New on the scene, sintered stone is quickly becoming a hit with designers and homeowners alike. Brands such as Lapitec manufacture sintered stone products that are used for everything from kitchen worktops to pool tiling. Sintered stone is beautiful, practical and affordable. But what, exactly, is it?
How is sintered stone made?
Sintered stone is manufactured using recent technological advancements which mimic the processes which form natural stone. While natural stones like marble and granite are formed over thousands of years, Lapitec stone slabs take just a few hours. Minerals and stone particles like the ones found in porcelain or granite are carefully selected for quality, colour and texture. These particles are then subject to extreme heat and pressure – just like they would be deep in the earth’s crust where granite is formed. When the process is finished, the particles are bonded together permanently, without the need for resins or bonding agents.
What is sintered stone like?
To the untrained eye, sintered stone is almost impossible to distinguish from natural stone – unless it’s been made in some unlikely colour or pattern! Sintered stone is tough as rock and is also:
- Unaffected by heat or cold
- Very hard to chip, scratch or damage
- Easy to clean
- Food safe and hygienic
- Non-porous – doesn’t need sealing
What is sintered stone used for?
Different manufacturers target their products at different markets, but sintered stone can be used for almost anything natural stone can be. Lapitec, for example, is used for:
- Kitchen worktops
- Bathroom vanities
- Wall cladding
- Patios and outdoor flooring
- Exterior wall cladding
- Fireplace surrounds
- Swimming pool tiling
- Spas and wet rooms
The main limiting factor is the size of the slabs produced as if you want a particularly huge item, you may need to join multiple slabs together. Fortunately, the consistency between slabs of sintered stones, such as Lapitec, is much higher than between slabs of natural stone so matching is easy. The slabs as manufactured are large enough for very nearly all domestic uses and most commercial uses. As an example, Lapitec slabs are around 3×1.5m (10x5ft), which is the size of a typical single bedroom. Slabs are manufactured in different thicknesses for different uses.
Can I install sintered stone worktops myself?
As sintered stone is a tough stone, it is not recommended that you try to install this product yourself. Sintered stone needs to be cut very precisely using special tools and cannot be adjusted on site (you can’t plane a millimetre or two off if it doesn’t fit). Installation should also be undertaken by professionals as the finished stone pieces are heavy so its essential that the stone is properly supported. Any support materials (such as kitchen cabinets) should be checked by experienced stone worktop installers and floors should be professionally levelled to avoid the risk of cracking tiles or slabs when furniture is placed on top.