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What The Engineered Stone Ban Means For Installers

February 2024

Author: Omni Cubed

As you have probably heard, Australia is becoming the first country to completely ban engineered stone due to safety hazards, and it may not be long before other countries join them. LA County has also been weighing a ban on selling, cutting, or installing engineered stone. Professionals in the stone industry need to be prepared for a complete ban on engineered stone and learn how to adapt their practices.

Silicosis is a Rising Concern

The root of the bans comes from the rising concern of silicosis among installers and stone professionals. There have been 100 cases of silicosis in California among workers who cut countertops since 2009, with at least 10 deaths. Experts believe many more cases may have been misdiagnosed or left unreported.

Natural Stone and Large Format Tile are Great Alternatives

What’s the difference between engineered stone and natural stone? Engineered stone countertops are man-made by combining natural materials with resins and pigments, resulting in a countertop that emulates the appearance of natural stone. On the other hand, natural stone countertops are sourced from quarries worldwide, where slabs of genuine stone are extracted, polished, and cut to size. Natural stone tends to be more fragile, delicate, and more expensive to install than engineered stone.

Large-format tile is another great alternative and works especially well for walls and floors. Large format tile is considered to be any tile with one side longer than 15″. With sizes up to 48” ×136”, tile slabs can make the perfect replacement for engineered stone.

Protecting Your Material is Key

When thinking about the effects of a complete ban on engineered stone, it’s safe to say natural stone and large format tile are here to stay. While being more fragile and expensive, you need to know how to protect your material during the fabrication and installation process.

Exercise extreme caution when handling natural stone, and invest in tools such as the Sink Hole Saver™ Edge, Aqua-Jaw™ Carry Vise™, and Pro-Cart AT2 to safeguard those fragile and expensive slabs during the fabrication, transportation, and installation process.

Utilize tools such as the S3 | Slim Slab Saver™ Auto, a rigid frame and reinforcement tool, to safeguard your large format tile slabs, and reduce strain during transportation.

With just one prevented break, they pay for themselves!

Photos from Nelson Tile & Granite, Inc.
Photos from Nelson Tile & Granite, Inc.

Photos from Nelson Tile & Granite, Inc.

As the industry adapts to the evolving regulations, safeguarding your natural stone and tile investments becomes paramount. Stay informed, implement best practices, and continue delivering top-tier craftsmanship in the ever-changing landscape of stone fabrication.