hygienic for kitchen use.
When selecting engineered stone, the sample and the slab may vary up to two shades due to the naturally forming quartz it contains, so it’s important to be aware of this. In terms of price, engineered stone is not necessarily less expensive than natural stone, with the cost depending on various factors, including the design of the application.
Although the price is an important consideration when choosing a stone, it should not be the defining reason to choose one piece over another.
Conclusion: Natural stone vs. engineered stone
As with most things in life, when it comes to choosing stone for your home, no one size fits all, and it's best to consider all options before making your decision. Also, neither one of the two – natural or engineered stone – is considered to be better than the other, as it's essentially down to individual preference and what you need it for. Also, each person’s definition of quality and value are different.
At Pulse Kitchens, we advise our customers to consider what they need the stone for, what function it will serve and how they want it to look in their home. Once these things have been worked out, it should help with the decision-making process.