The Latest Revelation in Manufactured Stone
If you are looking for stone for your worktops, vanity tops, bathroom cladding, or something else entirely, you’d be forgiven for thinking that your only options are natural stone (granite, marble etc.) or quartz. But there is another option available to you which may be perfect for your project.
You may have seen displays and sample boxes for products such as Neolith, Dekton or Ceralsio and may have wondered what they are. All of these manufactures make what is called Sintered Stone and we are here to let you know all about it.
What is Sintered Stone?
Like Quartz, Sintered Stone is a manufactured product made from a base of natural stone. Depending on the manufactuer, Quartz has a base of 88%-95% natural quartz stone, mixed with pigments, polymers and resins which is what bonds the slab together.
Sintered Stone is different in that it is made entirely from natural materials which are formed into incredibly strong and durable slabs which have countless applications. This process is called sintering.
What is Sintering?
The sintering process uses extreme heat and pressure to bond a material together without melting it with the resulting product being much stronger than the individual parts. We see sintering process in industry and nature, and the easiest way to visualise how it works is to imagine taking a handful of snow and compacting it into a snowball.
When making slabs of Sintered Stone, the raw materials are compacted under a huge pressure of up to 400 bars (5800 PSI!). After that, they are baked at a temperature of 1,200ºC, creating a slab of incredibly strong and versatile stone.
What are the Properties of Sintered Stone?
Sintered Stone is full of incredible benefits which make it one of the best materials you can buy for worktops and other projects. If you’ve read our Granite vs Quartz guide, then you’ll know that Granite has a higher heat resistance than quartz but is porous so requires sealing, whereas Quartz has a high stain resistance but a lower heat resistance as the resin can scorch.
Sintered stone has the benefits of both Granite and Quartz without the negatives. Its main properties are:
What Thickness does Sintered Stone come in?
All of the Sintered Stone manufacturers supply their stone in 12mm thickness as standard. Some also provide 20mm thick slabs as well as thinner 6mm and 3mm slabs for flooring/ cladding.
If you are looking for a thicker worktop, we can build up the front of your worktops with a mitered edge to give the impression of a thick top.
What Colours can I get?
Because of the manufacturing process, most sintered stone colours are printed on the face of the slab as any deliberate pattern will not survive the sintering process. As a result, any patterned sintered stone is not full-bodied (pattern running through the thickness of the slab). Uniform designs are not affected by the sintering process and therefore do come full-bodied.
The benefit of printing however, is that you can create some incredible and unique designs you wouldn’t be able to replicate in a Quartz for example. If you want the design to run down the thickness of the slab, we can mitre the edges of your worktop and put a front to them.
What can Sintered Stone be used for?
- Vanity Tops
Note: Because of its properties, Sintered Stone isn’t affected by UV light and so can be used for exterior projects without any issues!
Sintered Stone and the Environment
As it is made entirely from natural materials, Sintered Stone has a lower environmental impact the quartz, as it contains no resin and is completely recyclable!
Neolith for example actually includes up to 52% recycled materials in all of their slabs.
Why isn’t Sintered Stone everywhere?
For such a wonder-product, you’d think that it would be the material of choice for almost everyone today, but it is only in recent years that it has started to become a mainstream product.
Because of the type of product it is, Sintered Stone can be complex to fabricate and many stone fabricators don’t have the tools and machinery to do so currently. Steve Bristow Stone Masonry is the premier supplier and fabricator of Sintered Stone in the South West and we can fabricate without issue.
In the next year, we predict that Sintered Stone will become one of our best-selling products. It is already incredibly popular elsewhere in the country and we have already seen an increase in demand, so why not come and see what all of the fuss is about!
Can I Afford it?
Reading through this guide, you may think that Sintered Stone must be incredibly expensive for such a good product, however that is not the case. Most Sintered Stone products start at a similar price to a mid-priced quartz so should suit for most budgets.