While creating modern homes you will definitely hear about engineered stone countertops that require little maintenance, but look stylish and hi-tech. They don’t absorb liquids, they are easy to clean, and their color palette is almost limitless. These materials are suitable not only for horizontal surfaces, such as tables, baths, washbasins or window sills, but also for vertical surfaces, such as walls and furniture facades. These materials are used to build bars and receptions of impressive shapes and designs, as well as other pieces and accessories in public spaces.
Before choosing the engineered stone type for your project, think about the overall purpose of the item, the aesthetic qualities you expect, and the time you want to dedicate for its maintenance. Knowing this makes it easier to decide whether acrylic, quartz, ceramic or sintered material will be best for you.
If you are planning to install a new bathroom vanity with integrated sink, then acrylic solid surface, such as Corian, Meganite or Staron, might be the most convenient choice. This is because acrylic stone fabricators can also make your sink out of the same material as the surface, and join the two without any visible seams. In addition, you can have a splashguard attached to it by slightly rounded angle (radius), all parts forming one-piece item. Since acrylic solid surface products are seamless, there will be no small cavities on such furniture for water or dirt to accumulate. Acrylic stone slabs can be shaped and folded, therefore this material is particularly suitable for curvy reception desks and sculpture-like items. It can be an excellent choice for artistic and otherwise unusual architectural projects.
If you dream of a kitchen countertop or kitchen island that would be both, spectacular and practical, you might choose to fabricate it from engineered quartz, such as Silestone or Radianz. Such worktops are not just very durable, but also look great for their entire lifetime. Engineered quartz materials have been very popular in Scandinavia for many years. Quartz is a good choice for dining tables, furniture tops (such as night stands or chest of drawers), windowsills, bars, reception desks.
Ceramic and porcelain surfaces, such as Ariostea or Laminam, have similar practical and aesthetic properties to engineered quartz. These materials are very durable, but at the same time have elegant and minimalistic look. They are increasingly used for producing kitchen countertops and bathroom vanities. Porcelain windowsills will look fantastic! Lightweight and thin ceramic slabs (3-6 mm) are often used for furniture facades. They also suit well for cladding walls and fireplaces.
If you intend to chop meat or make fire on your future worktop, then you need a sintered stone material for it, such as Neolith, Lapitec or Dekton. Thin sintered stone slabs are ideal for fireplace surrounds (ceramic is also good for this purpose, whereas quartz is less suitable, and acrylic stone is not suitable at all). As sintered stone is very durable and very scratch resistant, it can be used in high traffic areas for stairs, floors and walls. Being non-porous and UV-resistant, it is ideal material for cladding building facades. Sintered stone surfaces do not need to be sealed, no matter where they are placed and whatever their purpose. Rain, frost, and even icing are no threat to them. Sintered stone items visually add a touch of modern look to any space.
In terms of average cost, engineered stone materials rank from the cheapest to the most expensive in the following order: acrylic - ceramic - quartz - sintered. Each material has its own price categories, depending on the chosen pattern and design. The price also varies from one manufacturer to another. It is possible that a product chosen from the most expensive category of acrylic solid surface will be more expensive than the product from the cheapest category of quartz and so on.