Engineered Stone Countertops
In the past, natural stone like granite was the most popular choice for kitchen countertops. Unfortunately, natural stone comes with some limitations that make it a high-maintenance option. Because of natural stone’s limitations, engineered stone is quickly becoming the number one choice for kitchen counters today. Lee Lumber carries samples from the leading engineered stone manufacturers for customers interested in this option.
The Benefits of Engineered Stone
There are two major drawbacks to natural stone that pushed engineered stone to the forefront. First, natural stone is porous, allowing water and other liquids to penetrate the surface. This leads to staining, but also provides place for bacteria and mold to grow. In order to avoid the problems associated with porosity, natural stone must be sealed and then resealed periodically to maintain the finish.
The other major problem that buyers face with natural stone is that it often comes in limited lengths. For countertops over 10 feet, it can be difficult to find a stone large enough to span the entire length. This results in two problems. First, larger pieces of natural stone can be prohibitively expensive. The second problem is that large countertops almost always end up having seams if they are made of natural stone. Seams are not only unsightly, but break down over time and provide a means by which water can penetrate both the stone and the cabinets underneath.
Engineered stone fixes both of the problems above. It is nonporous and thus does not stain or harbor bacteria. Because it is produced synthetically, engineered stone can be designed in any length or shape. This means that engineered stone countertops never need to have seams.
Adding to the allure of natural stone is the fact that it maintains the benefits of its natural counterparts. Engineered stone is incredibly tough, difficult to scratch, stands up well to both heat and cold, and is harder to chip than natural stone and laminate.
Advancements in Selection
In the past, the major drawback to engineered stone was that it was only available in a limited array of patterns and colors. Today, engineered stone can be purchased in an almost unlimited range of colors and patterns, making it more attractive to the discerning buyer. Manufacturers have become so adept at the production of engineered stone that it is nearly impossible to tell natural and engineered products apart.
Lee Lumber keeps 12″ x 12″ samples of popular engineered stone patterns in its store. It also provides smaller samples to customers who wish to take them home. Samples are available from CaeserStone and Cambria, manufacturers that Lee Lumber believes are the best on the market.
For customers who choose engineered stone, factored into the cost of the product are both the measurements that need to be taken and the installation costs. Lee Lumber contracts with Fabricators, a company with vast experience in installing engineered stone countertops. Fabricators will take laser field measurements to obtain exact dimensions and then install the countertop when it arrives. The whole process, not include the wait-time while the countertop is manufactured, takes just a few days.