Sintered stone differs from the other two artificial stone types not only in composition but also in the peculiarities of production. Sintered countertops look very modern, give an impression of lightness and elegance, but surpass natural stone worktops in strength and durability. According to designers, this 100% natural material is the latest high-tech fad.
Have you ever thought what sintered stone slabs undergo before they become countertops or wall panels? Just imagine the mixture of crushed stone, sand and clay particles, all ground to the finest powder and pressed by the weight of two Eiffel Towers. Compressed slabs then are baked in a special oven at a temperature of more than 1,200 degrees. Using such technology, stone particles naturally fuse with each other just like it happens naturally deep under the earth's surface, and the final material acquires exceptional physical and mechanical properties. In the last stage of production, a high-quality print is applied on top of the slab.
Usually the print is visible only on the surface of the slab. The colour of the edges and of the cut is uniform, just like in ceramic tiles. Since the pattern does not continue through the entire volume like in natural stones, some manufacturers have been constantly developing experiment slabs with the surface texture visible across all its thickness. Manufacturers do not disclose their technologies. The appearance and the properties of different brands are different. Some sintered stone brands and series are more resistant to shocks, others are more fragile. It mainly depends on the rock mixture used in production, slab baking temperature and pressure applied. Some slabs have exceptional patterns and textures. There are no limits to perfection, and improvements are being done constantly in various directions. Generally, the more advanced the slab surface pattern, texture and other slab qualities, the more expensive it is.
Sintered stone is an extremely hard material, resistant to scratching and to extreme heat. To properly reveal its durability, resistance and hardness it has to be placed on a solid base (after installing furniture pieces, laying floors or making walls). If the base is unstable or slightly flexible, solid surface slabs can crack due to applied pressure or bending. Remember that the standard plate thickness is 12 mm. This material can be even thinner - just 3 mm, 4 mm or 6 mm. Thin panels are used for furniture facades, as fireplace decoration walls, as interior and exterior wall cladding. You hardly succeed burning high-quality sintered stone surface, even if you try to do it on purpose. Neither you will scratch it, even with a hard sharp knife. Some brands are totally resistant to paint, so that graffiti drawings can be easily wiped off. For this reason sintered stone is used for school facades and walls.
The sintered stone downsides apply more for fabricators than for final users. Most slabs of sintered stone require special saws, special tools and special skills to work them. When cutting a sintered stone slab with conventional stone saws, it can crack and crumble due to its hardness and rigidity. Unexpected things can also happen when slabs or final products are transported carelessly - they may crack or break if shaken. This material needs a solid and uniform base to reveal its true hardness and good properties. Sintered stone floor can only be laid on leveled concrete. This is all the more important when putting heavy furniture on top of the slab. Just keep in mind that it is 3 meter-long!
Neolith, Dekton, Lapitec