Stone benchtops can be categorised into three types:
- Granite: is a common and widely occurring type of igneous rock and have a medium to coarse grained texture. It has approximately quartz 20% and feldspar 35% by volume resulting in a high density and strong material. It comes from the magma and intrudes into other rocks.Good for benchtops and tiling and outdoor cladding. There are commonly about 20 colours available in slabs for use in benchtops. The colours and variations exist between individual slabs and so consistency in vein and colour is difficult, this being a natural occuring product. Granite should be sealed prior to use to avoid stains due to absorbtion of oils and natural dyes like tumeric and safron and coffee. Granite has been used for thousands of years and is very hard wearing. Repairs can be done using coloured epoxy glues. See Granite and marble tops
- Marble: is a rock resulting from metamorphism of sedimentary carbonate rocks, most commonly limestone through intense heat and pressure. The characteristic swirls and veins of many colored marble varieties are usually due to various mineral impurities such as clay, silt, sand, iron oxides, or chert which were originally present as grains or layers in the limestone. Green coloration is often due to serpentine resulting from originally high magnesium limestone.Marble benchtops are porous and therefore absorb oils , perfumes and vegetable colourings like beetroot and tumeric and safron. The resulting stains cannot be removed. There are however sealing materials that can be used when the stone is installed which will stop this happening. Marble slabs are not homogeneous and have veins but this is the beauty of natural materials. There are many colours from different quarries in the world where the marble is cut. India and Italy being two of the most common supplies. See Granite and Marble Tops
- Reconstituted Stone: Caesar stone, Quantum Quartz, Silestone, Smartstone are all brand names of reconstited stone. The slabs are made from a mixture of crushed quartz stone (95%) and resin (5%). The resulting slurry is poured into slabs and polished. The finish and consistency is very homogenous and with different dyes and quartz stone colours gives a wide range of benchtops to suit any interior colour scheme. The stone is worked the same way as marble and granite. It is not porous and can be easily repaired and scratches can be polished out.The stone is cheaper than marble or granite in Australia by 10-20%.