Is manmade stone better than the real thing?

Each type of natural stone forms under different conditions and has different sets of characteristics and properties. Marble flooring adds a sense of luxury to a space, lava stone is recommended for wet areas due to its fast-drying qualities, and granite is favoured for kitchen countertops due to its scratch and heat resistance.

However, thanks to the advances in technology, there are many manmade alternatives in the market that have similar aesthetics and more versatile uses!

So should you shell out your money on the real deal? Here are three things you should consider before making the choice between natural stone and manmade alternatives:

1) There will be defects and impefections in natural stone. It is hard to judge the quality of each batch of natural stone by its sample swatches, and you will only see “defects” in certain slabs during the dry-laying process. 

> If you are going for a homogenous look in your house, go for porcelain tiles with realistic finishes.

2) Natural stone will discolour over time due to oxidisation.

> Consider using engineered quartz or tiles that resemble stone as they are non-porous, and some even have antibacterial properties.

3) Natural stones are porous and are sensitive to oil, wine and acidic stains. Not the most ideal for the kitchen and flooring!

> If you want to use natural stone, limit it to areas where the beauty of natural stone can be appreciated – like on a feature wall of a vanity counter. 


If you're still set on using natural stone, such as marble, here are some maintenance tips:

> Keep it in air-conditioned areas indoors to prevent discolouration.

> Allow the substrate (the layer under the tiles) to be thoroughly cured before laying down the marble.

> Use a neutral (with a pH of 7) and colourless detergent to clean and maintain marble floors daily. Strong and/or coloured detergents might haze or stain the floor.

> White marble contains iron compounds that will oxidise in time, making it prone to developing yellowish-brown stains.