Did you know that Worksafe recommended a complete ban on engineered stone? Due to the silica content that has lead many workers to be diagnosed with illnesses such as lung cancer. Over the last twenty years engineered stone has been a popular choice but here are the top 3 great alternatives to engineered stone.
Timber counter top
When I lived in London I noticed that timber is widely used as kitchen counter tops. Sometimes more so than engineered stone.
I think this is because of the architectural style of the homes and the classical leaning interior styles. Timber is cosy and warm. It can be rustic but also Modern and sophisticated.
In Australia we shy away from timber counter tops. I think this is partly cultural but also the fear of timber next to water.
But with the right timber species, sound installation, as well as good water proofing, timber can be a viable option.
Good old laminate
Laminate has come a long way in the last 20 years. There are a variety of finishes ranging from marble look, concrete look and timber look. As well as a range of colours from standard white.
Laminate is a good alternative to engineered stoned because it’s durable and cost effective.
I have specified it for a range of projects both budget and high end. Depending on the client’s brief, laminate can be a great choice.
It’s also what I’ve chosen for my own kitchen renovation project, specifically I’ve chosen white cement for an industrial look.
Tiles or marble
Again, we don’t see it often in Australia but in many other countries around the world such as Italy, you will find tiles on kitchen counter tops.
You might be thinking about the grout lines and the crumbs getting caught in the grout lines but with large format tiles you can overcome this problem.
Personally, I love a kitchen counter top with tiles. It can add colour, texture and pattern in a way that engineered stone doesn’t. Primarily because engineered stone is a streamlined look due to the slab sizes.
Also, if your budget is substantial you can consider real marble. Marble doesn’t contain silica as it’s a natural material and comes in a beautiful range of colours. However, marble doesn’t suit all interior styles such as Mid-Century Modern.
That’s why your interior style goal will help you decide between one of the three top alternatives to engineered stone.
While big retailers such as Ikea and Bunnings have banned engineered stone, I’m not sure whether we’ll see a complete ban or not.
Even if we don’t, it’s worth considering one of the top 3 great alternatives to engineered stone for your kitchen or bathroom renovation to avoid the possibility of it causing illness to the person cutting it.
There are good alternatives beyond the three suggested above, including concrete. By working with an interior designer you will be able to decide on an alternative to engineered stone that both suits your budget and interior style.