Artificial stone as a worktop material
Stone is known and loved as a worktop material. However, granite and marble, which have been used for centuries, have some specific properties that make these types of stone unsuitable for every purpose. So it is that the needs of homeowners, architects and interior designers have contributed to the adoption of different artificial stone production technologies. The process of natural stone formation is complex and uncontrollable, the material is not always flawless and may contain micro-cracks, non-fossilized sediments or air bubbles. However, in the case of man-made artificial stones, the aim is to keep production as uniform as possible; therefore, quartz stone and Terrazzo stone (also known as composite stone, artificial marble, cement marble and Terrazzo marble) are more uniform in terms of their quality.
The main differences between quartz stone and Terrazzo stone
The main component in the production of quartz stone is natural screened and purified quartz or silicon crystals (SiO2), which are mixed with colorants and additives that improve its technical properties. The finished mixture passes through a vibrating vacuum chamber and is pressed into a slab under 100 tonnes of pressure. The slabs undergo heat treatment, after which they are calibrated and processed (typically polished). The process ends with automated quality control and storage.
The price and quality of quartz stone is usually determined by the quality of the ingredients and the complexity of the pattern. To put it simply, the more uniform and fine-grained the quartz sand, the better the result.
Terrazzo stone is mainly divided into two categories, with the main material in both cases being crushed natural stone; however, both cement and resin are used as binders in the mixture. Unlike the quartz stone production process, blocks – not stone slabs – are made. Natural processes are simulated inside of a large rectangular container, and once the material has matured or aged for 28 days, or more, it is cut into slabs after hardening. At the end of the production cycle, the tiles are finished.
Terrazzo marble has quickly gained popularity as a material for countertops, window sills and stair steps, and as beige-grey has recently become a fashionable colour, requests for this artificial stone continue to increase.
Positives and negatives of Terrazzo marble
+ Environmentally friendly way of thinking – since the cutting of blocks and slabs in natural stone mines and factories creates rubble and not all slabs are of sufficient quality, production residues can be utilised in the production of artificial stone.
+ Because the production process is human controlled, the mechanical properties of the stone slab may be better than those of natural stone.
+ Terrazzo stone, like quartz stone, is more uniform in colour and texture, especially if finer-textured stone fragments and shavings are used.
+ By mixing different materials, it is possible to obtain new and unique designs.
+ Terrazzo stone is quite competitively priced compared to the more expensive marble and granite varieties and quartz.
– The properties of the material largely depend on the quality and properties of the source material. If Terrazzo tile contains a large amount of, for example, Carrara marble or a similar ‘softer’ stone, its absorption coefficient and resistance to soiling are similar to natural stone. Regardless of the binders used in the manufacturing process (resin or cement), the treated surface tends to be moisture sensitive and delicate like marble.
– Higher than-average material consumption in the production of worktops, window sills, stair steps (slab cutting), as thinner tiles can break during sawing, milling and edge profile processing.
Use of artificial stones in home design
Well-thought-out repairs and a comfortable and beautiful home are not only an investment to improve the well-being of inhabitants, but can also raise the price of real estate. That is why people’s interest in interior design, design and high-quality (construction) materials is gradually growing.
With the help of an artificial stone worktop, table, window sill, etc. – either quartz stone or Terrazzo marble – we are all able to bring a little bit of luxury into our everyday lives, and enjoy the modern design offered by the smooth surface of a worthy material and the professionalism of stone masters.