However, these countertops are even more unique than commonly understood.
What’s in the Labeling?
From a geological perspective, an engineered countertop does not meet the criteria for being pure natural quartz. That title belongs to quartzite, which is indeed purely that mineral. Engineered surfaces are predominantly composed of mineral particles, but not entirely. Depending on the make and hue, they are 70% to 93% mineral sand or aggregate, blended with polyester resin, styrene, colorants, and other compounds.
Composition of the Slabs
The slabs consist of mineral particles, resins, and colorants. The size of these particles can range significantly. Polyester resin serves as the binder. In some designs, the resin and colorants are evenly distributed; in others, they create patterns meant to emulate the variations in natural stone.
Creating the slabs involves mixing these components and pouring them into a mold. While techniques vary by manufacturer, typically some combination of vibration, compression, heat, and vacuum transforms the mixture into a solid form.
The Reality of Engineered Countertops
At least 10% of a countertop’s volume is a binder, not stone. The remaining 90%? It’s a mix of crushed stone waste—granite, marble, possibly some actual mineral—and recycled industrial materials like ceramic, silica, or glass. This aggregate, bonded with binders, gives these countertops their stone-like appearance and texture.
More accurately, these surfaces should be termed “engineered stone” or “compound stone”—names that more precisely reflect their composition.
These countertops can contain varying amounts of the actual mineral and a mix of other materials.
As an artificial product, it can be a more affordable choice than quartzite for extensive, intricate projects. However, it doesn’t boast the same heat or scratch resistance, impacting its kitchen performance.
Available in multiple colors, you can find surfaces that mimic natural stone or ones with vibrant, statement hues—thanks to the customizable coloration process during manufacture.
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