How a Caesarstone Benchtop is Fabricated & Installed

Your new Caesarstone Benchtop begins at a warehouse where thousands of slabs are stored after arriving by sea from the Caesarstone overseas manufacturing plant.

Your New Caesarstone Benchtop

From Factory To Installation

A store man uses a bar code scanning system to pinpoint the exact location of your slab in the warehouse, including the specific colour and batch number assigned to your order.

The slab is then loaded onto a truck using an overhead gantry crane and tightly secured onto an A frame for transportation to your chosen stone mason. A check measure is done to work out the exact dimensions of your kitchen, including the placement of sinks, cook tops and overheads.

The fabrication process begins by loading the uncut Caesarstone slab onto the production line using a vacuum lift system.

An overhead camera captures an image of the slab, which is used to plan out the position of the pieces needed to make the bench top. The slab is then fed into a bridge saw, ready for cutting.

After the main pieces are cut, a vacuum list on the cutting head is used to move large pieces before the saw begins to cut the mighty joints. A mighty apron allows you to create the appearance of a thicker edge profile without the added weight and cost of a solid slab.

A constant flow of water keeps the blade and stone cool during the cutting process, which is later recycled and reused. Once the cutting process is complete, the slabs are ejected from the machine and any off cuts are removed before a worker marks each matching side, ready for gluing.

Special clamps are positioned along the edges of the stone and colour match glue is applied to the joint before the pieces are designed and the clamps are tightened.

Once the glue has dried, the Caesarstone is flipped over and any excess glue is carefully removed with a razor blade and the joint is inspected. The Caesarstone then moves onto the next station, where the edge will be cut and polished to the desired profile, in this case, an Arris edge design.

A stonemason carries out this part of the process by hand over several stages using a wedge edge polisher. Computer software is used to program the CNC contouring machine to make the necessary cutouts for the sink top and cook top.

A plumb bob indicates where suction cups should be placed. Then vacuum lines are connected and the stone is lowered into place. The machine selects the appropriate tool and starts by making several shallow plug holes over the perimeter of the cutout, which will later be used to attach the undermount sink.

Two holes are then cut into the stone, one for the tap and another parlored hole, which will be the starting point for the sink cutout. Since the edge of the stone will be visible with an undermount sink, several polishing stages are then required to create a smooth, highly polished finish which is then ready for installation.

Caesarstone Benchtop Installation

It takes couple of workers to lift the finished bench top into place, ready for the installation of the undermount sink.

The sink is thoroughly cleaned and a bead of silicone is applied to the outer edge before being carefully aligned onto the under side of the Caesarstone Benchtop. The sink is secure using fixings which are screwed in with driven plugs, glued into the holes created earlier on the CNC machine.

With the sink in place, the bench top is flipped over and any excess silicone is removed. At this point, a plumber can install the tap, then a bead of adhesive is applied to the top of the kitchen cupboards before the Caesarstone Benchtop is aligned into its final position.

Any small gaps are filled with colour match silicone and after a thorough clean the installation is complete.

UPDATE (October 2023)

Engineered stone, traditionally contains a high percentage of silica because it’s made up mostly of quartz. However, there have been concerns about the health impacts of respirable crystalline silica dust, especially for workers who cut, grind, or polish these surfaces, leading to the need for low-silica alternatives.

Manufacturers who aim to produce engineered stone with lower silica content can follow several strategies:

Alternative Fillers: Use alternative non-silica minerals or materials to replace a portion or all of the quartz filler. This can include materials like marble, metal flakes, recycled glass, etc. The goal is to maintain the desired properties (strength, durability, appearance) while reducing silica content.

Resin Content: By increasing the amount of resin in the mixture, the silica content, by definition, will decrease. However, there’s a limit to this approach, as too much resin can compromise the mechanical properties of the final product.

Enhanced Compaction: Techniques such as vibrocompression under vacuum can be employed to increase the density of the engineered stone, thereby allowing for a smaller amount of quartz to be used.

Silica-Coating: In some experimental setups, quartz particles are coated with non-silica materials. This reduces the amount of respirable silica that can become airborne during cutting or polishing, although the overall silica content of the material might remain the same.

Engineered Porosity: Introducing controlled porosity can reduce the overall amount of silica, but this can also affect the material’s mechanical and aesthetic properties.

Alternative Production Methods: Nano-cemented materials or geopolymers might be used to produce engineered stone-like surfaces with much lower silica content.

Safety During Manufacturing: While reducing the silica content in the stone is one approach, ensuring that workers are protected during manufacturing, cutting, and installation is equally crucial. This can include wet-working methods to reduce dust, proper ventilation, and appropriate personal protective equipment.

Manufacturers aiming to introduce low-silica engineered stones need to strike a balance between maintaining the aesthetic and functional qualities of their product, ensuring worker safety, and meeting any regulatory requirements.