Sintered Stone and Fabricating Needs
You may have heard about sintered stone. It is one of the newer materials and is becoming more and more popular in the stone fabrication world. If you haven't heard much about this "revolutionary" stone material and its benefits, keep reading. In this article, we will cover some of the basics about sintered stone and highlight what makes it such a promising option if you are looking for a new material for your design projects. Then, we will look what kinds of specific tools and supplies are needed to work with it.
You may have heard about sintered stone through Internet searches or word of mouth. Perhaps you saw an ad in a magazine or online somewhere. If so, you might be wondering what this attractive sounding material is and whether it is the one for your next project. Let's begin by taking a look at what sintered stone is.
What Is Sintered Stone?
Many people wonder what sintered stone is. This is perhaps because the term is not commonly used when referring to the products made in this manner. Sintered stone goes by brand names that use a process called "sintering". Since the term refers to a process and not a material, each maker of sintered stone uses variations in the minerals and materials to produce differing results. Hence, companies are actually producing unique materials and they give them brand names. We will talk about a few of the more popular ones later, but for now, just know that sintering is a process that produces the material being discussed. For now, let's talk about how it differs from traditional stone materials.
Sintered Stone Versus Natural Stone?
Sintered stone may go by many names, but these materials are different from natural stone in some very specific ways. On the other hand, some features make it similar to natural stone in specific ways.
One way that sintered stone is similar to natural stone is that it is composed of minerals and other raw materials that are found in nature. These materials are put through the sintering process mentioned above to produce slabs of the material. These slabs can be used to create all sorts of surfaces. But how are natural stone and sintered stone different?
It is true that these two materials are composed of the same materials. However, the resulting materials differ in their characteristics. Anyone that has had natural stone countertops is probably aware that natural stone has specific care and maintenance requirements that are determined by what kind of rock the surface in made of. One requirement that all natural stone has in common is that it is porous and needs sealed periodically using a stone sealer.
Even though, each natural stone will vary in how frequently it needs sealed, they all need sealing because of the porous nature of these surfaces. In contrast, sintered stone is not porous in fact it has no pores and needs no specific care products. Although, if you have something dried on the surface and need to remove it, you are free to use virtually any household cleaner and even chemicals on it. This is different from natural stone, which can be damaged by certain chemicals and substances.
Sintered Stone Versus Engineered Stone
You may be thinking to yourself, "Quartz is non-porous too, sintered stone sounds like quartz." That is true, sintered stone does have some similarities with engineered stone such as quartz. In fact, the lack of porosity actually makes sintered stone and quartz similar in the way they resist staining and need no sealing. Yet, sintered stone is not the same as quartz. Let's look at some differences.
We have already alluded to one big difference between sintered stone and quartz when we explained that sintered stone is composed of natural materials. Unlike sintered stone, quartz is the result of combining natural quartz material and resins to bind those materials into one solid slab. The fact that quartz contains resins affects the way it must be cared for.
When comparing how you care for sintered stone compared with quartz you find that quartz has requirements that sintered stone does not have. For example, because the sintering process mimics the natural process that forms some natural stone, it is practically heat proof. This is a claim that quartz cannot make. So even though sintered stone and quartz have some similarities, they are very different.
Brands of Sintered Stone
So what are some specific brands of this kind of material? Keep in mind that each brand uses variations in the ingredients and/or processes for making its sintered stone. The following though are some brands of material that are formed using sintering:
Each of these will vary to one degree or another, but they all use sintering and the materials are very similar. Hence, when it comes to working with these materials, the fabrication professional should be qualified to work with sintered stone.
Working With Sintered Stone
If you are a fabricator or are hiring a fabricator to install sintered stone for you, be sure the fabricator is familiar with fabricating sintered stone. It is a different material with different characteristics and it has specific requirements for fabrication and installation. Specific tooling and adhesives must be used when working this material. Let's look at a couple of examples.
One requirement for working with sintered stone is diamond tooling. Blades and core bits are just a couple of tool types that will need to be used. Since sintered stone is harder than other stone types, the tools you use will need to be designed for cutting materials with the properties that sintered stone has. For example, a fabricator familiar with sintered stone will know that a
core bit designed for sintered stone is required when working with Dekton.
It is not just special tools that are necessary when working with sintered stone. Higher quality adhesives may need to be used as well. To stick with the Dekton example, let's look at adhesives. There are a number of glues that will bond Dekton. However, only some of the glues available are approved for use by Cosentino (the company behind Dekton). And, of those, each one will differ in quality. Mastidek though, is designed specifically for use on Dekton and can be used wherever Dekton is installed. Knowing which glue is
the best adhesive for Dekton can mean the difference between an install and a successful install.
Adhesives for Lapitec
Another type of sintered stone you will find on the market is Lapitec. Similar to Dekton, Lapitec requires specific glue too. Bonding
adhesives designed for gluing Lapitec are colored specifically to match the slabs. Additionally, the bonding of the StrongBond glue for Lapitec is formulated for this sintered stone.
So there you have it, what sintered stone is and some basic reasons why it requires specific materials that natural stone & quartz fabricators may not already have. The material is unique and so it is reasonable to expect that specific tooling and glue would be needed for working with it.