Unlike natural stone countertops that are cut from pure granite, marble or sandstone, engineered stone counters are made from quartz crystals held together with a resin binder. They have a similar appearance to natural stone, but they possess benefits not available with natural materials.
Porcelain is quickly becoming a popular choice for tiles in kitchens and bathrooms. Already widely used across Europe, porcelain is a denser, less porous and harder option that offers greater stain and water resistance. It has a smooth and resistant surface and will not absorb grease, odors or bacteria. Due to its through-body composition, it is considered more durable and better suited for heavy usage. Porcelain tile tends to last better over the years and are a top choice for business use or in rental properties because of just how durable it is. Large-format porcelain has become more popular in recent years because of its clean look and ability to make a space feel bigger. These large tiles come in rectangular and square shapes and can be used on both floors and walls to make an impact.
When it comes to designing bathrooms or kitchens, most people immediately think of granite. However, in recent years quartz is becoming an increasingly more popular choice. Quartz is a synthetic engineered stone. Raw quartz is abundant in nature. It is common like sand but harder than steel and is one of the strongest minerals in the world. The immense strength and durability of quartz make it a prime choice for countertops. Quartz is nonporous, non-toxic and require no sealants to wax or retain the rich colors. Custom designs come in a wide array of colors from neutral grays, off-whites, and subtle tans to bold blues, bright yellows and striking solid blacks. In addition to shade, you can choose from quartz made from small particles for a smooth appearance, or from larger grains for a flecked look. The surface can be sleek and glossy or feature a flecked, pebbled, embossed or even suede appearance.
Ultra Compact Surfaces (UCS)
One of the latest developments in hard surfaces is ultra-compact surfaces or UCS as they are commonly known. UCS is an umbrella term for a wide range of surfaces. This group of surfaces are also known as ‘sintered stone’. They are available in standard surfaces including countertops, floors, walls and facades. Common brands of UCS include Dekton, Neolith, Lapitec and Laminam. Like porcelain, UCSs are tough and resilient. They are made in large sheet sizes so the horizontal or vertical surfaces made from them will have a minimum number of joints – or none at all in some cases. UCS is available in many different finishes from honed, polished, semi-polished, satin or river-washed. UCS is resistant to high temperatures and UV light rays. They are scratch resistant and waterproof and are easy to clean. UCSs can be made to look like many other materials such as stone or wood, either by the choice of materials to form them or, like porcelain, by printing on the surface after the sheets have been manufactured. Add to this the vase selection of textures and colors available and it is east to understand why UCSs offer such an attractive solution for contemporary designs.