When it comes to renovating your kitchen, choosing a worktop can be a difficult decision. The worktop is often the largest surface area in the kitchen, and has a major impact on the look and feel of the whole space.
As if we didn’t already have a myriad of options to choose from (including marble, granite, quartz, concrete, butcher block, laminate, tile, soapstone, stainless steel, and recycled glass) there now is another surface to add to the list: sintered stone.
Sintered stone surfaces are very versatile and can be used as work surfaces and mounted as cabinet fronts to provide a aesthetically beautiful kitchen.
Considered the next generation of kitchen work surface, sintered stone offers significant advantages over granite and quartz: these materials are non-porous, highly scratch resistant and come in a beautiful range of colours and finishes. There are several brands of sintered stone available, including the prominent brands Dekton, Lapitec® and Neolith® (see more on these at the end of this feature).
But what is sintered stone?
Sintering (also called “ultra-compact surfacing”) is the process of compacting and forming a solid mass of material by heat or pressure without melting it to the point of liquefaction. Sintering happens naturally in mineral deposits or as a manufacturing process used with metals, ceramics, plastics, and other materials.
Sintered stone is a new and innovative material category where the finest natural minerals are exposed to extremely high pressure (5900 PSI) and temperature (over 2700o C) in a furnace — giving the product outstanding physical and mechanical properties in terms of compaction, resistance and durability.
Unlike quartz, however, which uses a small percentage of resin that may fade and yellow over time, sintered stone is colour-fast. Not only is sintered stone UV-stable and chemical resistant, it has the most comprehensive 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 is completely non-porous and will not stain.
Sintered stone manufacturers offer an array of textures and a multitude colours to add interest to any space, and whatever the 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 (and no sealing required!).
The heat-resistance of sintered stone also allows it to be applied in some very cool possibilities for fire places and outdoor fire pits.
It can also be produced with anti-microbial properties and becomes a food-safe surface. In other words, 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 if the surface will hold up to stains, heat, and scratches.
Benefits of surfaces like stone and quartz without the drawbacks of porosity, staining, and other limitations of those materials
Very heat resistant; some products can integrate induction cooking features right into the material Tolerant to all temperature extremes making these surfaces good for outdoor kitchens Some products have “through-body” construction meaning their colour goes through the material Product sizes large enough to cover kitchen islands and large areas similar to natural stone slabs
Very durable surfaces; non-porous, highly resistant to physical damage like scratching and cracking
Requires skilled trades and proper equipment for fabrication. Availability of experienced installers familiar with these products may be limited
Cost is generally in the mid to high-end range for countertop surfacing; can be expensive depending on the specific product
A snapshot of Neolith® — 5 facts the manufacturer would like you to know:
Resistant to scratching
Resistant to scratching and abrasion due to the hardness of the surface.
Resistant to ice and freezing
Neolith® is not damaged by low temperatures
Resistant to UV Rays
Since the color is 100% natural, it does not deteriorate due to exposure to the sun or extreme temperatures
Resistant to bending
A high modulus of rupture. Resistant to high pressure and weight loads.
Waterproof and liquid-resistant. With an absorption level near zero.
Resistant to high temperatures
Does not burn in contact with fire or let off smoke or toxic substances
The 3 mm slab is only 7 kg/m² and the 12 mm slab, 30 kg/m².
Does not release harmful substances. Completely suitable for contact with food.
Suitable for High Traffic
Due to the hardness of the surface.
Up to 52% of any Neolith board is comprised of recycled raw materials.
Easy to clean
Resistant to chemical cleaning agents.
Resin-free. Does not release any harmful substance into the environment.
“Neolith is the next generation of worktops,” with many colour options to choose from, and a large slab size which can be cut to fit into any kitchen.
More Information on Neolith Technologies