Engineered Stone Ban – When & Alternative Options

If you are planning to build a new home or renovate your existing home or kitchen, the upcoming ban on engineered stone may affect your plans for your benchtops.

What’s engineered stone?

Engineered stone has been a popular choice for benchtops & splashbacks in Australian homes for many years as a cost effective alternative to natural stone.  It is a composite material made of crushed stone bound together by an adhesive to create a solid stone surface that can be made to have a similar appearance to natural stone.

Engineered stone is commonly referred to by the various brand names such as Caesarstone, Silestone, Smartstone, Quantum Quartz and others.

When will it be banned and why?

Engineered stone can contain very high levels of the natural mineral crystalline silica – up to 95% (Worksafe Victoria).  When engineered stone containing high levels of crystalline silica is cut, ground, trimmed, drilled, sanded or polished, a very fine silica dust is released.

When silica dust is breathed in over time, it can cause fatal lung disease.

In order to address the health risks for workers exposed to silica dust, engineered stone will be banned.  This means that, from 1 July 2024, the supply, manufacture, processing and installation of engineered stone in Victoria is banned.

Although there may be a transitional period, suppliers are depleting stocks of their engineered stone now so it’s time to start investigating alternatives.

What are the alternatives to engineered stone?

Melbourne Interior Designer Frances Cosway, Design Director at White Pebble Interiors, has released an excellent podcast discussing Alternatives to Engineered Stone.  In her podcast, Frances covers factors such as durability, aesthetics, and budget, advising listeners on many alternatives available and why you may choose one material over another for your benchtops.

You can listen to Frances’ expert advice and insightful suggestions here:

The alternatives include porcelain, dekton, concrete, laminate, sintered stone, natural stone, timber, stainless steel and solid acrylic (corian).  Also, engineered stone companies are developing crystalline silica-free product ranges with launches expected imminently.  The key factors to consider when selecting an alternative product are the look & feel you’re after, maintenance requirements, durability, cleaning and price point.

Over the next two months, we will showcase alternatives to engineered stone in a series of Instagram and Facebook posts.  So keep an eye out for those! Our Facebook and Instagram links are below.

What if you already have an engineered stone benchtop? Is it safe?

If you already have engineered stone in your home, don’t worry, installed engineered stone is safe to use in-situ and will not need to be removed.  The health risk arises from exposure to silica dust during activities such as cutting, grinding, or drilling stone that contains crystalline silica.  There will be exceptions to the ban for the removal, repair, minor modification and disposal of ‘legacy’ engineered stone.  But be aware that modifications or repairs to engineered stone products should only be undertaken by a qualified tradesperson and in accordance with work health and safety regulations.

If you are considering renovating or extending in the Bayside or Inner Suburbs of Melbourne, give us a call on 0483 944 799. We would be delighted to have a chat with you about your options for transforming your home. At Gaia Construction, we are passionate about building high quality, healthy & energy efficient homes that our clients will love living in for years to come.

Also, you’re welcome to download our free guide on the 7 Things You Must Know Before Designing a New Home. It includes lots of useful tips to help you save time and money when designing a new home and renovation.

Download it now to learn how to ensure that you are on track to your perfect home.

The Key Things to Know Before Designing Your New Home




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Sue Davidson

The highlight of Sue's job at Gaia Construction is handing over beautifully crafted homes to excited clients. In her spare time, Sue is passionate about the environment & the outdoors, enjoying time hiking, sailing, walking her dog Lulu and travelling around Australia with her husband Jeremy & Lulu in their small campervan.

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