You may be wondering about the type of surface top material to choose for your new island – natural stones like marble and granite, or artificial materials like quartz or terrazzo? With a plethora of material options, we understand that it may be difficult for homeowners to decide on which surface is best. Fret not, as we have helped gather all the information you need to help you with your decision.
What is the difference between natural and artificial stones?
First and foremost, the term “natural stone” refers to products quarried from the Earth. The most popular natural stones are marble and granite – which have been used for centuries as building materials and in opulent works of art. Natural stones are selected from the best, most consistent sources, which explains why these stones are extremely durable and beautiful.
Natural stones often differ in composition, colour and texture – no two pieces are identical even if they are from the same source. This is what brings out the uniqueness of natural stones, allowing the creation of one-of-a-kind designs that are distinctive and special.
Artificial stones on the other hand, are man-made products and are often referred to as engineered stones. Quartz for example, is made up of approximately 90 percent of natural quartz powder, resin and pigment. These percentages differ based on the different brands and types.
Debunking the myths
You’ve probably done some research online, and have seen the “negatives” of incorporating natural stones. Let us help debunk some common myths about natural stones to allay your concerns if you want to add these beautiful pieces to your home or office.
Myth 1: “Natural stones are so porous and stain so easily, I don’t want to have to spend extra effort maintaining them”
While it is true that natural stones have a porous nature, that is something that should not be on the list of your concerns. Here at Fine Work, we ensure that all our natural stone products are properly sealed to prevent staining and are resistant to moisture. When your natural stones are properly sealed by a professional, they can last for years.
The maintenance of your natural stone is also less daunting than it seems. Just use a neutral soap and warm water for occasional cleaning, and ensure that spills are immediately cleaned off (as you would in most cases on any surface). This way, your natural stones are much less likely to suffer from staining.
Myth 2: “Natural stones are too expensive”
Another common misconception is that natural stones come with a significant price tag. While this may be true for certain types of rare stones, there are actually a wide range of stones that are suited for modest budgets. Let us know more about your budget and projects and we will be happy to provide you with advice on what stones you can consider! After all, you are purchasing these from the direct supplier here at Fine Work.
Myth 3: “Marble and granite are things of the past – I’m finding something modern”
The use of natural stones can be dated back to 2.6 million years ago. If anything, the long history of such stones should signal its ability to age with grace. Compared to other building materials, natural stones are indubitably one of the best options when it comes to timelessness. Not only are these stones long-lasting, but its beauty transcends time to continue bringing elegance while staying modern to architectural trends up till today. While designs and preferences might have evolved with time, the beauty of marble and granite continue to last and are able to adapt to changing times.
Myth 4: “It is difficult to restore a chipped or cracked stone surface”
Sometimes, you may find chips or cracks on your natural stones if a heavy-weight item has caused accidental damage as they would on other surface materials as well. Regardless of the type of damage, it is advisable that you consult professionals like Fine Work when it comes to damage on marble and granite surfaces. With our years of experience and craftsmanship, we are able to devise solutions to make good such blemishes and have your stone surfaces restored to look as good as new.
Myth 5: “Natural stones can only be used in specific areas due to its delicate nature”
You may have heard that natural stones are delicate materials, and may not be suitable for use in all areas of your design projects. There are appropriate stone types to apply in interior and exterior settings, and natural stones are actually extremely versatile building materials that are suitable for use in many spaces. Several ancient buildings and monuments have been built entirely from stones, and continue to last through centuries.
Why should you pick natural stones?
Now that the common myths are debunked, we hope that we have swept away some of your bigger concerns. If you’re still having doubts about selecting natural stones for your home or building, here are some additional benefits of choosing natural stones.
- A naturally formed and plentiful resource, natural stones are sustainable and have existed for thousands of years. Stones like granite and marble are attained with low embodied energy and do not produce any off-gasses that are harmful or impair air quality.
- Natural stones like marble and granite have good thermal conductivity and heat storage capacity. Thus, it is perfect for use in the kitchen where homeowners often handle high temperatures. Even for Singapore’s hot climate, marble flooring allows for a cool and comfortable touch throughout the day!
- Every piece of natural stone is an art form in itself. No two slabs of natural marble or granite are identical, and the idea of owning a one-of-a-kind design is what makes natural stone so much more alluring.
- Originating from nature, marble and granite do not contain pollutants that are damaging to health and are also entirely safe for use in food handling areas.
- Natural stones are definitely going to provide you the best return on your investment. While other manufactured products like ceramic become dated over time, your natural stones will add a long-term value to your property – and they are to be admired for a very, very long time.
Suited for outdoor use
- Natural stones are very much suited for alfresco use. They are more resistant to UV and heat as compared to engineered stones like Quartz, and will literally endure rain or shine.
The dangers of artificial stones
Apart from the benefits of natural stones, there are other reasons why we try to discourage the use of artificial stones.
When processing engineered stones like quartz, tasks such as cutting, grinding, polishing and drilling can release hazardous levels of silica dust into the air. Inhaling silica contaminated materials may result in silicosis – a progressive, debilitating, incurable, and sometimes fatal disease that stems from scarring of the lungs, resulting in permanent lung damage. Thus, if being environmentally-friendly and the safety of workers processing your materials are of any importance to you, you may want to think twice about using artificial substitutes like quartz.
As a responsible provider of stones, we hope to reduce the use of artificial substitutes that may pose a threat to the health of our workers and advocate the use of natural stones that can provide the same beauty, if not more, while minimising the risk of health hazards.
Remember – natural stones are a product of the Earth. They are natural, abundant, and have limitless design potential due to the large varieties available. We hope that what you’ve read today has been of help in your surface top decisions.
Have more questions about your choice of natural or artificial stones? Drop us a message through our Facebook or Instagram page, or contact us on our website, and we would be more than happy to give you the help you need!