Safety meets style with SilkSurface

As Australia prepares for the imminent ban on engineered stone, SilkSurface benchtops stand out as a safe, durable and attractive solution for the building sector.

In response to growing concerns about the health hazards associated with engineered stone, SilkSurface has been proactively exploring alternative materials for stone benchtops. Prioritising safety, the company now offers a diverse range of benchtops that not only look appealing and are cost‐effective but are also manufactured in a manner that ensures the wellbeing of construction workers.

Safety meets style with SilkSurface
Ben Scott, founder and managing director of SilkSurface.

The allure of engineered stone has found a fervent following among Australians, who are drawn to its distinctive look and feel. Yet, beneath the surface lies a perilous reality for construction workers. Activities involving engineered stone products, including cutting, grinding and sanding, produce respirable dust containing crystalline silica, commonly referred to as silica dust. Prolonged inhalation of silica dust poses a grave risk to workers’ health, leading to severe respiratory diseases and, in some instances, proving fatal.

Ben Scott, founder and managing director of SilkSurface, highlights that the company initiated the exploration of safer alternatives for stone benchtops as the industry began questioning the dangers of engineered stone.

“For some time, we have been developing a product to provide customers with an alternative to engineered stone, prior to the government’s discussion around its future,” says Scott. “The recently announced ban on engineered stone has presented the construction industry with an opportunity to deliver improved and safer options for both customers and workers, and that’s exactly what we’ve achieved.”

“SilkSurface exemplifies the industry’s proactive approach to regulatory changes, and we’re excited to deliver a safer product to the market.”

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Safety meets style with SilkSurface
SilkSurface mimics the look and feel of natural stone.

SilkSurface not only mimics the look and feel of natural stone but surpasses it in durability and ease of maintenance. Through meticulous manufacturing techniques, SilkSurface achieves the desired aesthetic and robustness sought by the building industry and end users, utilising safe materials in the process.

Comprising a blend of bauxite (aluminium hydroxide) and a polyester binder, each SilkSurface sheet undergoes formation under 400 tonnes of pressure before being diamond polished, resulting in its resilient and durable surface. These benchtops are distinguished by their outstanding durability, boasting high heat resistance, resistance to stains (including makeup and red wine), scratch resistance, an easily cleanable and hygienic non‐porous surface, and effortless repairability.

Scott emphasises that, despite its toughness, SilkSurface remains highly efficient and user friendly for installers to fabricate. Additionally, SilkSurface’s compatibility with the current machinery used in the building industry ensures easy installation.

“It can be cut, sanded and polished with the same ease as timber,” he explains. “This flexibility ensures that if installers accidentally scratch or damage a SilkSurface benchtop, unlike natural stone, it can be effortlessly repaired in‐situ with fine sandpaper and polish.”

“SilkSurface offers precisely what customers want: a quality product that looks good, is affordable and can be manufactured with safety for workers in mind.”

Further solidifying SilkSurface as a safe alternative to engineered stone, the product recently underwent comprehensive independent testing conducted by stone product experts. In January of this year, researchers from the University of Adelaide’s School of Public Health verified that SilkSurface stands as a genuine, 100 per cent silica‐free alternative to engineered stone. Leveraging their previous experience in testing stone products, the University of Adelaide had the expertise to thoroughly evaluate and authenticate the SilkSurface product.

Safety meets style with SilkSurface
SilkSurface aims to provide a safe and user‐friendly product for the building sector.

“This successful testing outcome affirms that SilkSurface is a safe and reliable choice for customers embarking on apartment, office or residential building projects,” says Scott. “This assurance extends to the safety of both construction workers and end users, instilling confidence in cabinet makers, stone masons, builders, architects, interior designers and homeowners when choosing our product.”

SilkSurface aims to provide a safe and user‐friendly product for all benchtops used in buildings nationwide, offering an extensive range of colours to suit diverse customer needs. Championing safety and quality, SilkSurface is well‐positioned to become the construction industry’s go‐to product, particularly with the upcoming enforcement of the engineered stone ban in July.

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