Natural Stone vs. Engineered Stone
Which is Right for You?
When it comes to choosing which material to use for your project, it's important to know the unique characteristics of natural and engineered stone. Here at IWS Granite & Marble, our sales team walks every client through the differences of natural and engineered stone so that they feel confident in their decision.
Natural stone (granite, marble, quartzite, soapstone) surfaces are created from slabs of rock sourced from stone quarries all over the world making it a plentiful and sustainable natural resource. Their unique colors and patterns are a result of the combination of molten rock and minerals accumulated over many years. The most common minerals found in natural stone include quartz, tourmaline, topaz, and garnet. Due to their natural occurrence, each slab will have its own variation of color and pattern, and no two slabs will ever be the same. With polished natural stone, it is important to note that any or all of the following natural characteristics may be present and are not considered defects of the stone:
Areas, especially in marble, that have been filled with a matching color epoxy that may affect the integrity and strength of the materials.
Fissures: small visible lines on the surface of the polished or honed slab which rarely indicate or affect the structural integrity of the product.
Beauty marks: natural mineral deposit concentrations that can be seen as intensified spots or lines of color, lack of color, or areas with compromised polishing ability.
Pitting: “pock marks” of varying size on the surface of a slab which are a result of the tightness of the material grain and the material’s ability to accept a polished finish.
Natural stone, particularly granite, is known for its durability and longevity. Granite is naturally hard and strong resulting in it being highly resistant to heat, stains, and scratches. Additionally, natural stone can be a cost-effective option. It is widely sought after by homebuyers and can help boost the value of your home during resale making it a great return on investment.
Engineered stone (quartz) surfaces are created from crushed stone that has been combined with an adhesive such as polymer resin. As a result, the characteristics of engineered stone slightly differ from that of natural stone. Engineered stone appears to have subtle and consistent colors throughout. This means that engineered stone slabs from the same color line are almost identical to each other. Though its beauty doesn't come directly from the earth, engineered stone comes in a wide variety of colors and styles that still gives your space a stunning finish.
Unlike natural stone, engineered stone is a non-porous material. As a result, it is less susceptible to staining, less likely to grow bacteria, and requires less routine maintenance than natural stone. However, it is important to note that engineered stone has a lower heat threshold than most natural stone, so it is more likely to crack if exposed to extreme heat changes. For safe housekeeping, it is always recommended to use hot pads when taking pans out of the oven. Despite this concern, engineered stone is still a strong and durable material making it a great option when looking for stone to use on your next home project or remodel.