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What is the difference between natural and artificial stone?

By and large, natural stone and artificial acrylic are completely different, unequal materials. Each with its own set of properties, qualities and scope of application. But due to the similarity of the names, they are constantly compared. It so happened that when a new sheet finishing material came to the Russian market, its name Solid Surface was not literally translated from English as “hard surface”, but was given another, now established, name – “artificial stone”. Although, of course, it is not a stone in essence or composition. Therefore, now and again consumers want to compare these two incomparable materials. Such as wood and metal, for example. But since these questions still arise and we very often have to answer them, let’s compare them.

Ease of processing, manufacturing capabilities, seamless

We do not deal in natural stone. As well as any other materials (glass, quartz, cast marble, metal, chipboard, etc.), except sheet acrylic stone. And above all, because the material we have chosen is capable of forming seamless connections. Unlike natural stone, acrylic is plastic, flexible, easy to mold and, in general, easy to process. If you have certain skills and “confident” hands of a master. It can be used to make various bent products, radius edges, integrated sinks (like cast ones), and much more. And it will all look like one! After all, the individual parts are connected to each other without visible joints, seamlessly. Natural stone is much more difficult to process. It requires a specially equipped wet workshop. And it definitely won’t be possible to make, for example, a large U-shaped tabletop without seams.

Ease of transportation, weight

Natural stone is much heavier than acrylic. If only because to make the same tabletop, a solid slab of stone is used, and an acrylic tabletop is made from a 12-mm sheet with an MDF backing, which significantly reduces the weight of the product. The thickness of the countertop is determined by the height of the front edge, and it can be anything – 20, 30, 50 mm, at least 100. This means that it will be easier to load and deliver the countertop, and lift it to the floor (using a regular elevator), and the base (the kitchen itself) additionally there is no need to strengthen it.

Maintainability

As already mentioned, natural stone is not easy to process. Any manipulations with it must be carried out in a special wet workshop. If a stone window sill bursts or chips, it will have to be completely dismantled and taken to production. By the way, it is not a fact that any damage can be repaired. An acrylic countertop can be repaired and restored on site. Scratches are eliminated by regrinding, chips, burns and cracks – by installing patches and subsequent grinding. Yes, natural stone is harder and scratches less, but if it cannot be repaired, then something happens.

Variety of designs and colors

Any manufacturer of artificial stone countertops for bathrooms and kitchens offers a choice of several hundred different decors that you won’t find in nature. Most of them are very similar to natural stone. There are marble series, sand series, with large fractions. There are also completely unprecedented shades – shimmering and bright. At the same time, not a single artificial stone, even the premium series, is capable of replicating the natural beauty of natural onyx, marble or granite. In this case, you can choose an exclusive product made of artificial stone, which cannot be realized using natural materials.

Hygiene and environmental safety

Acrylic stone has no pores, that is, its surface, unlike natural stone, is not hygroscopic. It does not absorb dirt, dyes and moisture, which means bacteria, fungi and microbes will not breed on it. That is why this material is recommended for wide use in medical institutions, including operating rooms, food preparation areas (both in public catering and residential premises), in bathrooms and bathrooms. That is, wherever cleanliness is of great importance. Artificial stone is easy to care for, it is easy to wash and disinfect until the surface is completely sterile. While natural stone absorbs everything it can. Like a sponge. So, natural marble will easily absorb red wine – so much so that nothing can clean it out. And a custom-made acrylic tabletop, in extreme cases, can simply be sanded. And it will be like new. Of course, the choice of this or that material is determined by the scope of its application. Somewhere, natural stone will come in very handy, because nothing compares to its natural beauty. And somewhere our team will beat you by a hundred points. The deciding factor is the price of an acrylic stone countertop. One cannot but attach importance to personal taste – after all, you live in this interior. What to choose – natural stone or its artificial analogues? This question may arise regarding exterior and interior decoration, regarding the design of a personal plot – that is, wherever there may be a need for decoration with stone. It is impossible to unequivocally answer the question of which material to choose, but you can analyze the parameters of each, and this will certainly help you make the right decision. Natural minerals have long been used for construction and decoration, and artificial stone appeared not so long ago. Is it worth following a new trend, or does it make sense to turn to traditional solutions? Ivanov S.S., head of the technical department, will tell you about the pros and cons of natural mineral and artificial stone.

“When we talk about natural stone, we usually think of marble, granite, quartz, slate, onyx and dolomite. By artificial we mean acrylic, agglomerate, concrete. Acrylic or acrylic stone consists of acrylic resin, dyes, and fixatives. Quartz agglomerate – simply agglomerate – is a material consisting of polyester resin and stone chips. Textured concrete “like stone”, that is, concrete with the appropriate relief and color.”

Scope

  • Exterior finish
  • Interior surface finishing
  • Bathroom
  • Kitchen
  • Stairs

Service life and wear resistance

Natural stone is a champion in durability; many of its varieties are practically timeless. But not everywhere such an “eternal” material is required: and where a long service life is not required, it is quite possible to save money and choose a cheaper artificial analogue.

Appearance and maintenance requirements

An artificial stone made in full accordance with technology is usually indistinguishable from natural stone: outwardly, their surfaces look completely identical. With both a natural mineral and its artificial analogue, any design solution can be implemented.

Regarding the maintenance needs, the situation is also more or less equivalent: it is recommended to wipe both materials with a damp cloth, without using abrasives, and remove staining stains as quickly as possible.

The weight

Natural stone weighs much more than artificial stone, so this factor must be taken into account – especially when finishing “in bulk”, that is, facade and interior cladding. Where it is necessary to minimize the load on walls or other surfaces, it is quite possible to use artificial stone.

Impact resistance

Artificial stone has a fairly dense structure and is not afraid of corrosion, fungus or mold. But it is not so resistant to temperature changes, moisture, and chemical influences. Consider this factor when choosing a material for use outdoors, in places with high humidity, or where exposure to aggressive cleaning or other substances is expected.

Thus, both materials are good in their own way: each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, when choosing, I advise you to focus on your budget and your own needs, having determined in advance which characteristics of the material are really important to you, and which ones you can sacrifice. If you have any difficulties choosing, contact the manager of the Artishock stone factory, and he will help you overcome your difficulties.

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