Engineered stone is a composite material made of crushed stone bound together by an adhesive, (most commonly Polymer resin, with some newer versions using cement mix). The two common stones used in producing these products are marble and quartz, the application of this product depends on the original stone used, for engineered marbles the most common application is indoor flooring and walls, while the quartz based product is used primarily for kitchen countertops. The material is factory made in either blocks or slabs, cut and polished by fabricators, and assembled at the worksite.
A1 Quality Stone guarantees installation of natural stone (including but not limited to granite, marble, limestone, travertine, soapstone, onyx, as well as engineered stones) countertops. However because of the natural composition of stone as well as issues such as settling, we cannot guarantee that the stone will not crack on the countertop. We will however repair any cracks free of charge that occur within 1 year of installation. Any cracks that occur after 1 year will be repaired on a service charge basis.
Engineered stone products are gaining in popularity, many shopping malls and department stores around the world uses engineered stone for countertop and other surfaces. While research reported in Consumer Reports (2010) magazine reveals virtually no difference in performance between quartz based products and sealed granite.
Engineered stone (US name) is also commonly referred to as, agglomerate or agglomerated stone, the last term being that recognized by European Standards (EN 14618), although to add to the terminological confusion, this standard also includes materials manufactured with a cementations binder. The Quartz versions (which end consumers are much more likely to directly deal with) are commonly known as ‘quartz surface’ or just ‘quartz’
Stone aggregates are the major filler, although other material like colored glass, shells, metals, or mirrors might be added. A typical resin based material will consist of 93% stone aggregates by weight and 7% resin. Different types of resins are used by different manufacturers. Epoxy and polyester resin are the most common types. Chemicals such as UV absorbers and stabilizers are added to aid curing.
Engineered stone is typically worked in the same way as natural stone using conventional stone working equipment. This is in contrast with solid surface materials which can be cut with regular saws.
Engineered stone is less porous, more flexible, and harder than many types of natural stone. Less porous varieties are more resistant to mold and mildew than most natural stone types. Since it has a uniform internal structure, it does not have hidden cracks or flaws that may exist in natural stone. Its polyester resin binding agents allow some flexibility, preventing cracking under flexural pressure. But, the binding agents often continue to harden, leading to a loss of flexural strength over time. The polyester resins are not completely UV stable and engineered stone should not be used in outdoor applications. Continuous exposure to UV can cause discoloration of the stone, and breakdown of the resin binder.
The material is sometimes damaged by direct application of heat. Quartz engineered stone is less heat resistant than other stone surfaces including most granite, marble and limestone; but is not affected by temperatures lower than 150 °C (300 °F). Quartz engineered stone can be damaged by sudden temperature changes. Manufacturers recommend that hot pots and pans never be directly placed directly on the surface, and that a hot pad or trivet is used under portable cooking units.