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Anything Stone Trip to Spain

Anything Stone are our fabricators for all of our stone worktops including Granite, Quartz, Dekton and Marble.  They operate out of Swindon with a sister company in Edinburgh which makes them perfectly positioned to cover the whole of England with us.  They are very good at training so that we at Chalon can help our clients to make the best decisions for their kitchen.  Part of this training was to send our Design Consultant Emily to Spain for three days to see the quarries for herself.

She was hosted by Cosentino, the company behind the huge brands of Silestone and Dekton.  Their factory is based right in the mountains near Almeria, southern Spain.  This used to be a popular place for quarries, however, since the recession it is ghostly quiet.

Cosentino’s original product was Silestone; quartz from the surrounding mountains crushed up with resin, pigment and antibacterial to make a granite-like slab but with improved qualities.  Although Silestone is 98% natural material, because it has been re-formed, it means that when you look at a sample, your final worktop will look very similar unlike a granite where anything could happen!  It is a less porous material than granite which makes it more stain resistant.  Whereas a granite would be stained by a glass of red wine in 1-2 hours, with Silestone, you have 3-4 hours to wipe up the mark.

Dekton has only been in production for 3 years but already has a huge market presence.  They take a mixture of natural materials from the mountains ground into a fine powder.  This is then mixed, formed into slabs and compressed under huge pressure.  High energy lasers bond the particles together in a process called sintering to create a slab with a similar chemical structure to granite.  Due to the sintering, the structure is uniform throughout with no weak spots which is the key to making it scratch and heat proof – one of the few materials that you can safely put a pan directly on straight from the hob.  Their workshops are designed to the highest standard and are almost fully run by robots.  Whereas the Silestone workshops are full of noise, water and people, the Dekton factory at the other end of the site is over 1km long, with only 4 members of staff, and they were all having lunch elsewhere!  The slabs are stored in dark warehouses with robots fetching the order and offloading to robotic controlled pallet trucks that place the order inside the waiting lorries.  In the next few weeks, Dekton is launching their new polished and more natural effect slabs which are definitely worth a look.

How About Some Glass?

Glass makes a perfect splashback for messy places like sinks and hobs because it can be so easily wiped clean.  Choosing the right colour can really set the tone for your kitchen and it isn’t only suitable for the more modern kitchen, traditional styled kitchens can also benefit from glass.

The Antiqued Deco Mirror from Deco Glaze looks beautiful as seen in the Chateau photos in our Image Gallery.  They used a silver backed mirror but it can also come in bronze for a more distorted image.  Using a mirror also helps to bounce light onto a traditionally darker area in the kitchen unless down-lights are added to the canopy.

Patterns can be added by painting or etching to your specification to make your splashback unique to you.

Choosing your Worktop

Choosing the correct worktop for your kitchen is a mixture of functionality, aesthetic and cost.    This short post will give you a quick run down of the major worktops and their uses.

Wood –

Wood is a great material and the cheapest of the materials mentioned here.  It brings warmth and integrity into a kitchen, ideal for a more relaxed family or country style.  It is perfect for baking on, particularly breads as the dough doesn’t stick like glue to the worktop, leaving you with more to clear up than in your tin.  When mixing on it, there is only a gentle thud of the bowl and not the crash of glass or ceramic on stone.  Kitchen islands suit wooden tops the best as the natural warmth of the material makes it inviting to sit at for drinks with friends or whilst your children do their homework before supper.  However, do not use wood near hobs or sinks as the heat and damp damages it very quickly.  Wood needs sealing once a year and more frequently during the first year of installation and must be treated with care throughout it’s life.

Granite –

Granite is a natural material, formed thousands of years ago and cut out of the rock before being cut and polished into the desired shape.  This means that each piece is unique and although it may come from the same quarry, the pattern can never be guaranteed.  Although granite is slightly porous and needs occasional sealing, it is dimensionally stable which means that it doesn’t warp when exposed to water making it perfect for Belfast or under mounted sinks.  Granite will last the lifetime of your kitchen.

Quartz –

Quartz is a natural mineral that is ground up and mixed with resin and pigment to produce a granite-like surface with the added bonus of being non-porous and stain resistant.  Some brands such as Silestone add an anti-bacterial to their quartz’s making a family friendly worktop.  Because it is engineered, there is an enormous choice of colours from natural looking seams to bold block colours or maybe some added sparkle.

Corian –

Corian is made from a mix of acrylic and natural minerals to make a non-porous, bacteria and stain resistant worktop.  Corian can be joined together almost seamlessly to create coved up-stands and integrated sinks with no cracks for germs to grow.    It comes in over 100 colours and can be formed into almost any shape making your imagination the limit.

Dekton –

Dekton emulates in a few hours what takes nature thousands of years through an exclusive technological process.  This has made a stone like material that has almost zero porosity and no areas of weakness meaning that this is the ONLY material that you can put pans straight from the hob directly onto the worktop.  It comes in a selection of thicknesses that means that it can be used anywhere in the house including indoor and outdoor flooring and anywhere in the bathroom, including the walls.

If you have any further questions about which worktops to use in your kitchen, speak to one of our design consultants on the phone or in one of our many showrooms.  Further details can be found on the “Contact” page.