Hi, I’d like to introduce myself – my name is Hannah and I’ve recently joined the design team at Creative Kitchen & Bath. I am a Seattle transplant (very green! I arrived here a few months ago from a very rural area of southwest Virginia) and I’m enjoying seeing the world from a different longitude and latitude. One of my favorite things about being in Seattle is the number of opportunities I find to see and learn about new products I can use as a designer.
Last week I attended a CEU class on Sintered Stone (also called “ultra-compact surfacing”). This is a product that has been on the American market for about 5 years and has recently been getting a lot of attention as a surface that can be used in new homes and remodels. Sintered stone is created through a kiln-fired process that heats (over 2000 F) and applies pressure (5900lbs/square inch) to a mineral blend until it binds together. In short, it’s synthesizing the process by which igneous rock is formed. Unlike quartz, which uses a small percentage of resin that may fade and yellow over time, sintered stone is color-fast. Not only is sintered stone UV-stable and chemical resistant, it has the best compressive strength of any comparable products currently on the market. Sintered stone also has no warping and essentially no thermal expansion, regardless of temperature and moisture changes. Not to mention it’s completely non-porous and will not stain. I’m sure you’re already thinking about the advantages of having a countertop made of sintered stone, but that’s not all it can do.
Originally developed for exterior building cladding, it’s uses have expanded and evolved. Countertops (indoor and outdoor use), interior cladding, flooring and fireplace surrounds are among some of the more common applications. The stone is manufactured in slabs of about 5-feet by 11-feet and in varying thicknesses and it has more tensile strength than many of the other counter-top materials on the market. The sintered stone especially lends itself to European and contemporary design because it allows designers to continue solid surfaces and straight lines, but it’s not limited to any style or design trend. Sintered stone manufacturers offer an array of textures and many colors to add interest to any space. What I love about the textured sintered stone is that any finish, from a high polish to a very “rough-cut-edge,” it still has the UV-stable and chemical resistant properties which allow it to be easily cleaned and maintained (no sealing needed!). Of course, you may not want a rough countertop, but what about a feature staircase? Or a pool deck, and even the pool interior itself.
The heat-resistance of sintered stone also opens some very cool possibilities for cook-tops, fire places and outdoor fire pits. It can also be produced with anti-microbial properties and becomes a food-safe surface. I won’t recommend using your expensive knives if you cut food on a sintered stone countertop, but you would be able to prepare your raw foods on the surface and put your hottest pots and pans directly onto the counter without worrying about the surface holding up to stains, heat, and scratches.
If you did find some
spots or marks after letting that red wine spill sit overnight, you could take
any degreaser, even rust remover, (you could use paint thinner if you so
desired but I’m not recommending that either!) and it would clean your spots
and leave the countertop undamaged! Although
you probably don’t have to worry about this in your home, one of the real
benefits of the product for exterior use is that paint (graffiti) can literally
be removed with mineral spirits and the sintered stone is no worse for wear.
Although it’s a relatively new product and solid colors are most common in sintered stones, several of the companies that manufacture the product (Lapitec, Dekton, and Sapienstone to name a few ) have begun producing slabs that have marbled and veined look. Depending on the manufacturer, this is either printed onto the slab or manufactured as a through-body design. The printed slabs have more variety of looks, but the through-body slabs will have the patterning show through edges and may look more “natural.” As the manufacturing process advances and the market expands, I’m sure sintered stone will begin to develop the same kind of visual variety we’re seeing in quartz today.
If I were to get into the design possibilities I could really get carried away… the rules to remember are sintered stone is manufactured, and therefore needs to be fabricated and installed like quartz, and even though the fabrication process is slightly different, basically any shape they can cut quartz into, they can also cut sintered stone. Keep an eye out for more sintered stone showing up on surfaces, in businesses, showrooms and maybe even your neighbor’s kitchen!
Thanks for reading and please let me know if you have any questions, and I hope this has sparked your creative mind! I’d also love your feedback since I’d like to continue posting as I come across new products and ideas that get me excited.
In : Products
Tags: sintered stone dekton lapitec sapienstone counter countertops ""ultra compact surfacing""