Contributed by Shawna Feeley, Lead Designer for SIR Development
The dream is to have gorgeous solid slab stone countertops, but the reality of maintenance and staining that comes with natural stone, specifically marble and limestone, can be worrisome. Enter engineered quartz countertops made of approximately 95% quartz. The other 5% is a mixture of polymer resins and coloring that make it scratch, stain, heat and chip resistant; perfect for the kitchen that is actually used. It can also withstand the most dangerous household liquids such as wine, vinegar, lemon juices, coffee, tea and those deeply colored spices that can often stain everything they come into contact with. Because it never requires sealing or waxing, quartz surfaces are easy to clean and maintain.
When manmade quartz stone first hit the scene in the 90’s, the stain resistant qualities and durability was a breakthrough, but unfortunately the styles weren’t great. Times have changed and the look of manmade stone has evolved to compete with current trends. The materials now offer solid colors, honed surfaces and many different companies offering exciting new materials worth considering. I recently used the stone below on the perimeter countertops at 60 West Parish. They resemble polished concrete and look fantastic. We used a 2″ thick slab of Carrerra marble on the island and Calcutta marble mosaic on the backsplash and the looks mix seamlessly.
The cost of engineered stone can be slightly higher than marble and granite, but the options are worth considering. Here’s a sampling of some engineered stone made to look like marble. It has random patterns and a believable look comparable to natural stone.
At SIR Development, we have traditionally built with natural stone, but in addressing our homebuyers concerns regarding maintenance and material sustainability, we discovered that manmade can be beautiful.