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What are synthetic granite worktops?

15.01.2018
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What are synthetic granite worktops?

If you’re looking for granite kitchen worktops, you may have seen advertisements for cheap granite worktops. Don’t be fooled – if you see phrases such as ‘liquid granite’ or ‘synthetic granite’ you’re not getting a natural stone slab and may be very disappointed.

There are multiple products on the market using various terms including ‘artificial granite’, ‘synthetic granite’, ‘liquid granite’, and ‘epoxy granite’. All of these terms indicate that you’re not getting a slab of genuine natural granite – in fact you may not be getting any granite at all!

Manufacturing techniques and materials used vary from product to product. The two most common options are ‘liquid granite’ and ‘epoxy granite’.

What is liquid granite made of?

Liquid granite, which can also be known as synthetic granite, isn’t stone at all. The term is used for a particular type of extra-strong concrete developed by Sheffield Hallam University, and also for a technique for pouring and decorating concrete to make it look like granite. The exact composition of concrete varies, but it will include sand or stone dust, cement (a binding agent) and water. It may also contain larger pieces of stone or other materials.

What is epoxy granite?

Epoxy granite is made of granite particles bonded together by an epoxy. This will typically be around 95% real, natural granite but it won’t have the patterns and textures that characterize natural granite. It may be dyed to create a wider range of colours than are available in nature.

What are the advantages of synthetic granites?

Synthetic granites are often used in public buildings and outdoor spaces where an ornamental effect is required on a tight budget. Generally, in these cases, the intention is not to create a perfect imitation of granite but to create an overall pleasing effect. Concrete can easily be poured over large areas so it’s a quick and easy way to create a plaza or lay a floor in a municipal building.

How does synthetic granite compare to real granite?

Synthetic granite

Real granite

Man-made

100% natural material

Shorter lifespan – typically up to 10 years

Can last thousands of years

May be porous (absorb water, dirt and other matter)

Waterproof and non-absorbent

May discolour in direct sunlight

Does not fade

Can require special cleaning and care to preserve the decorated surface

Easy  to clean – typically only needs water and mild cleaners

Can chip, scratch or crack more easily

One of the toughest materials in the world

A wide range of bright and pale colours

Beautiful natural shades and textures

Each piece is identical to the last

Each slab is unique

Can be shaped to fit in a workshop or poured on site

Can be shaped to fit

Some very low budget options available

Wide range of price points, from affordable to luxury

Why we don’t recommend artificial granites

As professional stone workers, at Surrey Marble and Granite we’ve encountered almost every stone and stone substitute on the market. We offer a wide selection of quartz worktops and engineered stones but we don’t offer liquid granite or epoxy granite. We’ve carefully selected the natural and engineered stones in our catalogue to offer quality and value for money. We have yet to find a synthetic granite that we’re truly happy with. Should that change in the future, we’ll update our blog!

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