Sintered stone, sometimes called engineered granite, differs from other types of artificial stone not only in its composition, but also in production process and characteristics. Because sintered stone slabs can be very thin, the items produced from them have modern and lightweight appearance. Sintered stone hardness and durability is superior to that of natural stone, it surpasses even granite and quartzite. This 100% natural material is the latest high-tech fad. It couldn't be a greener choice! Sintered stone doesn't need to be sealed, waxed or coated with any kind of varnish.
It is hard to imagine what the raw mixture of rocks used to make sintered stone undergoes before it becomes a slab from which your worktop can be fabricated. Crushed stone dust, sand and clay withstands terrifying pressure: just imagine it pressed by the weight of two Eiffel Towers. The compressed slabs are literally baked in a special oven at a temperature of 1 200 degrees Celsius or even hotter. This technology naturally melts and fuses the minerals together, giving the new material exceptional physical and mechanical properties.
Sintered stone is very hard and 100% natural material, resistant to scratching and extreme heat. Thin sintered stone slabs can be used to make furniture facades, fireplace surrounds, indoor and outdoor wall cladding. This material is special - you won't be able to damage a quality sintered stone surface by burning or scratching it with a knife. Some sintered stone brands are paint-resistant, which means that graffiti can be easily wiped from them leaving no trace. Because of this feature, sintered panels are sometimes used to clad school facades.
It is important to have in mind that sintered stone reveals its durability and shock-resistance when it is glued onto a hard solid base (e.g. after the piece of furniture on which it will be laid has been installed, or after concrete floor has been leveled). However, if the bed is not stable or even-leveled, thin sintered slabs may crack under pressure, bending or shock-impact. The standard thickness of a sintered stone slab is 12 mm. The thinnest sintered panels can be as thin as 3 mm, 4 mm or 6 mm. This amazing material neither requires special maintenance nor sealing. It is non-porous and can hardly be stained.
Most of the time, patterns and textures of sintered stone slabs are only visible on the surface. When the material is cut, the colour of the cut is smooth, which means that the veins or dots seen on the surface do not have volume as the veins and dots of natural stones. However, manufacturers are constantly improving their technologies and keep releasing some sintered stone collections whose patterns run through entire slab thickness. There are few such brands so far, and not all their slabs are full-bodied. Full volume sintered stone slabs tend to be more expensive. Manufacturers do not disclose their secret technologies, so different brand slabs may have varying properties.
Working sintered stone requires special diamond saws, special tools and special skills. Slab hardness and its lack of flexibility can cause it to crack and chip at the edges when cut with ordinary stone cutting saws. Cracks can also occur if the final products are transported carelessly, therefore it is important to attach them firmly to special support in order to eliminate shock when the car is shaken. As explained, this material needs a firm and rigid base before it can reveal its hardness and good properties. Sintered stone flooring can only be laid on levelled concrete, and this should be all the more important if heavy furniture is to be placed upon it. Just think - most sintered stone slabs are 3 m long and 1,5 m wide!
Sintered stone is 100% natural and hygienic product. It is manufactured using recent technological advancements which mimic the processes that form natural stone deep beneath the earth's surface. Raw materials - minerals and stone particles like the ones found in porcelain or granite - are carefully selected, and then subjected to extreme heat and pressure (approximately 400 bars).
In a second phase, the slabs are baked in a special oven at a temperature of more than 1 200ºC. When the process is finished, the particles are bonded together permanently, without the need for resins or binding agents. In the last stage, a very high quality print is added to the surface. The result of this process is the material of exceptional hardness and other great qualities.
Different manufacturers use different technologies and different recipes for making sintered stone, which they tend to keep secret. Therefore the final sintered stone product qualities can differ depending on the brand. The colour pattern of the slabs is generally visible only on the surface, the sides and the cut remaining evenly coloured (the pattern does not go through the entire slab depth like in natural stones). Some manufacturers also produce slabs with textures and patterns that run through their whole thickness.
The properties of sintered stone slabs produced by different manufacturers vary due to the different raw materials used in the process and other factors. A slab baked from crushed quartz dust at extreme temperature and pressure will be harder, stronger and more resistant than a slab produced from lime or clay particles at lower temperatures and pressures. Some manufacturers' slabs are more resistant to impact, others are less fragile, others have distinctive patterns and textures. Neolith, Lapitec, Dekton sintered stone is particularly strong and scratch resistant.
Patios and outdoor flooring
Exterior wall cladding
Swimming pool tiling
SPA and wet rooms
Sintered stone surfaces are non-porous and hygienic, no liquids can penetrate them. Grease and dirt can be easily removed from such countertops with dishwashing detergent or kitchen surface cleaner. Soap and water is good for quick cleaning, but continuous use of soap can cause soap residue on the surface. Spills and dirt from sintered countertops are best cleaned up simply with hot water. Stronger cleaners can also be used to remove stubborn stains. A more thorough scrubbing with a worktop cleaner is usually sufficient. Sintered surfaces are very resistant to external impacts.
Sintered stone is manufactured from similar raw materials as ceramics and porcelain, but there are two key differences: the additional components and the pressure applied. Sintered stone also contains the raw materials used to manufacture quartz and glass, which makes sintered surfaces stronger and more durable than porcelain. In addition, extreme pressure and temperature is used to compress and fuse the components together. The conditions in which sintered stone is manufactured resembles those deep inside the earth needed for rocks to be formed naturally. Today's high technologies simulate these processes and speed up the process. While it takes millions of years for the rock to form in the ground, modern technology reduces the time to one or two days.