Getting stoned!

Stone is a special surface used in many varying locations within the home. Vanessa elaborates on its versatile and diverse uses

Getting stoned!

Stone is a special surface used in many varying locations within the home. Versatile and diverse, it is a favourite in the bathroom and kitchen as a fixed surface on counters, vanity tops, tabletops, desktops, shelvings, fire surrounds as well as walls and floor tiles. You may think that stone is only a natural product but in recent years there have been a number of reconstituted alternatives manufactured to look like the real thing. This man-made stone can have a variety of additions – such as mirror and coloured glass beads – incorporated into it during the mixing process to create different effects.

The stone you choose will be an expensive investment, at times, but it often serves as the focal point in many rooms – for example, on a large kitchen island or all over the walls in a bathroom. I often use it to liven up shabby furniture by replacing worktop surfaces and handles. When choosing one, make sure you consider the type of products and chemicals that will be around it to keep the surface damage free. Check the porosity and the durability as heavy objects will sit on top of it. When you’ve decided on the specification, choose the finish; for instance, polished or honed, and finally the thickness; the weight for the carcass it will rest upon and edging profiles before looking at colour options.

With so much choice, it’s advisory to understand the different benefits each product provides. The performance of both natural and man-made will vary depending on the environment so choose carefully and follow strict care guideline to achieve a traditional, contemporary or rustic look that will perform for many years. For kitchen worktops, much of the reconstituted stone is hygienic with 99%-bacteria proof now being the norm. The man-made worktops are also almost impossible to break so they work really well for heavy-duty family use as well as rental properties.

Choosing the finish is also extremely important. If you are overlooking large glass windows, it’s always best to avoid a gloss finish as it will show every speck of dust, instead, try a matt orange-peel finish.

If cost is the key decision factor, there is not much difference between the two; it truly is taste and function that should drive your decision. The technology and research invested in these new stone worktops and panels are strong enough to clad a building’s exterior, sustaining the natural elements.

Soon you will be able to buy a worktop and the hob will no longer be a separate appliance; it will be built into the stone like a hologram with moveable features, like your images on an iPad. You will be able to pull it form one location to another with your fingertips.

Dr Vanessa Brady OBE, SBID President