Engineered or man-made stone products are increasingly popular and comparable to granite in just about every way. In fact, some advocates say it is superior in some important considerations.
Engineered stone products are primarily—more than 90 percent—made of natural quartz, the hardest non-precious stone, bound together by resins. On the other hand, granite is only about 40 percent to 60 percent quartz; the rest is made up of softer minerals and impurities.
Engineered stone require less maintenance than other natural stones because they are non-porous. For example, they don’t have to be sealed periodically. Their impervious surface provides more stain and bacterial resistance than granite.
In the unlikely event that the surface gets a minor stain or scratch, someone from the fabrication shop can buff it out. Deeper scratches or difficult stains may require taking the material out and back to the shop for buffing and polishing with a high-pressure water buffing process.
In addition to kitchen countertops, engineered stone products can be used for shower and tub surrounds, vanities and other surfaces throughout the home. And unlike porous granite, which can foster bacteria, they are ideal for commercial settings, especially daycare centers, hospitals and foodservice providers.