Plumbing made of stone appeared on the market relatively recently, but is already in consumer demand. This is due not only to the luxurious and refined appearance of the products, but also to their increased strength, durability, and excellent performance characteristics.
It is worth noting that a bathtub made of natural stone is not a cheap pleasure, the cost of such products starts from 100 000 rubles.
However, artificial analogues are not inferior to natural ones. Modern cast marble constructions are as close as possible (textured and in color) to natural stone, and even surpass it in some technical characteristics. It is also important that bowls made of artificial stone are cheaper; they are easier to assemble and operate.
The basis of the product is marble chips obtained by grinding marble slabs. As a rule, for this, plates with defects or residues from the manufacture of other products are used. The resulting crumb, rather, is flour.
To fasten the composition, resins, plasticizers are used, if necessary, pigments to give the bath the desired shade. The resulting composition has a liquid consistency, its solidification is carried out in special forms. The result is a material similar in appearance to natural stone. At the same time, the strength of artificial stone is 2 times higher than the same indicator of natural marble.
To ensure the smoothness of the surface, a special composition is used, a kind of “lining” of the bath is obtained. Apply a protective composition to the walls of the mold for the bowl itself, which ensures the reliability of the coating.
Instead of marble chips, quartz sand can be used. It is cheaper, and therefore the cost of the product is lower than the price of a cast marble bath. However, in terms of strength and durability, quartz sand products are significantly inferior to marble ones.
Natural shades of molded marble chips are gray, black, greenish, beige. However, when adding coloring components to the mixture, you can give the bowl any shade.
The production of artificial stone bathtubs is carried out in several stages:
- Form preparation (formwork). Dimensional accuracy, perfect shape and uniformity of the wall thickness of the finished product depend on its quality. The manufacture or purchase of quality formwork is quite costly, which is one of the reasons for the high cost of cast marble bathtubs. Bath forms can be standard or custom made. At the preparation stage, a gelcoat polymer mixture is applied to the walls of the mold. It is designed to protect the surface of the bath, to make it smooth and shiny.
It is thanks to this composition that the pores of the material are closed, which means that the antibacterial properties of the product are ensured.
- Preparation of the injection mixture of marble (or other) chips and special resins. If necessary, give the bath a certain shade in the mixture pigments interfere. It is important that the coloring components are added during the mixing step of the mixture. Then the shade of the finished product will be uniform, without streaks, and will color the entire thickness of the bath. Even if a crack appears on the finished product, the defect will not differ in color from the main shade. In an effort to save money, some manufacturers paint the finished product, which causes uneven coloring, fragility of color. When chips appear, they will strongly stand out against the background of a colored coating.
- Marble mixture is poured into the prepared formwork. This is done with certain indicators of humidity and a temperature of 18-23 ° C. If this requirement is not observed, the risk of mold deformation is high. Formwork is installed on special vibration tables. The specified vibration range contributes to better shrinkage of the bulk material, solidification without the formation of air bubbles and voids.
- The next stage can be called the stage of crystallization or solidification of the material. It also requires the maintenance of certain climatic parameters and slight vibration.
- When the product hardens, the formwork is removed from it, then it is ground and polished. The finished bath should stand for some time to acquire the necessary strength indicators.
Advantages and disadvantages
Before buying, it is important to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of the product, get acquainted with customer reviews.
The cast marble bath has many indisputable advantages:
- High rates of strength. Subject to the production technology, the stone bath is characterized by increased strength and resistance to mechanical damage.
- Excellent abrasion, due to the mineral-polymer base of the product.
- Long service life (up to 45-50 years).
- The ability to dampen vibrations, making a stone bath ideal for installing hydromassage equipment in it. Unlike acrylic bathtubs, the walls of which vibrate from the effects of hydromassage, stone analogues remain motionless, which allows you to get the most out of the procedure.
- Good sound insulation performance. Unlike the same acrylic bathtubs, stone ones drown out the sound of pouring water, including falling from a great height. This allows you to get maximum comfort from using a rain shower system, for example.
- High thermal insulation properties.
Being a composite material, cast marble retains heat for a long time, which means that the water in the bath does not cool longer.
- Low level of thermal conductivity, due to which the surface of the bathtub is warm, pleasant to the touch.
- Antibacterial properties. Due to the absence of pores, the surface of the bath does not absorb pollution, mold, fungus and other pathogenic bacteria do not form on it. At the same time, the bath itself is not slippery at all, it is safe for use.
- Variety of shapes and sizes. It can be either a small compact bathtub or a spacious bowl, for example, for two. In addition to standard rectangular and square tanks, oval, round-shaped bowls are produced, as well as asymmetric models. Finally, there is the possibility of manufacturing the product to order.
- Radiation safety. Unlike a bathtub made of natural stone with a radiation background, the artificial analogue is completely safe.
- A large color palette, including the most incredible colors.
- Exquisite appearance. Such a bath, even in the simplest room, will bring an atmosphere of luxury, sophistication. She looks respectable, emphasizing the status and good taste of her owner.
- Maintainability. When small chips appear, they can be eliminated with your own hands, using a special repair kit. With more serious deformations, the help of a specialist will be required. In any case, repairs are made without dismantling the structure.
- Easy to install. The installation of such a bath is not much different from the installation of similar equipment. If necessary, for example, to increase the diameter of the drain hole, this can easily be done using a drill. You can not be afraid that the surface will crack or become covered with a network of cracks.
- Ease of care. The material does not require special maintenance. It is only important to wash the bath after each use and do not use it for cleaning products with abrasive components.
Cons of the material is a lot of weight and a high price. However, if we compare products made of natural stone, they are much heavier and 3-4 times more expensive than counterparts made of cast marble. At the same time, the latter are indistinguishable from bathtubs made of natural stone, they most accurately mimic the color and texture of a natural mineral.
Among the disadvantages of the products is the possibility of staining when dyes hit the surface. That is why it is so important to rinse the bath after each use and it is advisable to wipe it dry. In addition, with prolonged stagnation of water in the bowl, rust spots may form.
Finally, snow-white products can acquire a yellowish or grayish tint over time.
Shapes and Design
The shape of the product may depend on the method of installation of the bath.
In this regard, the bowl may be:
- wall (more ergonomic option);
Freestanding bathtubs become the main focus of the interior. As a rule, they are installed in the center of the room, and therefore the latter should have a large area. As a rule, the product has legs or is mounted on a special pedestal, which makes the interior even more luxurious. The installation of such a device is associated with the need for a difficult installation of communications and a drainage system, which should go unnoticed. In addition, such a bath requires more care for its internal and external walls.
Depending on the shape of the bowl, they are rectilinear (square, rectangular), and also have rounded corners (oval, square). For small rooms, angle models are usually chosen, which can take the form of a quarter circle.
Separately, it is worth highlighting asymmetric models, which are most often made to order. Undoubtedly, such a product looks stylish and original, allows for installation taking into account the particular layout of the room.
In addition to marble chips, other stone particles can be added to the casting composition, which ensures the uniqueness of the product design. Bowls are popular, as part of which there are semiprecious stones - malachite, jasper.
High quality products and the use of exclusively marble chips can boast the Latvian brand SPN . In addition, a large number of color models, natural stone products are being produced. The disadvantage is the use of plastic in the manufacture of end and side panels.
Russian companies are in no way inferior to their Latvian and even European counterparts in the quality of their products , but their products cost significantly less. The only minus of the bathtub made in Russia is that they cannot compete in sophistication and variety of design in comparison with the products of leading foreign manufacturers.
The rating of domestic brands is headed by Estet, whose products (including side and end panels) are made of stone. High strength, durability of products are noted by customers. The disadvantage is a small lineup. However, the most popular bowl shapes are present in the collections of the manufacturer. The greatest consumer demand is for the Estet Astra (oval) and Estet Gracia collections (asymmetric bowl 170x94 cm in size).
A characteristic feature of the Estet Lyon collection is the presence of a forged bathtub stand, which seems to be worn on a bowl.
Users also note the high quality and convenience of bath forms from the Russian manufacturer Aqua Stone . The service life of the products is 45 years, the manufacturer's warranty is 5 years. The most popular models are 170x70 and 180x80 cm in light shades. Connoisseurs of original solutions should pay attention to the brand’s collections: Bali, Malta, Florida, Scarlet . Bathtubs of this line are a real work of art. Unusual shapes, stylish color schemes, original decoration are inherent in them.
If you are looking for a bathtub that imitates a stone, but at a lower price, you can look at products based on quartz sand. Worthy manufacturers of such products are Marmite (Poland), Astra-Form (Russia) .
How to choose?
When choosing a bathtub made of artificial stone, remember that it cannot be cheap. Evaluate its surface - it should be smooth, without pores and cracks. Pay attention to the composition: baths have sufficient strength, the content of marble chips in which is at least 80%, 20% are resins. A slight deviation from the norm is allowed, not more than 2%.
Tap the surface of the bath, the sound should be deaf, the same everywhere. The surface should not have "burrs", seams. A quality bathtub, both natural and cast marble, has thick walls. In the injection molded product, the wall thickness is 10-12 mm, and the thickness of the protective layer is at least 1 mm.
When choosing a bath size, consider the growth of the tallest member of the family. Ideally, a person should fit completely in the bowl, resting the back of his head on one of its sides, legs should be straightened. A bathtub with a length of 170 cm is considered standard. The depth of the bath is usually 50-60 cm. The deeper ones are suitable for a jacuzzi (especially square and asymmetric bowls). If the house has elderly relatives or people with disabilities, it is recommended to choose a bowl whose height is less than 50 cm.
For small rooms, corner constructions are usually purchased. The average for them is the size of 150x150 cm. Products are quite capacious, but at the same time do not take away the useful area of the room.
If you get colored bowls, specify how they are painted. Preference should be given to products in which pigment interfered with the composition for casting. Defining them is easy - take a look at the cut at the drain.
Throughout the thickness of the slice, the tint is one.
If the bath includes side panels that cover the bath, do not purchase products with plastic panels. But marble porcelain tiles are a worthy option.
The cost of the bath depends on many factors. First of all, its composition, wall thickness, shape. Standard rectangular designs are cheaper than those that have an asymmetric shape. Products of domestic manufacturers have a lower cost compared to the prices of imported analogues. It is important that most Russian brands are not inferior to them in quality. The only difference is a less rich lineup and a poor color palette.
Modern models are equipped with armrests, special protrusions under the neck and spine. Their cost is higher, but their use is more comfortable.
Despite the strength of the material, the cast marble bathtub cracks when heavy objects fall from its height onto its surface.
In general, caring for her is quite simple and provides for the following recommendations:
- Do not use abrasives or hard brushes for cleaning. This leads to cracks on the surface. It is better to clean a stone bath with a special tool. It costs more than conventional cleaning products, but is much more effective for surfaces of this type.
- After taking a bath, rinse it with clean water and wipe dry.
- It is enough to wash the bath with cleaning agents 2-3 times a week.
- It is important that no water collects on the surface of the bowl, as this will cause stains. At risk are light-colored bathtubs, white marble products.
- For the same reason, the condition of the plumbing should be monitored, and at the slightest leak of a tap or shower, immediately eliminate them.
- If a small rust spot appears, you can try to remove it with hydrogen peroxide. If a colored spot appears, use a solvent. It must be applied briefly to the surface and washed off with water. It is forbidden to leave the solvent for a long time and rub the stain aggressively, as this will lead to the formation of cloudy stains and damage to the protective layer.
- If roughness or burnout occurs, polishing with professional compounds is required.
As a rule, this problem arises in bathtubs made of pressed material, since it is more porous.
- When installing a hydromassage device, all electric wires must be earthed, only in this way can the safety of the structure be guaranteed.
- When a small chip appears, it should be sealed as soon as possible using a repair kit.
Beautiful examples in the interior
Cast stone bathtub harmoniously fits into a simple classic interior or lush luxurious baroque style. The ideal option is a freestanding foot bath. The latter can be made in the form of plant ornaments or animal paws. The material should accurately imitate natural stone, the preferred colors are grayish, white, yellow.
If the decor you are attracted to simplicity and lightness, and the combination of marble and wood pleases the eye, design a room in the style of Provence. In this case, you can also choose a freestanding bath, but without a bright decor. Corner or oval models, as well as products built into the pedestal, will also be appropriate. The color scheme for such bowls is pale purple, olive, light blue, beige.
For decoration, use wooden surfaces, for example, ceiling beams, ceramic tiles. Provence style is home comfort and floral ornament, so use fluffy towels, jugs and even twigs of dried flowers.
For Moroccan or Indian colors, the best combination is mosaic and marble. It is better to use bright tiles or mosaics in the decoration of walls and floors, laying out characteristic oriental patterns from them. At the same time, the bowl is located in the center or, if the area of the room does not allow, is simply removed from the walls. The shape is oval, round or asymmetric. Gold or silver finishes are allowed.
For modern interiors, concise, simple in shape, freestanding or rectangular wall models are recommended. As for the color, it is either bright shades, or calm gray (with the transition to steel), black, white shades.
When choosing color models, it is important that they harmonize with the overall palette of the interior. Designers urge to use no more than 1-2 primary colors when decorating a room. The remaining shades should only complement them.
Black bathtub in black and white interior looks stylish and laconic. If you take water procedures in a dark bowl uncomfortably, you can leave its inner surface white, only the outer walls can be black.
If possible, it is necessary to choose a toilet bowl, a sink appropriate to the style of the injection bath.
For information on how to trim the sides of a cast marble bathtub, see the next video.