Engineered Stone Ban - What Are Your Alternatives

With the Australian government moving to ban the use of engineered stone containing more than 80% silica, manufacturers and homeowners alike are now seeking safer alternatives for their benchtop materials. The ban is in direct response to a growing number of cases of silicosis, a potentially fatal lung disease; silicosis is caused by inhaling silica dust, which can be released during the cutting, sanding, and polishing of materials such as engineered stone, a popular choice for kitchen and bathroom benchtops. According to recent reports, there have been at least 400 cases of silicosis in Australia in the past five years, with many more cases suspected to go undiagnosed. The disease is irreversible and can lead to lung scarring, shortness of breath, and other respiratory problems, and in severe cases, can be fatal.

The ban on high-silica engineered stone - which is expected to come into effect sometime in 2023 - will help to protect workers in the stone benchtop industry from exposure to harmful silica dust, but it has also raised concerns about the availability and cost of alternative materials. While there may be some challenges in finding affordable and practical alternatives, the health and safety of workers must remain a top priority. Natural stone, such as granite and marble, can also contain silica, although at lower levels than some engineered stone products. However, natural stone can be more expensive and less consistent in appearance than engineered stone.

Thankfully, there's one alternative that’s been under our noses this whole time: stainless steel has long been favoured material for modern home designs and commercial kitchens, as it is resistant to heat, stains, and bacteria, and it is remarkably easy to clean and maintain. Additionally, stainless steel is long-lasting and durable as it is able to withstand harsh environments and heavy usage. Aesthetically, it is a fine complement to both traditional and modern kitchen styles, and though it is prone to scratching, many people find the unique look of stainless steel to be an attractive feature; as such, it continues to be a popular choice for those seeking a sleek, industrial look for their kitchen.

Understanding the Green Benefits of Stainless Steel

The benefits of using stainless steel in the home are manifold. Its durability, hygiene, and easy maintenance make it an ideal choice for kitchen and bathroom fixtures, while its versatility and customisation options allow for unique and personalised designs. It is also sustainably made, ensuring that it is one of the more environmentally responsible choices a homeowner can make while renovating.

One of stainless steel’s key advantages is its strength, as it is able to withstand harsh environments and heavy use. This makes it an ideal choice for kitchen benchtops, sinks, and other fixtures that experience regular wear and tear. Stainless steel is also resistant to heat, stains, and bacteria, making it a hygienic option for food preparation areas and bathrooms.

And did you know that stainless steel is also 100% recyclable? This means it can be fully repurposed at the end of its lifespan, making it an ideal option for homeowners who are concerned about their impact on the planet.

Stainless steel’s smooth surface also makes it difficult for dirt and grime to stick, providing ease of maintenance and cleaning, as it can simply be wiped down with a damp cloth after use. It does not require any special cleaning products or chemicals, making it a cost-effective option while further bolstering it as an environmentally conscious choice for home furnishing.

On top of its practical benefits, stainless steel is also an aesthetically pleasing choice for both modern and traditional kitchen designs; it is easily customisable to fit particular design specifications, and it is available in a range of finishes including matte and shiny.

And you needn’t think stainless steel is limited to the kitchen; its immunity against water damage has made it an extremely popular choice for bathrooms as well as outdoor settings, including barbeques. It is also featured in many architectural designs, such as balustrades, handrails, and cladding. Ultimately, stainless steel is as practical as it is stylish, and can add a classic yet modern touch to any home, be it indoor or out.

Cleaning and Maintaining Stainless Steel

Cleaning and maintaining stainless steel is the key to ensuring its longevity, optimising its hygienic benefits, and boosting its aesthetic appeal. It’s also, mercifully, an extremely easy thing to do, and is no more complicated than wiping down most any other bench. You simply remove any surface dirt or grime using a non-abrasive cloth or sponge and warm, soapy water. After cleaning, rinse the steel with clean water and dry it with a soft cloth to prevent water spots or streaks. And that’s it!

You should always remember to avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials as they can damage the steel surface. To maintain the stainless steel's appearance, avoid exposing it to harsh chemicals or acidic substances that can discolour or damage the steel. For the same reason, you shouldn't use abrasive materials like steel wool or scouring pads that can scratch the surface. Should you come across any stains that are a little more persistent, you may want to look into a specialised stainless steel cleaner that is formulated to remove stains without harming the surface, but it is very important that you follow the manufacturer's instructions very carefully and test the cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area before applying it to the entire surface.

About the Britex Range of Custom Stainless Fabrication

The Britex range of custom stainless steel is an excellent solution for those seeking functional fittings that are as durable as they are affordable. The range includes stainless steel benches, shelves, and other products that can be customised to meet the specific needs of each client.

One of the advantages of the Britex range is its use of high-quality stainless steel, which provides exceptional durability and resistance to wear and tear. The steel used is also non-porous, making it highly resistant to bacteria growth and easy to clean.

The Britex range also offers a high degree of customization, allowing clients to choose the size, shape, and design of their fittings. This makes it ideal for those seeking to maximise their available space or those with unique design requirements.

The Britex range of custom stainless steel fabrication also includes a range of products suitable for use in kitchens and bathrooms, as well as public settings such as schools, the hospitality industry, council/government areas, and general public amenities.

The Final Word

In conclusion, stainless steel is a versatile and durable material that offers many advantages in both home and commercial environments, making it an ideal choice for kitchen, bathroom, and outdoor settings. It is highly resistant to extreme temperatures, corrosion, bacteria growth, which makes it a dream to clean and maintain. The Britex range of custom stainless steel provides customers with high-quality stainless steel products that are tailored to their specific needs and design requirements, offering functional and stylish solutions for a variety of applications.