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  • Writer's pictureVision Digital

Australia's Ban on Engineered Stones Starting July 2024: Exploring Safe and Stylish Alternatives

Updated: Apr 3

a man cutting a stone slab for a kitchen countertop
Unlike natural stones or other kitchen countertop materials, engineered stones produce fine silica dust that leads to silicosis when cut, grounded, or polished.

In July 2024, Australia will see a significant legislative shift with a comprehensive ban on the use of engineered stones. This move aims to protect public health due to concerns that the processing of engineered stones, essentially artificial quartz, can release harmful silica dust particles, increasing the risk of lung cancer. As this law takes effect, both households and commercial spaces will need to look for safe and aesthetically pleasing alternatives. This article introduces three popular alternatives: porcelain slabs, natural stone, and non-silica quartz, to help you make informed choices for your space renovation or design.


Porcelain Slabs: A Versatile and Powerful Option

Texture of a porcelain countertop

Porcelain slabs, made from natural minerals compressed under high heat, have gained popularity for their durability and design flexibility. Their surface patterns are achieved through high-precision printing technology, offering a wide range of design and color choices. Advanced porcelain slabs even mimic the pattern continuity on edges, enhancing their natural appearance.

Advantages:

  • Exceptional heat and wear resistance

  • A vast selection of designs and colors

  • Surface and edge pattern continuity for aesthetic appeal

Disadvantages:

  • Higher costs and professional installation requirements

  • Specialized cutting equipment like waterjets is necessary for processing


Natural Stone: Each Piece a Natural Work of Art

A piece of marble resting on a marble kitchen benchtop

Natural stones, such as granite, marble, and limestone, are favored for their unique textures and natural beauty. The price of natural stone varies significantly based on its pattern and origin, with some beautiful options like Tundra Grey being surprisingly affordable.

Advantages:

  • Unique aesthetic value with each piece being one-of-a-kind

  • Increases beauty and value over time

Disadvantages:

  • Requires regular sealing to prevent staining

  • Variations in size and pattern may affect design continuity


Non-Silica Quartz: Combining Aesthetics with Health

quartz kitchen benchtop surface

As a safe alternative to traditional quartz, non-silica quartz retains all the advantages of quartz without the health risks. This material offers a wide range of design options while being maintenance-friendly, and durable.

Advantages:

  • Free from harmful substances, making it safe for household members.

  • Easy to clean and maintain, resistant to scratches and high temperatures.

  • Vibrant colors that maintain their luster and appearance over time.

Disadvantages:

  • Limited choices compared to traditional quartz.

  • Non-silica quartz is relatively expensive, especially for high-quality options.


Making an Informed Choice

With the impending ban on engineered stones in Australia, now is the time to consider using safer, more environmentally friendly materials. When choosing countertop materials, consider the following key points:

  • Budget: Determine your budget range and explore the best options within it.

  • Aesthetic Preferences: Choose materials and colors that match your interior design style.

  • Maintenance: Consider the level of maintenance you're willing to undertake and choose materials that are easy to maintain.

  • Durability: Assess the durability of different materials to ensure they meet your usage requirements.

Whether you opt for porcelain slabs, natural stone, or non-silica quartz, the key is to find materials that suit your style, reflect your status, within your budget, and could address all your practical needs. With the new law in Australia, these alternatives offer a safe and stylish way to create your ideal home or commercial space.


Conclusion

Legislative changes often drive industry innovation and progress. Australia's decision to ban engineered stones pushes the market and consumers towards healthier, more eco-friendly materials. With this guide, we hope you have a comprehensive understanding of porcelain slabs, natural stone, and non-silica quartz, enabling you to make wise decisions for your next renovation project. Remember, the best choice is a material that meets your aesthetic needs while adhering to health and safety standards.

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