Granite Edges: Ogee, Bullnose, Bevelled, Square are some Edge Profiles

Granite edges on your kitchen countertop can vary, their are some standard granite edges, but in reality normally only a few options are given to the final client. Ogee, bullnose, bevelled, square are some terms we encounter in the edge profiles available. Did you know that the diamond tool manufacturers have them labelled by letters? In truth you will call it bevelled square edge and they'll understand it as a CD type edge. The Ogee is a more complex situation because you can find several types, a perfect Ogee is 1/2 one cut the other half another cut, so I would say it would be an F type.

These are some of the most common edges you can find, basically they are standard edges, you can actually have your own type of edge made, it will cost a bit more than the standard ones, but it will be your own feature.


Silestone colors the World

Silestone colors the World of quartz. Truth is that Silestone colors are a well establish marketing machine. No doubt that in all the solid surface industry Silestone stands out from the rest, it has accomplished several marks that distinguish it from it's direct competitors.
Silestone is the biggest manufacturer when we take into account the quartz agglomerate sector by itself. It's main production facility is located in a small town called Macael, located in the South of Spain. Silestone is one of the most successful trademarks of the Cosentino Group. Cosentino is one of the biggest natural stone manufacturers in Spain, and one of the most important in the World.
Silestone since it's appearance on National Television with a commercial during a Superbowl, has leaped ahead as the most successful company in the agglomerate stone industry. They use several marketing strategies to their advantage and today they are seen as a milestone in the industry, in some countries silestone is more than just a brand, people refer to quartz agglomerate as silestone, that's how important of a reference it is to the industry.
They keep investing millions in advertisement, in the last few years they've used Fernando Alonso the Formula 1 driver as their flag. They even created a product to which Alonso is the public image.
They have about 12 production lines, some of which are designated to specific colours, this as you can imagine increases output and quality tremendously. Normally, when color change is needed, and when the factory has only one or two production lines, they have high set-up costs, so with 12 lines, it's actually pretty efficient, although they really need a lot of volume to keep the whole plant working at full capacity.
Silestone has also created parallel spin-off businesses, namely MURO, which is a mosaic type material, used for backsplashes and other applications, this product is a good use for wastage, it is thin due to the slicing of the common material. They have also created a quartz sink unit, which supplies sinks to the kitchen industry in Silestone colors.
Besides these spin-offs, they have a kitchen countertop manufacturing unit, very sophisticated, mainly uses 2nd choice slabs, which are photographed and stored, the order of the countertops are then optimizes to the slabs useful size ... they have a special automated warehouse to manage the whole system.
It wasn't always this way in the 1990s Silestone and the Cosentino Group went through a tough crisis. The Silestone brand and product was new to the market, the trust in Silestone products was very low ... difficult times, and they took difficult measures ... and survived with great success. Silestone was the first to offer a 10 year warranty on their products, many manufacturers today don't give you this type of warranty. Silestone is also known to solve quality problems ... no questions asked ... they have managed their image in a correct way, and they have their success founded on solid ground.


Chinese quartz

Chinese quartz plants are starting to bloom and we start seeing Chinese quartz in the market, Why is Chinese quartz appearing cheaper? Does Chinese quartz have the same quality as other International brands? I figure a lot of readers of my blog have this question in mind, and today I have made this post specifically to discuss this current market issue.
I have some experience in production of these products and have had the opportunity to visit several facilities, in several countries, including China.
What I have seen in China was a world where you find 2 parts in the same whole, one with some high tech, and the other old fashion, non appropriate working methods. In truth Chinese quartz comes out cheaper, due to  some important factors:
  • Breton charges too much money for know-how: a whole slab plant can cost as much 5-10€/sqm, the Chinese copy of Breton technology is called KEDA ... and it's costs less than 30% compared to Breton
  • Most Chinese plants use Chinese machinery (polishing, calibrating, cutting, bevelling and other equipment), which is greatly cheaper than Breton technology, who diplomatically forces their Breton plants to buy Breton equipment
  • Chinese plants use cheap local workforce in the factories
  • The Chinese local economy is a very strange thing to foreigners, they worship value not price.

Regarding the quality of the product, I have no doubt that Chinese quartz producers have lower quality standards. I've personally seen, block production plants with high quality production, but with a deficient industrial infra-structure. So basically some problems that can arise in quartz material are as follows:
  • dark smudge or spots on light materials
  • bad polish: in dark colours it may cause shade difference on the same slab
  • pin holes or porous surface: caused by vacuum and mixing problems, this is very difficult to see due to the superficial shine of the material, but if you drop some dark ink in the slab and clean it ... you'll see the black spots on the surface which are in reality small pin holes on the quartz slabs surface
  • bad mixture and bad compaction: the end of the slab may appear damaged or with missing filling
  • thickness problems due to non calibration: measure the slabs thickness in several points
  • tainted surface: some producers taint the surface to solve some difficult polishing problems
  • surface filling: some producers use mastic filling lines to hide the porous surface of the product, basically they apply a superficial coating of resin. Although the edges will not be corrected, you'll always face that problem with working the slab.
  • Chinese quartz has more resin in it's composition which helps solve most of the production problems, although creates a product which physically has a different behaviour than the ones made with Italian Technology
These are signs of bad production, and some mechanical malfunctions. I'm not saying it can't appear in European facilities, I just think that European facilities are more responsive in dealing with these problems, and most of them are either avoided or detected before loading in to the container.


Solid Surfacing or Solid Surfaces

Solid Surfacing or solid surfaces can be a wide range of products. In the solid surfaces category we find many different types of man made stone, although solid surfaces implies a non-porous surface, which is on of the things that distinguish high quality products from no quality.
So what is the difference between solid surfaces and engineered stone?
None, in truth these products have appeared in the market about 30/40years ago, and basically they're are called by many names, here goes a list:
  1. Solid surfaces
  2. Engineered stone
  3. Man made stone
  4. Agglomerate Stone - used as the official definition in CE Markings
  5. Conglomerate Stone
  6. Cultured Stone
  7. Compact Stone
  8. Silestone - it's a brand but due to the strong marketing many people actually call the product silestone
  9. Fake stone
So basically, we may be speaking of different products, but they have more or less the same objective, they imitate to certain perfection the natural stone.
These products are normally constituted by 3 relevant parts: the natural or un-natural grain, the binding agent and artificial colouring pigments. Most common products in this category are quartz based agglomerates, which are composed of quartz grain, bonded together with polyester resin.