Silestone is a solid surface material frequently used in kitchen and baths as a countertop surface. Made primarily of quartz, Silestone also consists of a small amount of plastic. It resembles granite and other natural stone products, but has more sparkle from the flecks of quartz crystals embedded in the Silestone. Although it is probably the most well-known quartz surface, Silestone is one of several manufacturers of this engineered stone. In comparison with other stone and engineered surfaces, Silestone has both positive and negative features.
Silestone is scratch-resistant and scorch-resistant since it is made of quartz, which is one of the hardest minerals found in nature, according to the Silestone website. It also resists stains because it is non-porous, so food and liquids cannot penetrate below the surface. One of the most advantageous features of Silestone is that it has built-in antimicrobial protection to prevent bacteria growth. Another Silestone advantage is that while it has the beauty of natural stone, it does not require the sealing and maintenance of other stone surfaces, such as granite or marble.
While Silestone's positive features outweigh its negatives, there are some negatives to the surface. The biggest Silestone disadvantage is that it is more costly than either laminate or granite. When compared to Corian, which is made of plastic, Silestone is also not as easily repaired as Corian, according to the website Home Addition Plus by Mark Donovan. Another consideration is that it does not have the natural variances of granite or marble, which gives each piece a distinct look. As a result, the selection of colors and patterns is more limited than with other natural materials.
There are more factors to consider when choosing a countertop surface. Silestone, since it is manufactured, can be a convenient choice since colors are uniform and can be picked from samples as opposed to having to travel to a stone yard. Another consideration is that Silestone emits low or no levels of radon gas. While radon gas is emitted from granite and other stone materials, the levels of the gas vary from sample to sample and are not typically high enough to be an issue, according to Indoor Air Quality by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.