The most common natural stone type used by interior designers is marble. When you see the variety of colours and the subtle veins in marble, it's easy to guess why. The restraint of light marble adds elegance and lightness to a home, while the patterns of dark marble add solidity and classic luxury.
Granite and quartzite are among the natural decorative stones that stand out for their hardness and durability. Granite and quartzite slabs can come in very bold colours and patterns. Harder than granite, pure quartzite rock is made up of quartz particles. Pure quartzite is normally white, but because of traces of other minerals in it quartzite can surprise with fabulous colours and patterns. The strength and beauty of quartzite is hard to resist.
Designers like the striking look of onyx slabs for their light transmission and original patterns. Onyx walls and partitions look stunning when lit from the other side. Gemstones such as jasper, lazurite and amazonite can create a real drama in interiors. Agate, aragonite or amethyst walls and partitions illuminated from the opposite side look like one-off works of art.
Would you like to admire the patterns of sand dunes while sipping your morning coffee in the kitchen? All you need is a striking sandstone worktop with undulating patterns in shades of yellow, orange, grey. Some sandstone patterns are strikingly reminiscent of tumbled dunes. Travertine is a slightly more modest stone, but also has a special earthy touch. Some interior designers like it because it fits almost anywhere. A wonderful and distinctive feature of travertine is its natural holes, which can either be left open or filled with a special sealant by the suppliers. They can also be treated by worktop manufacturers.
Of all the stones, grey or black basalt is the most restrained and less frequently used in interiors. The basaltic rock that makes up the ocean floor has excellent properties - it is non-toxic, non-explosive, environment friendly and non-flammable. Basalt is ideal for outdoor use as it can withstand even the most severe temperature fluctuations and weather changes. Strong and gallant, basalt panels have excellent heat retention and thermal insulation performance that exceeds other materials.
Artificial stone surfaces in homes, hotels, restaurants and medical facilities are valued for their practicality, hardness and elegant, thin look. All four types of artificial stone are non-porous or very slightly porous. This characteristic means that spilled liquids will not penetrate the surface of the countertop. Artificial stone countertops do not need to be impregnated and are easy to clean. They require less maintenance than natural stone countertops.
Engineered quartz and sintered stone worktops are generally stronger and less fragile than those made from natural stone such as marble or onyx. They can withstand greater abrasion, impact, scratching and UV rays. Similar qualities belong to porcelain and ceramic worktops. Acrylic solid surface is the softest and least scratch-resistant of the man-made materials, but the good news is that old or damaged acrylic products can be repaired and re-polished as many times as needed. Once polished, an old acrylic solid surface worktop looks like new again, leaving no signs of repair. This unique material can be folded (thermo-formed) during the manufacturing process.
The standard thickness of artificial stone slabs is 12 mm or 20 mm. Thinner slabs of 6 mm are commonly used for wall cladding and furniture facades. Natural stone slabs generally are 20-40 mm thick and tend to be heavier and bulkier. The lighter artificial stone slabs are easier to transport, work and install. Such worktops look light and modern. The edge can be visually widened to the required thickness when the worktop is manufactured, but this does not result in a significantly heavier piece of furniture.