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  • Shaunie Wheeler

Low-silica engineered stone benchtops.

Crystalline silica is a natural mineral which can be found in a large majority of rocks and soils. This naturally occurring substance is used to engineer stone benchtops which are used in bathrooms and kitchens. Respirable crystalline silica is generated when workers cut, shape, drill, grind or polish the material, leading to an airborne dust which is easily inhaled. Once inhaled, this can lead to irreversible, life-threatening diseases and conditions.


Working with our supply partners, we are able to provide stone benchtops with less than 30% silica - a composite low silica using a mix of recycled glass and glass sand and quartz. This brings the engineered stone in line with the natural stone, such as granite, which has been fabricated safely for generations. We will continue to follow NZESAG guidelines to operate as safely as possible.



Low-silica engineered stone benchtops are a great choice for both kitchen and bathroom renovations due to its durability, low maintenance, and aesthetic appeal. Engineered stone is made from a combination of natural stone particles and resin, creating a consistent and non-porous surface. The low silica content allows this type of stone to be naturally less prone to etching and staining, (making it easier to clean and maintain) as well as being resistant to scratches and heat damage, making it an ideal choice for busy kitchens.

Our suppliers now have low-silica formulations designed with both workers and homeowners in mind:


Prime Stone Low-Silica:

  • Prime Stone offers a fully refreshed range of composite stone that is low-silica. This range includes nine new designs along with existing ones, all of which are now low-silica.

  • The composition of Prime Stone low-silica includes a mix of recycled glass, glass sand, and silica. These materials combine to create durable and beautiful benchtops.

  • The non-porous properties of low-silica stone make it hygienic and resistant to stains, scratches, and heat.


AGB Stone Low-Silica Stone Benchtops:

  • AGB Stone offers low-silica stone benchtops available in two compositions:


-Recycled glass and glass sand: This blend results in a safe and sustainable product. -Recycled materials including glass and feldspar: Another option for low-silica stone.



Whether you’re upgrading your home or working on a project, low-silica stone benchtops offer a blend of beauty, durability, and safety.


 

Proper maintenance is essential to keep your low-silica stone benchtops looking beautiful and functional. Here are some guidelines for maintaining them:


Daily Cleaning:

  • Wipe Down: After each use, wipe the benchtop with a damp cloth or sponge to remove any spills, crumbs, or debris.

  • Mild Soap Solution: For more thorough cleaning, use a mild soap solution (such as dish soap) and warm water. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners.

  • Avoid Acidic Cleaners: Acidic cleaners can damage the surface, so steer clear of vinegar or lemon-based products.

Stain Prevention:

  • Blot Spills Promptly: If you spill anything on the benchtop, blot it up immediately to prevent staining.

  • Avoid Cutting Directly on the Surface: Use cutting boards to protect the stone from scratches and knife marks.

  • Use Coasters and Trivets: Place coasters under glasses and trivets under hot pots or pans to prevent heat or moisture damage.

Sealing:

  • Check Manufacturer’s Recommendations: Some low-silica stone benchtops come pre-sealed, while others require periodic sealing. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.

  • Regular Sealing: If needed, apply a stone sealer every 6 to 12 months to maintain the protective layer.

Avoid Heavy Impact:

  • Avoid Dropping Heavy Objects: While low-silica stone is durable, heavy impacts can still cause chips or cracks.

  • Use Cutting Boards and Trivets: As mentioned earlier, protect the surface from direct impact.

Heat Protection:

  • Hot Pots and Pans: Always use trivets or hot pads under hot cookware to prevent thermal shock.

  • Avoid Extreme Heat: Avoid placing extremely hot items directly on the benchtop.

Avoid Abrasive Materials:

  • No Harsh Scrubbing: Use soft cloths or sponges for cleaning. Avoid abrasive pads or steel wool.

  • Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Stay away from bleach, ammonia, or other strong chemicals.

Repair Minor Damage:

  • Chips or Scratches: If you notice any minor damage, consult a professional for repair. They can fill in chips or polish out scratches.


Remember that each manufacturer may have specific care instructions, so always refer to their guidelines. Regular maintenance will help your low-silica stone benchtops stay beautiful and functional for years to come! 

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