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What do Engineered Stone Countertops Look Like? E-mail
Engineered stone products originally come from natural stone materials, particularly quartz. These stone materials are mixed with other materials to create a more solid material that can be used for making structures including kitchen countertops. Engineered stone countertops are exceptionally durable, and are heat- and scratch- resistant. Virtually maintenance-free, these kitchen countertops do not require any sealants like granite or marble. In fact, they bear up well against chips and scratches.

Engineered stone countertops come in a wide variety of patterns and colors including white, beige, red, blue, green, gray, and black. They actually look a lot like granite countertops. There are some very important differences, though. Countertops made of granite make use of several different types of stones such as quartz, mica, and feldspar. A stone binder is combined into the mix, and they are all glued together by heat and pressure. Countertops made of engineered stone also make use of smaller bits of quartz, mica, and feldspar, but plastic is added to the mix instead of a stone binder. These components are glued together by heat and pressure using the vacuum vibrocompression process.

The physical appearance and colors of engineered stone countertops

Engineered stone countertops get their colors and patterns because pigments are added to natural and raw stones. The colors and patterns that are created can match nearly any kitchen color scheme. Manufacturers of engineered stone countertops offer many color options for their products. Cosentino's Silestone offer 48 different color options, while Cambria engineered stone countertops come in 27 different colors, for example. The natural look of high-end granite countertops is undoubtedly more attractive than that of engineered stone countertops. However, engineered stone countertops look more elegant and classy because of their different color options, uniformity, and consistency.

Engineered stone countertops are finished using polishing wheels which give the surface a high-end gloss sheen. For its engineered stone countertops, Cosentino's Silestone uses a soft, leathered patina. Since engineered stone is solid, the natural color and mottling from the stone crystals are distributed evenly throughout the stone. The fabricated countertops can be edged with profiles like simple bevels, ogee, and bullnose.

Aside from granite and quartz, engineered stone countertops also mimic the look of other elegant stones like marble, concrete, and travertine.

The difference between an engineered stone countertop and a natural stone countertop

A countertop that is made of natural stone like quartz or granite looks very natural. The patterns and colors of natural stone are unique. No two slabs of natural stone are alike. A granite countertop, for example, is easily identified by its surface pits.

On the other hand, an engineered stone countertop exhibits consistent variability. The color and texture patterns are the same all throughout the surface. Engineered stone slabs look exactly like each other. This uniformity reduces the visible seams that are often exhibited by granite countertops.

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