Engineered stone has been a popular choice for kitchen benchtops, splashbacks and bathroom surfaces.  It is a synthetic composite material created by blending crushed stone with a resin binder. This material can be tailored to suit the specific requirements of a construction project and is designed to replicate the aesthetics of natural stone. It boasts exceptional durability and resistance to scratches, stains, and heat. Its non-porous nature facilitates easy cleaning and maintenance and is significantly more affordable than its natural counterpart. 

Despite its numerous advantages, the production and installation of engineered stone can pose health risks for workers. The material may contain elevated levels of respirable crystalline silica, released as dust during the manufacturing processes. Inhaling this dust puts workers at risk of developing silicosis, a potentially fatal lung disease, as well as other respiratory ailments.  As a result, Australia will enforce a ban on engineered stone from 1st July 2024, prohibiting its use, supply, and manufacture.

Please note that once installed, engineered stone does not pose any health risks.

What alternatives exist in the market?

Several options include traditional materials such as concrete, stainless steel, porcelain, natural stone, timber and laminate. Additionally, newer and innovative products are emerging in the market – below are a few crucial considerations when exploring the use of an alternative product:

Potential Time Delays:

As many homeowners will find themselves looking for a substitute material for their project, there is a risk of delay in availability which could have implications for your project timeline.

Financial Impacts:

Changing the chosen material used in your project may have financial repercussions. Check with your designer and/or builder for potential cost implications to ensure alignment with your budget.

Aesthetic Impacts:

When opting for an alternative, consider how the new material’s texture and appearance will align with the aesthetic goals of your project.

Durability and Functionality:

Different materials age and wear differently. Consider the long-term durability of the chosen alternative, taking into account factors such as resistance to heat, staining, and how the material ages over time.

What if I currently have engineered stone installed and I am wanting to get it removed?

If you plan to renovate a bathroom or kitchen with previously installed engineered stone, there are currently no restrictions on removal in South Australia.  Ministers have indicated that the ban will include exemptions allowing repairs, minor modifications, and removal. Detailed information on these exemptions will be provided in the coming months and we will keep this article updated.

If you have any questions about impending changes to engineered stone, you can always reach out to the BTF Constructions team. 

Date of blog written: 1 March 2024