What is Cultured Marble?
Cultured marble belongs to the family of cast polymers. Cast polymers are a mixture of an unsaturated polyester resin, highly filled with inorganic particulates and pigments. Fillers used are engineered calcium carbonates (for cultured marble) and, where specified, blended with aluminum tri-hydrate (for flame retardancy and smoke suppression). How is cultured marble made? Cultured marble is a precise blend of polyester resin, catalyst, fillers and pigments, thoroughly mixed and placed into open molds which are coated with a gelcoat. The gelcoat is especially formulated so to as produce a tough, durable, non-porous and shiny surface, very resistant to chipping and scratching and easy to maintain. The shape of the products depends on the molds used. The colors and veinings of the finished product depend on the specific formulation and the techniques of the manufacturer and its casting technicians. As such, each manufacturer produces his own specific colors and finish. When an initiator is added to the resin, a chemical reaction occurs causing the resin to polymerize and harden, bonding the matrix together in a hard strong mass. After some time of chemical curing, the products are removed from the mold, trimmed, polished and inspected before going out to be shipped and installed. What are the advantages of cultured marble products? Cultured marble products are generally coated in the mold with a clear or colored gelcoat. This outer layer provides the ultimate strength to the bonded matrix. It also makes the final product water proof, durable and resistant to chipping. Depending on the finishing process used, the gelcoat also provides the shiny surface that adds so much luster to the final product. Because the final objects are cast in mold, the installed product has minimal seams and when installed properly, using mildew resistant 100% silicone, it becomes virtually leak proof. In residential construction, vanity tops traditionally have the bowl cast as an integral part of the vanity deck; recently, the market has been shifting towards separate ceramic bowls installed below the surface of the countertop. Cultured marble shower panels and tub surrounds are solid sheets that are made to fit the area they are covering and are typically only seamed where panels meet in the corners. For instance, the back wall or soap dish wall in a tub surround will be one piece while the 2 side panels (one for the plumbing wall, one for the wall opposite the plumbing) will be solid sheets as well. The panels are typically trimmed on the job site, installed using commonly available adhesives and sealed in the corners using high quality 100% silicone. Current styling in tub and shower surrounds includes your choice of tile patterns, a major styling change that further improves the look of cultured marble shower panels in your home or hotel project. Cultured marble products are very versatile and find applications in residential construction, multi-family housing, hotel and motel bathrooms as well as commercial dwellings. Over the past 10 years, raw materials and manufacturing techniques have improved dramatically which will allow you to enjoy your cultured marble products in their original luster for many years to come. What products are made of cultured marble? Typical products presented in cultured marble are bathtubs, with and without a whirlpool system, standard and custom shower bases and shower pans, vanity tops, wall panels for shower surrounds and tub walls, etc. Discover more on our: http://www.intlmarbleindustries.com/