Lets get the name right
There’s often confusion between tradesmen and homeowners when it comes to quartz benchtops. This can be because the tradesman are so use to using terms like engineered stone, man-made stone, quartz, and they presume that everyone one will know what they are talking about.
To get the name right first. Engineered stone, quartz, and man made stone are all different names for the same thing. Like some may say automobile, vehicle, or car. In this article we will use engineered stone.
How is engineered stone made?
To really understand a product I find looking into its history helps to make you understand why it was invented and what gap it fills in the market place and more importantly why it is used in homes.
Nearly all of the engineered stone, mostly quartz surfacing, is created using a similar patented process developed by Breton Spa, an Italian company that first began in the production of equipment for working natural stone. It was this company that Sir Marcello Toncelli founded and then drove to solidify his vision of creating Bretonstone, an agglomerate stone material that could be mass produced in as many square meters as were required, in the same color, with the same structure and all at the press of a button.
Now, 50 years later, engineered stone is one of the fastest growing categories in the surfacing materials industry, with dozens of brands all kin to the original Bretonstone.
All the world known brands of engineered stone and made using the same Breton technology. This is like everyone having the same blender but each puts in there own slightly different recipe hence different colours and different patterns.
In the past technology had limited the colour choice to aggregate type looks and mono colours however with recent advances now engineered stone is able to create looks of very exotic marble (veined) patterns. This is the new look for 2015 marble veined stone. (we will be adding some of our kitchen benchtops with these marble patterns soon)
What brand of engineered stone is the best?
Are some brands better than others when it comes to engineered stone? Short answer, Yes.
Here is a list of worldwide recognized brands Stone Italiana, Santa Margherita, Caesarstone, Technistone, Cosentino (Silestone), Cambria, Seieffe, Quarella, Privilege, Silicalia, Hanwha, AKG, Dupont, Vicostone, Diresco, Falat, ZKM, Pokarna, Quartzforms, LG, Belenco, Samsung, Daelim
In New Zealand only Three of these world wide recognized companies have a real presence and backup.
Cosentino (Silestone) : Spain
Quartzforms (Eurostone): Germany
There are many other names in the New Zealand market but often these are imported from china and just branded here:
Pacific Quartz: China
Uniquartz : China
It is often hard to visually tell the difference between the Chinese stones and the European stones however there are more vigorous controls as to the ingredients used with the European companies as the need to meet strict health and safety regulations as well as green standards are adhered to, however, they can be slightly more expensive. We recommend that you ask for the country of origin to help you make a informed decision when selecting a benchtop.
If you have found this article helpful then please leave us a comment. We offer a free home consultation to get the best stone benchtop for your kitchen.
Other articles you might like:
Which engineered stone or quartz is the best product?
Jenny’s Story – How I chose the right colour for my kitchen benchtop
Roy’s Benchtop Replacement Story
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