If you want to build or redo the worktops in your kitchen or bathroom, you may be wondering what type of surface material to use. People typically choose from materials like quartz, marble, or granite, but there’s one that you shouldn’t overlook and that is sintered stone worktops.
Sintered stone is an engineered stone material made from all natural materials including minerals derived from granite, glass, clay and natural pigments. As an advanced material, sintered stone has plenty of benefits, like being aesthetically stunning, highly durable, resistant to high temperatures, UV resistant and stain resistant. It’s also made completely out of natural materials, which appeals to people who value eco friendly materials and sustainability
Learning more about where sintered stone comes from and its benefits can help you decide whether this is the right material for you. This article covers those topics and more, helping you make an informed decision.
How Is Sintered Stone Made?
A unique property of sintered stone is that it contains no binders, like resin. Instead, the minerals are fused together with high amounts of pressure and heat. The process of using high heat and pressure to bond the natural materials together is called sintering.
Manufacturers start by carefully selecting minerals and stone particles that are the right texture, colour, and quality. Then, they mix these materials together and grind them into a powder. Manufacturers place this powder into a hydraulic press and compact it under 27,000 tonnes of pressure.
Finally, the material is baked at a temperature of 1,200ºC to 1,400ºC. This process is similar to what happens to stone, like quartz, in the Earth’s crust but it’s much quicker. After the sintered stone is baked in the kiln and cooled to room temperature, the stone particles and minerals are bonded together permanently.
What Is Sintered Stone Made Of?
Sintered stone is made entirely of natural minerals, unlike materials like quartz, which is quartz stone mixed with resins, polymers, and pigments. These natural minerals are typically sourced from waste products, such as crushed granite and marble, making it more sustainable than other materials.
Benefits of Sintered Stone
Here’s a quick summary of sintered stone’s main benefits:
- Highly durable
- Resistant to scratching and chipping thanks to the hard surface
- Resistant to UV rays and ideal for outdoor use
- Resistant to ice and freezing
- Resistant to high temperatures
- Stain resistant, waterproof and liquid-resistant
- Hygienic and safe material which does not release chemicals
- Non-porous and will not hold germs or bacteria within the surface
- Resistant to chemical cleaning agents
- Suitable for high-traffic areas
- Through-body material
- 100% natural
Durable and long-lasting
Another benefit of sintered stone is that it’s more durable and long-lasting than many natural stones. Natural stone is often prone to scratching and chipping, but sintered stone is strong and has a high level of resistance. It’s also resistant to being burned or stained. This means it rarely needs to be replaced, unlike natural stone.
As mentioned, sintered stone is heat-resistant. This means you can put any hot pot or pan down on the surface without fear. Materials like quartz can become damaged or yellowed by extreme heat, but sintered stone will remain unaffected. You won’t need to run around your kitchen with a hot pot looking for a trivet to put it down on anymore, giving you the freedom to use your worktop however you want.
Abundant colour and design options
There is a wide choice of stunning sintered stone colours, designs and brands to choose from. From eye-catching modern designs to subtle classics, there is a choice just right for every renovator. Popular brands like Dekton, Neolith and Lapitec lead the way and have a plethora of choices on offer.
There are even designs that mimic natural stone, like marble, if that suits your aesthetic. This is a more affordable way to enhance spaces, as using natural stone such as marble or granite can often cost a lot more.
You can use sintered stone in almost any home project, not just to enhance your bathroom or kitchen. It’s equally resistant to cold, heat, and UV, so it’s just as functional outdoors as it is inside. Being UV-resistant means it won’t lose integrity or fade from exposure to the sun, unlike some other popular materials.
When manufacturers create sintered stone, they ensure the design or pattern goes all the way through the slab. So, if the slab needs to be cut, you won’t be exposing an unpatterned interior. This creates a cohesive design, ensuring there’s no issue with the seaming and edge detail.
Sintered stone is non-porous, which makes it easy to clean. There is no need to use harsh chemicals or cleaners, you can clean it easily with just soap and water. This will save you time and money and protect you from the fumes that harsh chemicals and cleaners often give off. Not having to expose the environment to these chemicals is another reason sintered stone is more sustainable.
One of the great benefits of sintered stone is that it’s a more environmentally friendly choice since it’s made from natural materials. It can also be reused again after its life, recycled or returned back to the earth.
What Is Sintered Stone Used For?
Sintered stone can be used in place of any natural stone, so it’s typically used for countertops in the kitchen or bathroom. It also works well in places prone to fluctuations of extreme heat, such as around a fireplace. Here are the most common applications for using sintered stone:
- Kitchen worktops
- Bathroom vanities
- Laundry areas
- Interior and exterior wall cladding
- Dining tables and coffee tables
- Window sills
- Patios / porches / verandahs / balconies
- Outdoor areas
- Swimming pools
Sintered Stone vs. Quartz
Quartz is one of the most popular natural stones, so you may still be deciding between installing sintered stone or quartz. While quartz has many benefits, it’s important to consider the additional benefits of sintered stone. Here are some of the main similarities and differences to help you make the right decision:
Both sintered stone and quartz are durable, hard materials. They’re both a 7 to 8 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, while marble is only a 3 and concrete is a 5 to 7.
Another similarity these materials share is they’re both available in a wide variety of stunning colours, so you can truly create the dream look you are looking for.
Quartz and sintered stone are easy to maintain and take care of. Cleaning is easy for both surfaces, as you can simply use a small amount of soap mixed with water to keep them clean.
Finally, both sintered stone and quartz are non-porous. This means foreign liquids, like harsh cleaning chemicals and bacteria won’t absorb into the material. This also prevents stains and discolouration of the surface.
An important difference between sintered stone and quartz is what they’re made of. Sintered stone is made entirely of natural minerals, while quartz is typically only around 90% natural mineral quartz. The other 10% is pigments and resin binders.
Since quartz has resin, it can’t be exposed to extreme heat, while sintered stone can be. If you expose quartz to extreme heat, by placing a hot pot on the surface, for example, you can discolour it. Sintered stone is resistant to very high temperatures, so you don’t need to worry about it as much.
Sintered stone can be used for outdoor kitchen worktops or outdoor furniture without the risk of damage from the sun, whereas quartz is not recommended to be in direct sunlight. If you are planning to install a new outdoor kitchen, sintered stone is highly recommended.
Another difference that may impact your decision is quartz is typically cheaper than sintered stone. However, it may be cheaper to install initially, but it may need to be replaced if it becomes damaged by exposure to high amounts of heat. Since sintered stone is so resistant, it rarely needs to be replaced, so you can save money in the long run.
Sintered stone is also better for the environment, as it’s made from natural materials and does not contain resin. Synthetic resin, which is typically used to create quartz slabs, isn’t biodegradable, so it’s not as eco-friendly as sintered stone.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sintered Stone
Here are some frequently asked questions you may have about sintered stone:
Does sintered stone break easily?
Formed under intense pressure and heat, sintered stone is an extremely strong material that is not easily broken, scratched, chipped, damaged or corroded.
What colours of sintered stone can I choose from?
Since there are a wide array of colours available from leading brands, you can choose any colour that suits your space and ideal aesthetic. People typically choose neutral colours, like cream, white, or black. You can also choose different designs, like marbling, and textures.
What thickness does sintered stone come in?
The standard thickness for sintered stone is 12mm, though you can also purchase thicker 20mm and 30mm slabs. If you want to use the material as flooring, you can choose thinner, 3mm or 6mm slabs.
How much does sintered stone weigh?
Sintered stone is actually lightweight, as a thin, 3mm slab is only 7 kg/m2 and a thicker, 12 mm slab is 30 kg/m2.
As we have discussed in this article, there are so many benefits of choosing to use sintered stone. So, if you are ready to have your own installed in your residential home or commercial property, Paramount Stone Specialists are the experts here to help
Our experienced employees can help you decide every detail of your project, like the size, placement, and design of your sintered stone. We’ll be with you through every step, making the process easy and providing a finished result you will love.