Natural vs. Engineered Stone

Natural vs. Engineered Stone

by Clean Cut Stone

When most homeowners buy new countertops, it can be very difficult to tell the difference between natural and engineered stone at first glance.The most popular options for natural stone are marble, granite, slate, limestone and travertine while when choosing engineered stone your options will be some variation of quartz or quartzite stone. All of these options can produce beautiful and durable countertops; however there are some major differences that may sway your preference one way or the other.

The Source of the Stones

The main difference between natural and engineered stone is their source. Natural stone countertops, such as granite, marble, limestone and travertine are created from slabs of rock cut from stone quarries deep in the earth. Natural stone is formed through a combination of molten rock and various minerals that have accumulated over time which give it its unique colors, patterns and textures. Feldspar is the most common mineral group on group and along with quartz make up the main body of most granite alongside colorful minerals such as garnet, topaz and tourmaline. The colors of natural stone depend on the place where they were quarried.

On the other hand, engineered stone countertops such as those made from quartz are produced using both man-made and natural materials. Engineered stone contains mostly natural stone, but it’s made by combining the ground stone crystals with resin and pigments during the manufacturing process in order to achieve the look that natural slabs have.

Their Durability and Strength

When it comes to durability and strength both natural stone and engineered stone counters are the best options available on the market. The only minor difference is that products made from engineered stone tend to be harder and heavier on the whole. However, neither one has a distinct advantage over the other in terms of durability. What they both have in common is that in order to keep them in the same condition as when they were new they need to be properly maintained. There are certain common household cleaners that can damage the stone surface by breaking down its seal, so be mindful of what you use to clean your stone countertops, both natural and engineered.

Their Appearance

Natural stone offers you a completely unique slab that has its own specific colors, patterns, flaws and irregularities. Picking out your very own natural stone slab from the slab yard is very similar to choosing a work of art. In this case, you’re choosing one of nature’s works of art that will become the main focus point of your kitchen or bathroom.

When you’re choosing engineered stone, you can either select exactly what you want from a catalog or from sample pieces. Usually there will be a slight difference between the sample and the finished stone that was created to your specifications. Engineered stone has a much higher consistency in both pattern and color as it has been specially designed to have this uniform appearance, similar to natural stone, but without its unique patterns and irregularities.