Appreciate the difference between natural, manmade and stone-look
Building, renovating, refurbishing, updating – major investments with many decisions to be made which can effect the value of your property, the ongoing maintenance costs and importantly, the look, feel and enjoyment of your space.
When it comes to deciding on the stone for your fixtures, fittings and furnishings, it’s essential to know your stone and be able to define, differentiate and distinguish between the range of options available so you can make a discerning and informed decision.
To simplify the process, we have categorised the options as:
- Natural Stone
- Engineered or Manmade Stone, and
- Faux Stone
Natural stone is exactly as described – 100% as nature has created. At Mackay and Whitsunday Marble and Granite (MWMG) we work primarily with marble, granite and onyx, which we source from a highly regarded wholesaler, Fine Stone, in Brisbane.
The stone is extracted from quarries around the globe and explorations are constantly discovering new formations so the range is constantly changing and expanding. The stone arrives in Australia in slabs – each different, with its own unique patterning and colour and individual character. These features make natural stone the preferred choice for discerning designers.
With natural stone, you have a material which has been created and formed deep in the earth, from heat and pressure, over a millennia of time.
Marble and granite have been utilised for both practical and aesthetic building purposes since ancient times and the fact that many of these structures can still be seen today, is testament to its durability and resilience.
The properties of each stone, ie hardness, resilience, heat resistance etc, differ and we recommend you read more of our blogs and web information and discuss with our staff, which natural stone is most suited to your purpose.
To meet the demand for those who want the properties, features and beauty of stone, but in a more affordable, accessible material, manufacturers developed engineered or manmade stone.
Yes, this may seem strange – how can you make stone? After all, it’s a natural material.
Engineered stone is made by combining crushed quartz stone with resin and organic pigments and forming it under extreme pressure into moulds for specific products such as benchtops, splash backs wall linings etc.
Quartz is one of the hardest minerals found in nature, making it an ideal base for hard working surfaces. The polymer resins are used to ensure the quartz crystals mould together and create strength. The organic pigments provide the colour and the blending process will determine the patterning.
The resulting engineered stone produces a material which has exceptional properties in regard to strength, resilience and resistance to heat, chips, scratches and stains.
As the manufacturers use primarily 93% quartz stone, which is a natural element, these materials are classified in the trade as manmade stone. Each manufacturer uses their own individual formula and manufacturing process so specific properties, colours, patterns and size availability will vary across brands.
At MWMG, our preferred suppliers are Caesar Stone, Essastone, Trendstone and Silestone and we will discuss with you which is most suited to your purpose.
We need to clearly differentiate engineered and manmade stone from completely faux stone products. Terms like ‘stone-like finish’, ‘the look of stone’, ‘granite-like’, etc should sound alarm bells if you are after real stone.
These products could have any number of formulations, usually completely manmade with absolutely no natural stone ingredients. These could be PVC, laminate or similar and formed to create a patterning or texture which resembles a specific stone.
There are numerous products under this category on the market and used for various purposes and in some cases, very cleverly. But be clear, they are not stone and they are completely different from high quality engineered/manmade stone.
MWMG does not work with this type of product.
We hope this clarifies some of your questions and to further assist in your decision-making process, please read more of our information blogs.
You are welcome to discuss your particular project with our team, either in-store or by phone.