In the Know | Stone Table Top Alternatives. Updated
Today, there is so many choices when it comes to both natural materials and man-made, or even a mixture of both for hospitality table tops. What are the pros and cons for each material and what are the performance indicators that should be considered when trying to understand the difference between the materials and understanding what is the most suitable material for your project?
To evaluate the all-round performance of commercial table top material, it's worth looking at the below key indicators:
Marble table tops have been a popular choice for alfresco dining for over 200 years. Marble is a stunningly beautiful material.
However, it isn't a perfect table top material for hospitality and this is why, over the years, different man-made table top materials have been created. These materials try to capture the beauty of marble but without marbles natural vulnerability to etching,
Marbles have a high heat resistance, however they can etch. Etching is a reaction between the acid in liquids we consume such as colas, wine, citrus juices, vinegar-based sauces and calcium which is the main mineral content within the marble and limestone. The acid mattes the polish level of the material which can be seen as rings from wine glasses, bottles etc, whereas Granite and Quartz do not have calcium content and therefore this reaction does not occur. Unfortunately, etching cannot be reversed.
Sealants can be applied to tops to help prevent staining through clogging the pores of the stone. This helps to prevent the marble from absorbing liquids and stop colours from penetrating by extending the period of time to clean up a spillage. It is not a surface coating and will not prevent etching. This can be purchased and applied to re-seal the top on a 6 month/yearly basis depending on how frequently the top is wiped.
Cleaning with hot soapy water and normal trade cleaning agents is the easiest and best way to clean on a daily basis and stubborn stain marks can be released using white spirit. Whilst stone is less likely to incur scratching than wood and other materials, it can occur if care is not taken with unglazed bottoms and sharp edges.
The first question to ask yourself is do you require a table for indoor or outdoor use. If you require a table top for outdoor use, then the 2 alternative stone materials to consider would be:
Man-made with resin to mimic marble, granite and other stones. Resin marble is a totally solid cast resin supplied with an MDF backing board, giving a smooth to touch finish and radius corners as standard.
Standard thickness 30-40mm
Non-porous | Made with resin, these table tops feature a protective glossy gel top coat making them 100% non porous.
Heat proof | Able to withstand temperatures associated with restaurant dining.
Stain proof | The strong smooth surface material makes it water resistant and stain-proof.
Custom colours | Being man-made, our resin marble tops and can be manufactured in bespoke colours.
Man-made with resin and recycled FSC wood chips, timber terrazzo is a great alternative to traditional terrazzo as it is non-porous and an eco-friendly choice.
Finished with a plywood substrate as standard. The plywood can be left bare, or an edge such as metal or solid wood can be applied.
Standard thickness 24mm incl. plywood
Non-porous | Made with resin, timber terrazzo will not stain or etch as easily as stone/terrazzo.
Heat resistance | Able to withstand temperatures associated with restaurant dining.
Made entirely from recycled materials, SilicaStone is a unique, hard wearing and ethical material styled as terrazzo and ceramic. Popular for is ethical production, bespoke colouring and unique look, both SilicaStone Terrazzo and SilicaStone Shades are solid surfaces available from Inside Out for restaurant tables, bars and hotel tables.
Standard Thickness 20-30mm
Being UV resistant, the SilicaStone Terrazzo will not loose its colour from UV rays when used outdoors.
Manufactured quartz is a popular imitation of marble with a performance very similar to granite.
It is made using waste Quartz and Quartzite which is the second most prolific mineral of this planet. The material is ground down to dust size particles and then glued back together, with a general make up of around 85-90% quartz, 7% glue and 3-8% pigments. This mixture is then compressed and heated to extract air and set/cure the resin.
This makes the quartz a dense material that is non-porous, and therefore more resistant to chipping, scratching and bacteria. There is no calcium content, therefore they will not etch.
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