Life Beyond Engineered Stone

Once hailed as a darling of interior design, engineered stone is renowned for its durability and low maintenance, celebrated as the perfect surface for kitchen benches and bathroom inclusions. Lately, it’s time in the limelight has been cast into shadow with silica dust proving to be hazardous enough for the government to introduce strict regulations on its use.

A ban on the manufacture, supply, processing and installation of engineered stone bench tops, panels and slabs comes into effect from 1st July 2024 – but don’t panic – it won’t mean a return to those 1970s bright orange laminate benchtop trends! Our friends at YDL Stone have been working hard on a new range of alternative stone products that we’re proud to feature this month. Read on to find out more…

Firstly, why the ban on Engineered Stone?

Rates of silicosis and silica-related diseases in Australian workers have risen substantially in recent years, with a disproportionate number of diagnoses in engineered stone workers. It was a lengthy and tireless campaign supported by doctors, trade unions and workers that highlighted the link between these severe illnesses and silica dust from the processing of engineered stone. With this evidence exposed the government introduced new regulations including banning the use of engineered stone to protect Australian workers from developing silicosis and other serious lung diseases.

Making the tough but necessary transition

Many engineered building products contain Crystalline silica, a naturally occurring mineral found in rocks, sand and clay, widely used in the creation of composite stone to fabricate bathroom benches and kitchen countertops since the 1960’s. Sounds versatile, right? The danger lies in the airborne dust released when materials or products containing silica are cut, sanded or drilled (think 100th the size of a grain of sand). This fine dust can be breathed in without even knowing. Depending on the length of exposure, health effects can include lung cancer and silicosis. For the protection of workers, massive change within the industry is imperative. From July 1st there will be appropriate exceptions for engineered stone products with negligible trace levels of crystalline silica (under 1%).

Trusted suppliers leading the charge on innovation

As they say, necessity is the mother of all invention – and industry leaders YDL Stone have been hard at work developing an innovative range that meets the strictest safety regulations without compromising on style. Thanks to their appealing colour range and competitive pricing YDL Stone has been one of Valley Homes trusted suppliers of low-silica engineered stone, most recently on the construction of Tallowood Medowie

YDL Stone’s commitment to transparency and compliance ensures that their stone products not only meet but exceed regulatory standards, setting a benchmark for sustainability in the industry. YDL Stone has been adapting to the challenges of the change in legislation and since before the announcement of the ban they’ve been making the transition from their low-silica engineered stone to their Crystalline silica-free range.

Stepping up with Crystalline Silica-free 

The YDL Stone Crystalline Silica-free range launching in the second quarter of 2024 promises over 40 colours to suit all tastes, designs and budgets. YDL offers the largest colour range in the industry including marble look and fine-veined stone. We think this Crystalline Silica-free range is stunning and certain to be one of the most sought-after and celebrated interior design trends this year.

YDL Stone’s quality is supported by substantial credentials. The Crystalline Silica-free range is accredited and lab tested by National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) in Australia – with the YDL Stone range passed with flying colours, results show less than 1% crystalline silica.

Despite changes to the product’s composition, YDL Stone’s durability remains uncompromised. The range is heat and stain resistant making it an ideal low maintenance option for kitchen benchtops and splash backs.

YDL Stone is dedicated to being at the forefront of market trends by consistently delivering exceptional craftsmanship while covering latest design trends from deluxe to more budget friendly.

We’re here to guide you through the change

The engineered stone ban in Australia has brought much needed change to the industry but it will require a period of adjustment. During such times you need the assurance of an experienced builder to help you navigate the changes that apply to your project. Whether your next build is a multi-unit development or your dream home Valley Homes has over 50 years of design and craftsmanship to offer. Build with confidence – call us today.

Images courtesy of YDL Stone | Instagram: @ydlstoneau