produced in a wide range of colours and styles which weren't previously available in the natural granites
In December 2023 the Australian Federal Government voted to place a total ban on the use of Reconstituted Stone products containing Crystaline Silica, with this ban taking effect July 1st 2024. This however does not mean the end to Reconstituted Stone products moving forward.
With market forces in recent years, producers of brands such as Caesarstone and Stone Ambassador have announced today (14-12-2023), they have already been working to develop a new Reconstituted Stone formulation that has a Zero Crystaline Silica composition. Asia Pacific Caesarstone® Australia Manufacturer’s Managing Director David Cullen wrote to us today announcing that this new crystalline silica-free formulation will be ready for release “in the first half of 2024”
David has also announced that these stone slabs with the new Reconstituted Stone formulae will be “matching the majority of existing colours” from their existing product range and importantly says these will have the “same functional performance characteristics as current materials".
Reconstituted Stone Benchtops are made up of approximately 95% crushed stone particles that are blended with 5% Polyester Resin. There are different manufacturers who use different types of stone aggregate which at this point of time include particles of Granites, Quartz, and Marble. We do not know what type of aggregate this new Reconstituted Stone formulae free of Crystaline Silica will be but it will obviously need to pass model WHS Regulations ensuring the safety of all.
The availability of Reconstituted Stone products in South Australia at this time include such brands as Essastone, Quarella, Caesarstone, Silestone, Stone Ambassador, Smartstone, Quantum Quartz and Stone Italiana, who between them make slabs of 12mm, 20mm, and some in 30mm thick; where counter tops can then be built up to any thickness you desire. Each manufacturer has their own wide range of colours, styles and finishes, and some produce a range of fashion colours that aren't available in natural granites.
Reconstituted Stone Benchtops have visible joints just like natural Granite but with the use of modern tooling and adhesives these Joints are quite inconspicuous. These Reconstituted Stone materials are very hard wearing, much like a natural granite surface. They are honed to a reasonable gloss level but they can't match the high gloss or translucency of natural granites. Reconstituted Stone is heat resistant but not flame resistant, and most cannot be thermoformed for bending. The manufacturers of CaesarStone have however now developed a product that can be bent.
Manmade Reconstituted Stone makes an elegant, durable, low maintenance Benchtop surface that is uniform in its colour and its pattern.
Reconstituted Benchtops are very strong and have even greater crack resistance than natural granite. They are scratch, and water resistant, they have a high degree of heat resistance, are impervious to stains but can be marked by Acids due to the resin content. They will withstand a great deal of wear and tear, and do not require periodic sealing like natural granite does. The reconstituted Stone slabs made with Marble such as Quarella are not quite so hard wearing, with the manufacturers of these Marble based slabs recommend it be used more in furniture, bathroom and laundry situations. It is also worth noting that stone such as Marble, Limestone, and some Granites have a cristaline Silica content of less than 5% compared to Quartzite and Sandstone that has a 20 to 95% content.
Reconstituted Stone is popular for its style, its versatility and easy care features. Blending itself comfortably into all kitchen designs ranging from simple uncluttered Contemporary Styling, right through to those Kitchens with a more Traditional Classic look.
There are a few additional things worth knowing about this material, before you choose a brand, a colour and style / design. Some Manufacturers but not all make designes that can be Book-Matched end-to-end and side-to-side whereby enabling slabs to be joined together with their pattern / desigh matching up. Book-Matching can also be done with Natural Stone where slabs are Quarried, Cut & Polished and kept together in mirrored pairs.
In addition to Book-Matching, traditionally Reconstituted Stone has its pattern running all the way through the full thickness of the slab like Natural Stone, where this also makes it possible to have moulded edges however in recent times not all manufacturers of Reconstituted Stone (also called Engineered Stone or Quartz stone) make their slabs with their pattern running the full thickness and instead create the pattern only on the top surface, which creates a problem if you want polished edge hole cut-outs for undermount sinks or your design calls for shaped moulded edges because the visible cut edge won't have the same colour and pattern as the top surface.
To make things more confusing, some manufactures only have some of their range which can be Book-Matched and only some of their range with their pattern the full depth of the slab, so it is important to know who makes what in which way before choosing your design, brand and colour.
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