Tour of Paver Patio Patterns

Patio Paver Pattern Examples
When working with pavers, there are numerous ways the individual units (blocks, bricks, tiles, stones, etc.) are arranged in a project. When putting together a patio for example, how you arrange the pavers with affect the appearance of the patio. In this article, we are going to take you on a tour of patterns for constructing paver patios. We won’t cover every pattern out there, but we will cover the basic ones thoroughly. Let’s get right into our tour of paver patio patterns.

Stack Bond

Stack Bond Pattern Rectangle Example
The stack bond paver patio pattern used in making paver patios is a very simple pattern. As the name implies, the pattern is formed by simply lining each of the pavers up corner to corner. In other words, simply line the pavers up in a grid-like pattern with each paver lined up exactly with the one beside it and above it. The stack bond pattern can be achieved using any group of pavers as long as they are all the same dimensions.

½ Running Bond

Half Running Bond Paver Patio Pattern
A ½ running bond pattern (also referred to simply as a running bond) is accomplished by staggering each row by half the with of the block. So if your pavers are being laid so that they are 9″ wide, you would start the first paver of the second row 4.5″ from the edge of the first block in the first row. The third row is positioned to line up exactly with the first row of pavers. This is also referred to by the term “running bond” or “runner bond” without the ½ specifying the offset.

⅓ Running Bond

One Third Running Bond
As far as simple patio paver patterns go, running bonds are straightforward to arrange. The ⅓ running bond is made by running each row of pavers such that the current row is offset by one third of the size of the paver. For example, a paver that measures 3″ x 9″ would have an offset of 3 inches (9 divided by 3) each time a new row was started. So, the fourth row would line up exactly with the the first row. The seventh row would line up evenly with the fourth and first rows, etc.

Muster K (I Pattern)

I Pattern (Muster K) Paver Patio Pattern
The Muster K (also called the I Pattern) is executed by using stones of two dimensions. One of the pavers is square. The short side of the other paver is equal to the measurement of the square paver while its long side is 1.5 times that. For example, if the square paver measures 6″ then the the other paver would measure 6″ x 9″. Sticking with those sample dimensions, the proportion of pavers needed to correctly construct the Muster K pattern is as follows:

  • 6″ x 6″ Pavers (25-30%)
  • 6″ x 9″ Pavers (60-70%)

Three Stone I Paver Patio Pattern

3 Stone I Pattern Paver Patio Pattern Example

Next up in the tour of patio paver patterns is the three stone I pattern. This pattern is arranged using stones of three different dimensions. The stones are arranged in such a way that they form multiple capital letter I shapes. The I shapes can be seen both vertically and horizontally. The ratio of stone sizes needed to construct the three stone I pattern is as follows:

  • 6″ x 9″ Large Rectangle (37%)
  • 6″ x 6″ Square (27%)
  • 5″ x 6″ Small Rectangle (36%)

This pattern takes a bit extra work since the edge pieces will need to be cut. But the pattern is very appealing.

Diamond (45° Stack Bond)

Diamond Pattern (45 Degree Stack Bond)
The diamond pattern is a paver patio pattern that we have already mentioned, only with a couple of “twists”. The pattern is basically the stack bond pattern mentioned above. However instead of using using rectangle-shaped pavers and lining them up in horizontal rows, you use square pavers and rotate the work 45°. This creates a pattern that looks like diamond shapes. This pattern can be constructed using any size paver as long as it is square.

Basket Weave

Standard Basket Weave Paver Patio Pattern 2:2
The basket weave paver pattern looks just as the name implies; like the the texture of a woven basket. There are a number of variations that can be achieved when it comes to this pattern. The standard basket weave pattern is accomplished by using pavers that are all the same dimension and whose length is double their width. For example using 3″ x 6″ pavers would allow for a standard basket weave. The pattern is formed by laying two pavers with the long side running toward and away from you then the next two left to right one on top of the other. Then the next two get placed in the same manner as the first. Each time a new row that gets started, the orientation gets reversed. As mentioned though, there are several ways to get a basket weave pattern.

1:2 Basket Weave

One by Two Basket Weave Pattern
The basket weave pattern doesn’t have to be laid exactly like the pattern mentioned in the standard 2 to 2 alternating pattern. The 1:2 basket weave uses pavers that are twice as long as they are wide like the standard pattern. But instead of orienting two pavers in each direction, one position only gets one paver and the other position gets two.

1:3 Basket Weave

1:3 Basket Weave Paver Pattern
The one to three basket weave pattern looks like a woven basket just as a standard basket weave does. But it is constructed using a different size of paver and the pattern is a little different. First, the pavers must be 3 times the length of their width. Additionally, the pavers are placed with one stone set oriented with the long side going toward and away and then three stones oriented in the left to right one on top of the other. This sequence is repeated and each row alternates. There is the need to cut some pavers for the edges in order to keep the pavers lined up properly. If you are going to be cutting pavers, you will want to be sure you have a diamond blade for cutting stone pavers.

2:3 Basket Weave

Basket Weave 2:3 Patio Paver Pattern
The 2:3 basket weave paver patio pattern is achieved by using pavers that have a length of 3 times their width. In this case, the pavers are laid with two pavers side-by-side and then directly adjacent to those are three pavers stacked one on top of the other. The pattern is repeated for each row. When a new row is started, the paver groups (the two side-by-side pavers and the three stacked pavers) switch places. Thus, producing the woven look.

3:3 Basket Weave

Patio Paver 3:3 Basket Weaver Pattern
When laying out a 3:3 basket weave paver pattern, you use pavers that are three times as long as they are wide. The pattern is created by placing the pavers in groups of three. The first group are laid either vertically or horizontally and then the next group is placed in the opposite orientation. The groups’ orientations alternate to create a pattern that mimics a woven basket just as the name implies.

1:4 Basket Weave

Patio Paver Pattern 1:4 Basket Weave
The one to four basket weave pattern looks like a woven basket just as a standard basket weave does. But it is constructed using a different size of paver and the pattern is a little different. First, the pavers must be 4 times the length of their width. Additionally, the pavers are placed oriented with the long side going toward and away and then three stones oriented in the left to right direction one on top of the other. This sequence is repeated and each row alternates. There is the need to cut some pavers for the edges in order to keep the pavers lined up properly.

2:4 Basket Weave

Paver Patio Pattern Basket Weave 2:4
The 2:4 basket weave pattern is achieved by using pavers that have a length of 4 times their width. In this case, the pavers are laid with two pavers side-by-side and then directly adjacent to those are three pavers stacked one on top of the other. The pattern is repeated for each row. When a new row is started, the paver groups (the two side-by-side pavers and the three stacked pavers) switch places. Thus, producing the woven look of which the name is indicative.

3:4 Basket Weave

Basket Weave 3:4 Patio Paver Example

As with all the other basket weave variations, the 3:4 pattern reflects that number of pavers in each of the two groups used to create the look of a woven basket. In the one group, there are 3 pavers placed together with the long sides touching. We’ll refer to these as an A set. The other group is a group of four pavers arranged so that the long sides are next to each other. The groups oriented this way, we will label as B sets. The first row can be started with either an A set or a B set and the set may be placed so that the long lines run either direction toward-away or left-right. The next set is placed using the opposite set that was used just prior to it. So, if you started with a B set (which has four pavers in it), then you would use an A set (consisting of 3 pavers). This set gets oriented opposite the set to its left. This series is repeated alternating sets until the row is complete. Each new row begins with the set opposite the row below it.

4:4 Basket Weave

Basket Weave 4:4 Paver Patio Pattern Example

When laying out a 4:4 basket weave paver pattern, you use pavers that are four times as long as they are wide. The pattern is created by placing the pavers in groups of four. The first group of pavers are laid either vertically side-by-side or horizontally stacked one on top of another and then the next group is placed in the opposite orientation. The groups’ orientations alternate to create a pattern that mimics a woven basket just as the name implies. Once a row is finished, the new row begins using the same technique, only the orientation of the stones is switched.

Five Stone

5 Stone Paver Patio Pattern Example

The five stone pattern, as indicated by the name, uses five different stones and is a remarkable pattern that is not as complicated to arrange as it looks like it is. The pattern uses the following paver sizes:

  • 4″ x 4″ (Small Square Approximately 4%)
  • 4″ x 8″ (Small Rectangle Approximately 8%)
  • 8″ x 8″ (Medium Square Approximately 16%)
  • 8″ x 12″ (Medium Rectangle Approximately 32%)
  • 12″ x 12″ (Large Square Approximately 43%)

The easiest way to explain the layout is as follows. Begin with an 8″ x 12″ paver and place it in the upper left corner of the area to be paved. Just to its right place a 12″ x 12″ paver next to it. Then, use a 8″ x 8″ and place it directly below the 8″ x 12″ paver left aligning it with that stone above it. Next, place a 4″ x 4″ stone in the space between the 8″ x 8″ and the 12″ x 12″ pavers. Now take a 4″ x 8″ stone and place it in the remaining space located to the right of the 8″ x 8″ paver and directly below the 4″ x 4″ stone. This leaves you with about 8″ of the 12″ x 12″ left on the bottom and the full 12″ side exposed on the right. Starting just below the remaining part of the 12″ square paver, begin your next sequence and arrange the pavers the same way. As you reach the edges of the area you are paving, you will need to cut a few stones to fill some of the gaps on the edges. However, Your paver patio gaps will will often times be able to be filled using an existing stone from your supply.

Herringbone

Basic Herringbone Paver Patio Pattern Example

Herringbone patio paver patterns are ones that truly get noticed. These patterns can be completed using virtually any rectangle shaped paver. There are a couple of variations and we will mention them. The patterns vary in complexity but once you get into a rhythm placing the pavers it goes quickly.

Herringbone 90°

90 Degree Herringbone Paver Patio Pattern Example

The first variation of the herringbone pattern is the 90° variation. If the area being paved is a rectangle, using the 90° herringbone variation will reduce the number of cuts that will be required. Begin your pattern at a point where there is a 90 degree angle. If the is not one, you can place your first two pavers such that they create one for you from which to work. Place your first stone and your second stone so that they create an L-shape. Work your way out from that corner systematically. Creating courses of pavers that alternate (the pairs of pavers will look like nested L’s). Repeat the pattern until the area is completely filled with pavers.

Herringbone 45°

45 Degree Herringbone Paver Patio Pattern Example

The other variation of the herringbone pattern that we will look at is the 45° variant. It works exactly like the previous one except for the pattern is rotated 45°. This version of the pattern requires considerably more cutting. This is because when you get to the edges of the area being paved, you will be left with a triangular shape that will need to be filled. Unlike the 90° version, you are not meeting a straight edge with another straight edge. Rather, you will be meeting the straight edge of the boundary with the pointed corner of a paver. This means you will need to cut the block to make it fit the space.

1:1 Herringbone

1:1 Herringbone Patio Paver Pattern

In addition to the angle at which the herringbone pattern can be arranged, the paver orientation ratio can also be varied. One to one makes use of one paver laid in one direction for each paver that is laid in the other direction. however there are other variants as well.

1:2 Herringbone

1:2 Herringbone Patio Paver Pattern

The herringbone paver pattern may be arranged in a 1:2 orientation ratio where for each paver laid in one direction, there are two pavers laid perpendicular to it creating a little different look. The process is the same except that for the pavers going in one direction, you place two instead of one.

2:2 Herringbone

2:2 Herringbone Paver Patio Pattern Example

Just as the herringbone pattern may be laid out using a one to one ratio of any rectangular paver, it may also be arranged using two rectangular pavers side-by-side if the pavers make a rectangle shape after they are placed next to each other. Again, the pattern is achieved using the same process, it just gets created by doubling up the pavers in each direction.

As we have seen in out tour of paver patio patterns, there are many that can be used to create a paver patio, walkway, driveway, or other surface. We did not cover all of them in this post, but we made every effort to give you enough examples to demonstrate just how many there are. Additionally, we stayed with “patterns” and did not even journey into the “random” layouts that could also be utilized. No matter what layout or pattern you decide to make use of, knowing which options are available will be beneficial to you.

Natural Limestone

About Natural Limestone

In the realm of architecture natural stone is featured in a variety of projects and in a variety of ways. This natural stone offers a number of significant benefits and its properties make it the choice for some very specific surfaces. In this post we will look at natural limestone. We will not only discuss what it is and how it is formed, but we will also look at what needs to be considered when working with it. Additionally, we will consider how to care for and maintain limestone surfaces.

What is Limestone

Limestone is a sedimentary rock consisting of at least 50% calcite or calcium carbonate content. However, a large portion of commercial limestone contains much more than 50% calcium carbonate. Most limestone is made up of organic material such as that found found in fossils and even bone fragments. Because of the variety of limestone types, it is not uncommon to see a descriptive term used in conjunction with the worked limestone to describe the stone more fully. Some examples of limestone names with descriptors include:

  • Conglomeratic Limestone
  • Muddy Limestone
  • Pebbly Limestone
  • Sandy Limestone
  • Shaly Limestone
  • Silty Limestone

Colors of Limestone and Veining

Natural limestone is often times very light (close to if not white) in color with various shades of other (darker) colors accenting the main color. These color variations are caused by a range of substances that are included in small quantities during the formation of the rock. One of the “impurities” affecting the color of limestone is Iron Oxide, which can produce the following colors:

  • Pink
  • Yellow
  • Brown
  • Red

In addition to Iron Oxide, there are also substances of bituminous origin that produce the following colors:

  • Gray
  • Blue-gray
  • Black

Limestone has been around for a number of years and can be been featured in a variety of architectural and construction projects.

Finishes

Not much to say here, except that limestone is finished in a variety of ways. Some of these include:

  • Abrasive
  • Antiqued
  • Bush-hammered
  • Flamed
  • Honed
  • Plucked
  • Polished
  • Sawn
  • Smooth
  • Tumbled

A brief note though on finishes. Some finishes (e.g. thermal and tooled) can impact the strength and/or durability of the stone.

Limestone Flooring

One of the favorable uses for natural limestone is flooring. Natural limestone floors are impressive, pleasing to the eye and durable. When used in the proper environment, natural limestone lasts a lifetime. Professionals use this resilient natural stone not only for flooring, but also for facades, cladding and staircases.

Working With Limestone

Limestone is a relatively “soft” stone; registering between 3 and 4 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. Because of its properties, limestone has some specific requirements that fabricators should know when working with it. First, the high calcite content of limestone means it can be damaged through content with acidic liquids. Acid dissolves calcium carbonate and therefore should not be used on limestone.

Second, because limestone is soft, it is recommended that an appropriate diamond blade be used to cut limestone. Using the wrong blade can cause the blade to get clogged with material suring cutting. Using a marble blade for cutting limestone is generally a good option.

Limestone Care and Maintenance

Like any natural stone, limestone is porous. As a result, it absorbs liquid substances. Therefore it is necessary to seal it so as to slow the absorption. Colored liquids that get into the pores of limestone can cause staining; requiring a stain remover to clean up the surface.

In addition to staining, limestone surfaces can become “etched”. Etching is the deterioration of the calcite in the stone by acidic liquids. Restorers remove etching with an etch remover on the surface of the stone.

In conclusion, limestone is a very practical natural stone that has been used in a variety of applications and is available in various colors (although most limestone is white gray and beige in color) and works well for projects that need to be able to last.

Granite vs. Quartz

Comparing Granite and Quartz

Each is an option for various surfaces in homes and businesses. Both materials offer stunning looks in a variety of colors and popular visual textures. Furthermore, both of these surface choices are used in a number of projects and have a very strong customer base. Yet, the two materials are very different in many respects. In this granite vs. quartz post, we will explore some of the similarities and differences as we compare natural granite with engineered quartz.

Foundation for Granite vs. Quartz Comparison

Before we begin the granite vs. quartz comparison, it is good to clarify what we mean by some of the terminology that we will use throughout the rest of the post. This is necessary because both of the terms “granite” and “quartz” are used to describe various products. However, in this post we will be referencing very specific materials.

Natural Granite

In the world of marketing, words are often times used to describe an objects appearance. Additionally, particular products are given names or model descriptors as “labels”. These labels may or may not be representative of the actual material of which the product is made. Such is the case with the term “granite”. It is sometimes used to label household items that have a very durable appearance or resemble natural granite. However, for the purpose of our discussion, we will be using the term to refer to a very specific material.

In this post, the term granite will be used to describe natural granite; the igneous rock that is carved from the Earth and cut into slabs which are then processed for use as surfaces in design projects. These slabs are often times made into countertops, table tops, and worktops.

Engineered Quartz

Like the terminology we mentioned above regarding granite, the word “quartz” is also used to describe a range of materials. Quartz is the name of a natural mineral. Because people are aware of this, when they see a slab of material that is referred to as “quartz” they may conclude that it is a slab of quartz that was cut. Again, marketing terms are used to convey various kinds of thoughts. In the case of countertops, the term is used because the material contains a relatively high amount of the mineral. However, there is more to engineered quartz than just quartz.

Engineered quartz countertops are just the phrase implies, they are engineered. Engineered quartz is a combination of a binding agent (often times, resins), ground up quartz, and coloring pigments. The mixture is formed into a slab and processed for use as a countertop surface or perhaps tiles or panels.

Now the stage is set for our comparison between natural granite and engineered quartz. As we mentioned at the outset, these materials share some characteristics. Yet they are also different in some ways.

Similarities Between Engineered Quartz & Natural Granite

To start off our granite vs. quartz discussion, we will look at some properties that are common to both granite and quartz. Some of these traits we have already mentioned briefly in the introduction to this post. But let’s look a bit closer at how granite compares to quartz in hardness, color selection, design compatibility.

Comparing Hardness

Engineered quartz and natural granite are both hard materials. In fact, many of the fabrication tools, including the diamond blades on this website are described as being blades for cutting quartz and granite.

Natural granite ranges in hardness from 5.5 to around 7 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. By the same token, engineered quartz weighs in at about the same. That means these materials are both very hard materials. Just to give some context, natural marble and limestone measures about 3 or 4 on the same scale.

So if you are wondering which material is harder, they are pretty much the same. However hardness is not the only factor to consider when it comes to durability, as we will discuss later. For now though, granite and quartz are pretty equal as far as hardness goes.

Common Color Choices

If a material is durable and available, but only comes in one or two colors, it can really limit its uses. And there are some natural materials that seem to only come in a handful of colors. However, natural granite is not one of them. Natural granite slabs can be found in practically any color needed. And even though granite is formed through a natural process, it is very diverse and thus can be matched with various other colors.

Engineered quartz too is available in a plethora of color options. Since it is an engineered product in which pigments are used, the possibilities of color options are very broad.

Even though quartz slabs are not formed in nature, that does not mean that they are limited to solid colors without visual texture. In fact, many quartz manufacturers produce slabs that look very much like natural stone but without some of the drawbacks as we will see later on in the discussion.

Similar In Design Compatibility

The last area of similarity that we will consider in our comparison of granite and quartz is how well they work with various design styles. This is an important aspect to consider when selecting a surface material because often times the focal point of a design is made in whole or in part from one of these materials.

How Quartz and Granite Differ

Even though these materials share important features, they are by no means the same. They have properties that distinguish them not only from one another, but also from other materials as well. As we mentioned earlier, the hardness of a material is just one factor to consider when examining the durability of a surface. Other aspects come into play as well. namely, Stain resistance, heat resistance, and care and maintenance.

Stain Resistance

One of the areas that people are interested in when considering a material for a countertop surface is its stain resistance. Engineered quartz is a non-porous material. Because of this, it does not absorb liquids. The result? Liquids remain on the surface of the material where they can be treated. That does not mean that engineered quartz is stain proof, it simply means that the stains stay on the surface.

“Stains” occur in a number of ways. For example, a liquid could be spilled on the surface of the stone, the water could evaporate from the liquid and leave behind the other components of the substance. Depending on what that residue is, it can be very difficult clean up. For instance, plain old tap water for example, often times contains minerals such as lime or calcium. If water is left to dry on a quartz surface, it can leave lime scale after the water evaporates. These “stains” can be challenging to clean up without the proper cleaners for removing lime scale from quartz.

Natural Stone’s Porosity

Conversely, all natural stone is porous to one degree or another. That includes natural granite. Porous stone becomes stained in a different way than quartz does. In the case of natural granite and other porous materials, water and oil based liquids are absorbed by the material and when the water leaves, the residue is left in the pores of the stone. These kinds of stains also can be a challenge to remove if you do not have the correct cleaning product.

For natural stone, one commonly recommended method for combating oil based and water based stains on natural stone is to periodically treat the surface with an impregnating sealer. Sealers cause liquids to stay on the surface of a treated stone longer than they do on non-sealed materials. This allows more time for cleaning up spills. Impregnating sealers are most effective though when used in conjunction with a pH neutral cleaner. Using the wrong cleaner breaks down the sealer and nullifies the benefits that come from sealing the stone.

Heat Resistance

Heat resistance is another area in which engineered quartz and natural granite differ. Granite surfaces are naturally heat resistant. After all, the material is formed under intense heat in the first place. That is not to say that exposing natural granite to a tremendous heat source will not do anything. Some granite slabs have treatments applied to them (as previously mentioned) that can be affected by heat. Yet the granite is very resilient and can take just about any normal household heat that it experiences. As mentioned though, surface treatments are not as resilient as the stone itself, so maintenance is key in keeping granite looking its best.

On the other hand, quartz is composed of various materials; one of which is a binding agent commonly made from resins. Resins are not as heat resistant as natural stone. That being said, quartz surfaces do have benefits that make using a trivet or a hot pad a small matter for many.

Care & Maintenance

The last area in which granite and quartz differ in comparison is the care and maintenance. The direction may vary from one brand to another but along the way you will most likely find some very similar instruction. Although we have already touched on some of this information earlier in our granite vs. quartz post, we will restate it again here. Let’s first look at granite.

Being a natural stone, granite is porous and will need to be sealed to slow the rate of absorption. Additionally, using a pH neutral cleaner for everyday clean up will ensure that the sealer remains in tact for as long as possible. And if a stain does occur, using the proper stain remover can be beneficial.

Quartz surfaces do not require sealers. However, there are some important things to note. For example, many quartz care and maintenance manuals specifically state that all water should be dried from the surface. As mentioned previously, mineral deposits can discolor engineered quartz. Use a lime scale remover to treat those surface stains.

Although, not all quartz requires pH neutral cleaner for everyday cleaning, it doesn’t hurt. Acidic cleaners are okay to use on many quartz surfaces as long as it is the correct type of acidic cleaner. However, steer clear from cleaners that are alkaline. These kinds of cleaners are detrimental to say the least.

So there it is! A comparison of natural granite and engineered quartz. As we mentioned, there are a number of similarities between the two materials. Yet there are differences as well. No matter which material you are working with or treating, knowing a bit about what it requires will help you as you work with either of these surface materials.

Incorporate Natural Stone

Incorporate Natural Stone Into Home

How to Incorporate Natural Stone Into Your Home’s Design

“Sure, natural stone is a nice feature. But how can I incorporate natural stone into my home’s design without breaking the budget?” It may be that you have asked yourself that very question a time or two. Or, you might be wondering how you could answer that question if you are a fabricator. In this article we will consider some simple ways that natural stone can be worked into and existing home without gutting the house and doing a TV show-like renovation project.

Why Natural Stone?

One of the biggest reasons for choosing natural stone in your home design is that it has the potential to increase the value of your home. This might not be new information to you. In fact, there are many articles online that effectively lay out the reasons why natural stone adds value to a home. We found one article by simply doing a search online for why natural stone increases your home’s value and found this article talking specifically about granite. However, the principle applies also to other stone types. But after learning this, some think that they cannot have natural stone surfaces because they cannot afford gut the house and replace it with all new materials. The good news is you don’t have to. Let’s look at some simple ways to incorporate natural stone into a home via small remodeling projects.

Bathroom Tiling

One project that can be small enough to fit most budgets is bathroom tile. Incorporating natural stone into a bathroom or bathrooms can be fairly straightforward. And you may be surprised at the amount of tile you find that is made from natural stone. There are a number natural stone tile types available.

The combination of a small room size paired with the diverse options means there is a pretty good chance that one could either perform this project oneself or hire someone to do the work on a modest budget.

Vanity Counterop

Another project that fits the criteria of being small enough to complete on a small budget is that of a bathroom vanity. Again, bathrooms are small and doing an install of a single vanity top can be a simple way to incorporate some natural stone into your home without having to go on a show like The Property Brothers to have the whole house remodeled.

One type of stone that some find is beneficial for bathroom vanities is marble. The elegant look and the delicate characteristics make this natural stone the choice for some. However, be sure you familiarize yourself with marble so that you can care for it properly. In fact it might be wise to research marble care and maintenance so you know what to expect.

Kitchen Back Splashes

There are other smaller sized projects available for incorporating natural stone into your home and increasing appeal. One such project is right in the hub of family activity; the kitchen. A natural stone back splash for the kitchen is not a large project and it could be completed in a one or two day window based on the experience of the installer and how long the workday is. But what kinds of natural stone materials are preferable for use as a back splash material?

Travertine tiles are one example of a natural stone material that can be turned into a beautiful kitchen back splash. Tiling patterns and ornamentation also can “step up” the appearance of the back splash.

Kitchen Countertops

If your looking to add something even more striking and your budget can take it, you may decide to take on something a bit bigger but more noticeable too. Kitchen countertops from natural stone are little bit larger in scope, cost, and time. however, the wow-factor is bigger too. Since the cost is higher, it might be beneficial to hire a professional to take on this project though since a mistake could be costly.

There are many natural stone materials that can be use for kitchen countertops including:

Again, it is always a course of wisdom to do your research on any natural or engineered stone that you are contemplating using. Doing so will ensure that you are not surprised by a characteristic or trait that you did not anticipate.

So there you have them. Some practical ways that you can incorporate value-boosting natural stone into your home without breaking the bank. You can choose one or more of these projects and transform your home or the home of your client if you are a fabricator or installer a little at a time.

Sintered Stone Surfaces

Sintered Stone Surfaces

Sintered Stone Surfaces

Sintered stone is a relatively new material in some areas of the hard surfaces industry. This material is sometimes lumped into a category or group with other materials like porcelain surfaces. Yet, it is a different material and even within the category itself, there are variations between proprietary ‘recipes’ and processes that make the resulting materials different from one another. In this post, we are going peer into the details that make sintered stone surfaces unique when compared, not only with other materials, but also with rivals in the same material class.

Sintered Stone – A Fascinating Material

It doesn’t take long to realize that this material is amazing. All you have to do is research how it is created. Engineers produce sintered stone in a manufacturing facility. Sintered stone goes by various terminology. Some material names in this category include:

  • Ultra-compact Surfaces
  • Sintered Stone
  • Pyrolithic Stone

Various companies produce sintered surfaces some of these are:

  • DEKTON®
  • DuraLosa
  • GEOLUXE
  • Lapitec®
  • Neolith

As mentioned, these brands vary in the details of how each is produced and the differences are substantial. Yet, they are similar enough that they can all be classified together. So, what is sintered stone? Let’s explore the answer to that question briefly.

What Sintered Stone Is

One of the reasons that sintered stone gets grouped with porcelain in some cases is that both materials are made by using a process known as “sintering”. Yet, the materials are different. For more information on the differences you could check out Comparing Sintered Stone to Porcelain. Sintered stone is a material that is made by subjecting raw materials to very intense heat and pressure. Some sintering processes involve other forces as well, like electricity. The raw materials used and the exact amounts of and types of forces used will vary from material to another. So, the resulting surfaces will vary. This is a couple of examples that highlight the differences making the each of the above materials unique.

Characteristics of Sintered Stone

The resulting material that comes out of the sintering process is affected by the type of and amount of the raw materials that go into the process. Some of the brands of material point to the ingredients being made up of minerals found in natural stone. Thus, the resulting material is a “stone” produced by the sintering process and is “sintered stone”. Other manufacturers use proprietary recipes that make the resulting material something else and thus give their materials a unique name to reflect the uniqueness of the material.

Whichever one you look at though, you find that the resulting surface has some very desirable qualities. For example, sintered stone is extremely hard. In fact it is as hard as, or perhaps even harder than any other material used to make countertop surfaces in the stone industry.

Another characteristic of sintered stone, is that it is non-porous and it is highly resistant to stains. And any stains that do occur on the surface of a sintered stone material can be removed. Additionally, the cleaning can be done with all sorts of cleaners. Many alkaline, acidic, and even solvent cleaners as well as other cleaner types remove particular substances from the surface of sintered stone without hurting the material itself.

Design Qualities of Sintered Stone

Sintered stone surfaces may be manufactured, but the material is very diverse when it comes to design styles. The main reason sintered materials are so diverse is because they are created in so many colors and visual textures. One example can be seen by browsing the Dekton Mastidek colors on the website. As you will no doubt see, every design style is a potential match for at least one of the colors in the selection.

So to sum it up, sintered stone is significantly different from porcelain and the results vary depending on the materials and the forces used to produce it. Additionally, the material yields very desirable qualities including hardness, stain resistance, and a diverse color palette. So if you decide to work with sintered surfaces or to have them in your home, you are sure to get a material that will perform well and go with virtually any interior design.

Porcelain Surfaces

Porcelain Surfaces

Porcelain Surfaces

Porcelain enjoys a solid place in history as the material used for a number of surfaces including flooring and wall cladding. In recent times though there has been an increase in the number of materials used for kitchen countertops in the home and in businesses. In this post, we will take a look at some traditional uses for porcelain. We will briefly discuss porcelain surfaces like flooring and wall cladding. We will also see some information about porcelain countertops.

Porcelain Background Information

Porcelain has a rich history of being used for multiple types of surfaces. For example, this tough material is not a new choice for floor tiles. Some people raise their eyebrows when they learn that that wall cladding in some commercial buildings are panels made of porcelain. A number of manufacturers produce porcelain for all sorts of applications. Some of these include:

  • Plane
  • Inalco
  • Maxfine
  • Fiandre
  • Kerlite
  • Techlam
  • Laminam
  • Eiffelgres
  • Crossville
  • SapienStone
  • Atlas Concorde
  • Elegance Ceramics

Even though these companies all produce porcelain, they still have variations in product lines and even the sizes of panels vary. Yet, all porcelain will have certain traits. So, what are some of the characteristics of porcelain?

Characteristics

Porcelain surfaces are distinctly unique. One of the properties that makes them unique is that they are extremely durable. It is very difficult to scratch a porcelain tile. This is because of the way the materials is made. Porcelain is also non-porous. The finish is smooth and the surface has no pores.

Another property of this amazing material is that porcelain is very thin. Thus, covering the surface of an area can be done without adding much weight relatively speaking. These characteristics stem from the way porcelain is made.

How Porcelain Is Made

Engineers produce porcelain using a process known as “sintering”. The sintering process is a technical process about which we will not delve into here. But a short version of the process could be explained this way.

Sintering involves exposing raw materials to a tremendous amount of heat and pressure. In fact some companies even use electricity in the sintering process. Although sintering does occur at various temperatures depending on the material that goes through the process, porcelain is sintered using heat. Wikipedia makes the following statement on its page about sintering:

An example of sintering can be observed when ice cubes in a glass of water adhere to each other, which is driven by the temperature difference between the water and the ice. Examples of pressure-driven sintering are the compacting of snowfall to a glacier, or the forming of a hard snowball by pressing loose snow together.

So the sintering process causes particles of one material to transform into another material altogether. So it is with porcelain. It starts out as powder particles of raw materials (each manufacturer has a recipe) and is transformed into the material that we know as porcelain. As we mentioned before, this is a simplified explanation of the process, but you no doubt get the idea.

Advantages of Porcelain

The characteristics previously mentioned make porcelain a material that offers advantages. One of these is its hard surface. Porcelain resists scratches by various objects because of its hardness. Porcelain holds up very well even when used as a floor tile. It will scuff, and even break if something hard enough and heavy enough is dropped on it, but scratches are another story.

Cutting Porcelain

Fabricators use specificly designed diamond blades to cut porcelain. Workers use special blades designed to cut hard and brittle material. Many porcelain blades have a continuous rim. This reduces the amount of impact on the porcelain. As a general rule, the smaller the lots are on the edge of the blade, the smoother the cut will be. And a continuous rim blade has zero slots.

Disadvantages of Porcelain

Porcelain surfaces are not without drawbacks. We have already alluded to one disadvantage of porcelain. It is hard and brittle. Fabricators carefully protect the integrity of the project by handling the material carefully. In the case of a porcelain countertop, moving it from one location to another takes skill and caution; not to mention the correct material handling equipment.

Porcelain can be more expensive than other materials when it comes to flooring.

Countertops of Porcelain

One of the newer uses for porcelain is kitchen countertops. The durability of the material makes it an appealing choice for countertop surfaces. Homeowners clean it with just about any cleaner. Porcelain is also non-porous so it does not stain easily. There are a number of companies offering porcelain countertops as a product.

In closing, porcelain has enjoyed many years of success as a surface for flooring, wall cladding, and even building facades. As it makes it move in the countertop industry, it will be interesting to see how it fairs. One thing is for certain, working with it will take the right equipment and bit of skill and know how.

Natural Quartzite

Natural Quartzite

Natural Quartzite Surfaces

You may have already heard of it and you may not have. But one of the most popular natural stones used as a countertop material today is quartzite. You might be inclined to conclude from the name that it is the same as engineered quartz. However, they are very different materials. In this post, we will consider the properties of quartzite and how those properties translate into advantages and disadvantages. Along the way we will examine some of the need-to-knows about fabricating this intriguing stone. Additionally, we’ll talked a look at what is needed to care for and maintain natural quartzite surfaces.

How Quartzite Is Formed

Quartzite is a metamorphic rock that has previously been sandstone. Its change occurs through pressure and heat from the Earth. This process causes the grains of sand as well as the cement that binds them together to recrystallize. As a result, the grains become a network of interlocking grains having tremendous strength. Thus, quartzite is born. You may be wondering how that makes it a different type of stone. Quartzite is different from sandstone in that the grains are so strongly interlocked that the grains will break before the bond that holds them does. This is the trait that distinguishes true quartzite from sandstone.

Uses for Quartzite

Quartzite is used for a number of applications. It can be used for any of the following:

  • Stairs
  • Flooring
  • Countertops
  • Roofing Tiles
  • Wall Covering
  • Road Construction (Crushed)

The item in the list above that is becoming more and more common is kitchen countertops. Because quartzite is such a durable material and projects a tremendous beauty, it is surging as a countertop material. This is no doubt due to its marvelous characteristics. Let’s see some of those now.

Characteristics

As we have briefly considered, quartzite is a type of stone that forms to have a strength that is much stronger than it had in its previous state. This natural stone resembles natural marble but is free from some of the disadvantages that come with marble.

The appearance of quartzite resembles that of marble so closely that some have actually purchased a slab that was labeled quartzite only to find out later that it was actually marble that had been mislabeled. In fact, in order to be completely sure that a particular slab is actually quartzite and not mismarked marble you should test it.

Usually quartzite is lighter in color but it can be one of many colors. It will, like marble have some color variations and veining of darker colors.

Quartzite’s Benefits

We said earlier that quartzite is free from some of the disadvantages that come with marble. The benefits of quartzite reflect that truth. Quartzite is a very hard stone. Hence, it is scratch resistant. As a result, installing natural quartzite as a kitchen countertop makes sense because it can hold up to the everyday wear and tear of the traffic and use. Quartzite is also heat resistant so it will be able to endure the temperatures that other materials may not be able to withstand. Finally, the visual beauty of the material is another benefit of this stone.

Cutting Quartzite

Quartzite’s hardness does mean that fabricators have to be mindful when working this material. Because it is so hard, you cannot simply grab your favorite diamond blade and begin cutting quartzite. There are specific blades that have been designed to cut very hard materials like quartzite. For example, on good quartzite blade is the Grey Leopard. Good quartzite blades are aggressive enough to cut through the material and at the same time actually cut the stone instead of chipping it as it cuts.

Drawbacks of Quartzite

One of the disadvantages of quartzite is something that many natural stone surfaces face. Quartzite is a porous material. This means that raw quartzite will absorb water readily. The absorption rate of quartzite varies from one stone to the next. Some quartzite is more porous than others and thus absorbs more quickly.

Think about the implications of that. A stone that absorbs liquid is at a higher risk of staining. Hence, companies have developed stone sealers that drastically slow the absorption rate. The solution then is to keep a quartzite countertop or other surface sealed by testing it periodically with an absorption test. If it soaks up the water, resealing it with an effective impregnating stone sealer can correct the issue.

Care & Maintenance

Caring for natural quartzite stone surfaces is not complicated. In fact, if you are attentive to the absorption by testing it every so often and resealing it where it is needed, that is half the battle. The other half of the battle is cleaning it in such a way that you do not destroy the seal that you put on it. Using a cleaner that has been formulated for natural stone is recommended. By using non destructive cleaners and keeping the surface sealed, you will give yourself the greatest opportunity to get any potentially stain causing spills cleaned up before it can discolor you stone surface.

In conclusion, quartzite is an intriguing natural stone material that is tough and beautiful at the same time. It is not indestructible, but it can, with a little bit of attention be a stone surface that yields years of performance while looking as good as the day it was installed.

Natural Marble

Natural Marble

Natural Marble Surfaces

One of the oldest materials used for a variety of architectural projects is marble. This natural stone has been the material for everything from floors to statues. Its unmistakable elegance is the highlight of many structures the world over. The beauty of this timeless stone is so appealing to so many that it is used in private homes around the globe. What are the characteristics of natural marble? What is it used for? And, what are the advantages and disadvantages of natural marble? In this post, we will explore the answers to those questions.

Marble’s Composition

This attractive natural material is composed primarily of calcium carbonate in the form of calcite. There are some marbles that have other minerals in them but the primary mineral in the stone is calcium carbonate. It is a metamorphic stone that has been transformed from limestone to its current state through high heat and tremendous pressure. The appearance of natural marble is one that shimmers and glistens because of the calcite (crystallized calcium carbonate). This makes it very shiny when it is polished.

Characteristics

Marble is a natural stone that has very distinct qualities and characteristics. It is a relatively soft stone when compared with other types. It occurs in various shades and ranges in color. However, the purest marbles are completely white. Having fewer mineral contaminates renders the stone white since that is the color of the main mineral calcite.

Uses for Marble

People are surprised to learn that marble is used for so many things. Government buildings, statues, staircases, floors, countertops, and more. This natural stone is rich with historical value and it is easy to see why. Natural marble has an elegant beauty that draws people in. A charming strength that is both delicate and sturdy at the same time.

Marble Building Façades

In the United States a number of government buildings are constructed using marble. One example is the United States Supreme Court Building. Note the following quote taken from Wikipedia on its Supreme Court Building page:

The public façade is made of marble quarried from Vermont, and that of the non-public-facing courtyards, Georgia marble. Most of the interior spaces are lined with Alabama marble, except for the Courtroom itself, which is lined with Spanish ivory vein marble. For the Courtroom’s 24 columns, “Gilbert felt that only the ivory buff and golden marble from the Montarrenti quarries near Siena, Italy” would suffice.

So one use for natural marble is building façades. But there are other uses for marble.

Marble Sculptures

Sculptors use marble a lot as a sculpturing material because it is such a soft stone. Sculptures made from natural marble are in museums and art galleries all over the world.

Marble Countertops

Although marble will need a bit of extra care when used for a countertop, many consumers believe it is worth it. Kitchens are high traffic areas and those that select marble for the kitchen must be mindful of the fact that it needs to be treated delicately and maintained regularly.

A more common place to find a marble countertop is in bathrooms. Bathroom vanities and countertops are a fit for such an elegant stone. Additionally, since there are fewer stain causing liquids there than in a kitchen, the maintenance routine is easier to keep up with.

Cutting Marble

Fabricators work with marble using specific diamond tools designed for cutting soft stone. For example, one diamond tool supplier offers multiple blades that are marketed as marble blades because of the blade’s design. Furthermore, since marble is a soft stone, fabricators find that some blades “clog” up becasue of the waste that gets cut from the material. Having enough water and a blade designed to let the debris clear out contributes to a high performance blade.

Marble’s Benefits

The advantages of marble are primarily in its beauty. Marble is matched in appearance by very few materials. The testimony to this is the fact that engineers are trying to mimic this work of art performed by nature. Yet, they have not been able to reproduce it exactly. It also coordinates with many of the design styles of iterior decorating.

Drawbacks of Marble

The biggest disadvantage of natural marble is the thing that makes it so appealing. The calcite in marble is easily dissolved by acid. This means that any acidic liquid that comes into contact with a marble surface will immediately begin dissolving the stone. This is called etching and it leaves a dull spot on the stone’s surface. Thus, owners of marble do well to be mindful of where in the project marble is used. Additionally, natural marble requires specific cleaners and regular sealing. Applying sealer does not prevent or protect marble from being etched, but gives the owner a bit more time to clean up the eroding liquid before it does too much damage.

Care & Maintenance

There is no substitute for quick reaction times when it comes to a marble surface. Keeping the acid from the stone is the best way to keep etching from happening. Additionally, sealing marble with an impregnating sealer will ehlp to keep colored liquids like olive oil, and salad dressing from getting into the pores and discoloring your marble.

In the end, marble is a timeless natural stone material that is the material for many diverse projects. It is a stone possessing beauty, durability, and luster. It though, like many other materials, has some drawbacks that must be considered when used as a surface material. However, with a bit of forethought and some practical wisdom, having and caring for this extraordinary stone is well worth it for many.

Natural Granite

Natural Granite Surfaces

Natural Granite Surfaces

Natural granite surfaces are one of the tried and true staples of a new kitchen. In fact, granite seems to be the standard by which other surface materials (particularly countertop materials) are compared. You can find articles all over the Internet that compare a specific material to natural granite. This is because natural granite has a long, stable record of reliability and quality when used as a surface material for kitchen countertops. In this article, we will take a look at this natural stone and consider its characteristics. Along the way we will briefly consider some information on installing granite and how to care for and maintain it.

How Granite Is Formed

Since granite is a natural stone, it is formed through a process that requires no assistance from humans. It is an igneous rock that develops through the cooling of magma or lava. The following quote was taken from Wikipedia:

Igneous rock (derived from the Latin word ignis meaning fire), or magmatic rock, is one of the three main rock types, the others being sedimentary and metamorphic. Igneous rock is formed through the cooling and solidification of magma or lava. The magma can be derived from partial melts of existing rocks in either a planet’s mantle or crust. Typically, the melting is caused by one or more of three processes: an increase in temperature, a decrease in pressure, or a change in composition. Solidification into rock occurs either below the surface as intrusive rocks or on the surface as extrusive rocks. Igneous rock may form with crystallization to form granular, crystalline rocks, or without crystallization to form natural glasses. Igneous rocks occur in a wide range of geological settings: shields, platforms, orogens, basins, large igneous provinces, extended crust and oceanic crust.

Granite comes in a range of colors and textures. Some of the common colors of natural granite include:

  • White
  • Pink
  • Beige
  • Brown
  • Yellow
  • Blue
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Black
  • Red
  • Multi-colored Variations of the Above

Uses for Granite

Granite has been used for many years for several different purposes. Indoors and outdoors, for business, public, and residential uses; all of these applications benefit ferom the use of natural granite.

Outdoor Granite Use

Outdoor landscape and hardscaping projects make use of natural granite. Public benches, sidewalks and other walking surfaces as well as statues, monuments, and even furniture is constructed of natural granite.

Commercial Application

Commercial buildings make of use of granite as well. In addition to the uses listed above, interior flooring, walls, work surfaces and even boardroom & conference tables utilize this reliable, proven material.

Granite Kitchen Countertops

If you have ever watched a home renovation program, home buying show, or a do-it-yourself series on television you have probably heard someone say, “it’s gotta have all granite countertops” or “all natural granite throughout”. These phrases permeate the airwaves in these settings because of its solid reputation and performance. It often times is the preferred material for use as a countertop material; not ony in the kitchen but also in other areas of the home.

Characteristics

Each type of natural stone (and engineered stone for that matter) has very specific characteristics that distinguish one stone from all the others. Some of the properties that make this distinction include hardness, texture, mineral content and the manner in which the stone was formed. Let’s look briefly at some of granite’s characteristics.

Granite is a hard stone compared to other natural stone materials. in fact, it registers at 7 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. Like all natural stone, is porous to varying degrees. The porosity of natural granite plays a large role in how quickly a given stone will absorb liquids.

Since natural granite forms from volcanic lava, it is a heat resistant material. Other surface materials are not as resistant to heat as granite is. The color availability makes natural granite easy to incorporate into a variety of design styles.

Working With & Using Granite

As mentioned above, natural granite is a hard, porous, and diversely colored natural stone. Because of these traits, there are some specific things that fabricators & owners of this material need to be aware of when using or working it.

Cutting Granite

Cutting a hard natural stone like granite requires the proper tools and a diamond blade that is made for that purpose. Using the wrong blade to cut natural granite can cause the cutting to be slow and/or cause the material to chip during the cut. However, selecting the proper blade for natural granite will not only give you a fast, clean cut, but it will also give you more use from each blade. So what are some good granite blades?

Care & Maintenance

Caring for granite is a straight forward process. In fact, simple, basic practices implemented well are enough. First, home owners periodically seal the granite surface using an impregnating sealer. Hence, this helps make the surface less absorbent porous natural stone absorbs liquids that can cause staining if they penetrate the pores of the material.

The second part of the care and maintenance process is also fairly simple. It is the regular cleaning of the surface using a pH neutral natural stone cleaner. These specially formulated cleaners allow the seal to remain on the surface for the longest time period. Improperly formulated cleaners destroy sealers immediately; undoing all the effort required to seal the surface in the first place.

By combining the cleaning and sealing steps, granite owners are more likely to get the best results for cleaning and protecting countertops and other granite surfaces.

Granite’s Benefits

Granite has a number of benefits, some of which we have already mentioned; although not in the context of being beneficial. One benefit of granite is that it’s a natural material. Some home owners prefer all natural materials for their surfaces. For those individuals, granite is a good choice.

Another benefit of granite, particularly for countertops is that it is a hard material that does not easily scratch.

Finally, granite countertops are very durable as far as heat resistance. As we mentioned previously, granite is the product of volcanic magma. As a result, normal household temperatures would hardly present a problem as far as overheating is concerned.

Drawbacks of Granite

Perhaps the most noticeable disadvantage to choosing granite for your countertop surfaces is that it a porous material. This means it will absorb liquids. There are various porosities of granite. So be sure to look into which level of absorption the granite you are considering has.

Another potential drawback to granite is that it can be a costlier option when compared with other countertop surface materials. However, keep in mind the old saying, “you get what you pay for.” Cheaper is almost never a higher quality product.

In the end, granite is a tried and true hard surface material that is complimentary to multiple design styles. Granite is a very durable choice for use as a kitchen countertop and it easy to maintain. no wonder it has and continues to be the material to which nearly all others are compared.

Engineered Quartz

Engineered Quartz

Engineered Quartz Surfaces

In the world of kitchen countertops, bathroom surfaces including vanities, showers, and wall tiles, engineered quartz is a popular choice. Yet, some may not be familiar with exactly what this material is, what is needed to fabricate quartz, or how to maintain and care for it. In this post, we will consider those topics and even explore some others. Let’s get right into the information about engineered quartz surfaces.

How Quartz Is Engineered

It might surprise some people to learn that quartz countertops are not the same type of material as granite and marble. Rather, quartz surfaces are engineered and produced by manufacturers using processes designed to create slabs. It is surprising to some because they may have heard the material referred to as “natural stone”. Note what one article from usenaturalstone.org said regarding this manner of referencing:

I believe another area of confusion arises when quartz manufacturers refer to their products as natural stone. For example, one paragraph of a quartz company’s website begins: “All natural stone surfaces, including [company name]….” This type of phrasing is prevalent throughout the company’s marketing materials. In other examples, they say that they sell the world’s “most beautiful and innovative natural stone surfaces,” they “offer the world’s finest natural stone countertops,” and they describe their products as “stone slabs.”

From my perspective as a geologist and a professional admirer of rocks, I can easily appreciate the attempt to align a manmade product with a natural one. We can all agree that natural stone is awesome. But manmade quartz isn’t natural stone.

So, if quartz is not natural stone, then what is it? Well, quartz surfaces are a mixture of raw minerals and man made resins and pigments. These ingredients are mixed using a proprietary recipe and then formed into a slab. The mixture percentages vary, but most of them follow a general ratio.

Quartz to Resin Ratios

Engineered Quartz Content
Brand Quartz Resin + Other
Aurea Stone ≥90% ≤10%
Belenco ≤93% ≥7%
Caesarstone ≤93% ≥7%
Cambria 93% 7%
Çimstone 93% 7%
ColorQuartz ≥93% ≤7%
Compac 93-95% 5-7%
Cosmos ≅95% ≅5%
Corian Quartz 80-95% <15%
Curava ≅30% ≅70%
Difiniti ≅93% ≅7%
Diresco 93% 7%

So as you can see, engineered quartz surfaces are very different from the natural stone materials. Even so, consumers like them. And although the material is different from natural stone, manufacturers are making quartz surfaces that resemble the real thing more and more. In fact, quartz has characteristics that rival natural stone and it has some that natural stone does not. Let’s take a brief look at the characteristics of engineered quartz.

Characteristics

Engineered quartz possesses a number of characteristics that are appealing to consumers. In fact, many of these qualities are used as selling points for the material.

Being a man made material, quartz (the surface) can be fashioned to coordinate with just about any color. This means that engineered quartz is available in a wide array of colors. Additionally, manufacturers add visual texture to slabs, making them resemble natural stone. Another trait of engineered quartz is it’s a very hard material. This characteristic yields some very desirable benefits that we will look at closer in a bit.

One of the more prominent traits of engineered stone is that it is non-porous. Unlike natural stone which has pores and allows the material to absorb liquid that come into contact with the surface, quartz does not absorb liquids. This too translates into some positive benefits as we will see later in the post.

Cutting Quartz

One of the key things to know about quartz when it comes to fabricating the material is that choosing tools carefully is important. Because of this, tool suppliers and tool manufacturers produce all sorts of tools made for working with and fabricating engineered quartz. Some of these include diamond blades for cutting quartz and quartz polishing pads. Each of the blades for cutting quartz offers specific design features and professionals usually have a preference.

Care & Maintenance

Caring for engineered quartz is pretty simple. In fact, most quartz manufacturers state that only warm soapy water is enough to keep the surface clean. There are however specially formulated cleaners that are designed to clean quartz.

Does that mean that quartz is not susceptible to stains? No. Just because a material is easy to care for does not make it invulnerable. For example, manufacturers of quartz surfaces often include keeping the surface dry as part of the care guidelines. This is because, substances that dry on the surface of engineered quartz can leave residue that requires specific treatment to remove.

Quartz’s Benefits

The benefits of engineered quartz are easy to grasp. In fact, you may have already picked up on some of these as you read this post. But, we will consider them here. One nice feature of quartz is that it is a hard material that is scratch resistant. This means that the material looks new longer. Scratches (even minor ones) can hurt the appearance of a quartz countertop.

Another advantage of quartz is that it does not absorb liquids. Additionally, if a material readily absorbs liquids it can be easily stained by various household substances. Some of the more common stain-causers include:

  • Tea
  • Soda
  • Coffee
  • Vanilla
  • Red Wine
  • Extracts
  • Olive Oil
  • Fruit Juice

Since quartz is non-porous the liquids stay on the surface and can be easier to treat since they are not inside the pores of the material.

Drawbacks of Quartz

Even though quartz is a material that has some advantages, it is not indestructible. In fact, just like all other materials, it has its disadvantages. For example, the resins in the material react with chemicals. This means that some household cleaners and other chemicals cannot be used on quartz at all. So it is imperative that the manufacturer’s guidelines for treating stains and spills are followed closely.

Another disadvantage of quartz is that it has a lower tolerance for heat. This will no doubt affect the fabrication process. Dry polishing or using polishing pads that are not designed specifically for quartz is potentially hazardous. In fact, any tool that generates high temperatures during fabrication will burn the material and discolor it. These disadvantages of course have solutions, but it is important to know about them before a project is ruined.

In the end, quartz is a material like the others in many respects. It is unique and has its place in the industry. Furthermore, just like other materials it possesses advantages and disadvantages. Hence, quartz has specific care and maintenance guidelines that make it easier to care for if followed properly. Whether you decide to work with quartz, it helps to have a good idea of what to expect if that is your decision.