What Is Sintered Stone and How Does It Compare to Other Countertops?

Mizuki Hisaka
Written by Mizuki Hisaka
Updated May 12, 2022
Family at home making cookies together
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  • High pressure and heat turn minerals and materials into sintered stone during the sintering process. 

  • It’s durable, nonporous, and can withstand extreme temperatures.

  • You’ll find a wide variety of designs to suit your style preferences. 

  • Sintered stone is a durable option for countertops, walls, flooring, and more.

  • It costs between $60 to $100 per square foot installed.

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If you’re searching for a durable building material that’s scratchproof, nonporous, and eye-catching to boot, take a closer look at sintered stone. Sure, the idea of a luxe granite or marble kitchen countertop can be hard to ignore, but sintered stone is low-maintenance (no sealing required!) and will last longer. Better yet, it’s available in a variety of design options, many of which mimic the beauty of natural stone.

Sintered Stone Manufacturing Process

Imagine getting something done in mere hours that normally takes thousands of years. It sounds impossible, but that’s what happens during the manufacturing process for sintered stone, called sintering. 

Sintered stone manufacturers each have their own patented processes but generally follow the same basic steps for sintering. First, they prepare a mixture of minerals and materials, typically granite, quartz, feldspar, glass, silica, and natural oxides. Then, they put that mixture under immense pressure and heat it to extremely high temperatures. Unlike other engineered stones, sintered stone contains no adhesives, resin, or other bonding agents. 

The pressure used to make sintered stone ranges between 370 to 25,000 tons. For perspective, 25,000 tons is equal to about two-and-a-half Eiffel Towers. After that, special ovens heat the slabs to temperatures reaching or exceeding 2,190 degrees Fahrenheit, which is comparable to the hottest lava.

Sintered Stone Options

Modern fireplace surround made with marble stone
Photo: KatarzynaBialasiewicz / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

If you have a specific vision for your home project, you can likely achieve it with sintered stone because manufacturers can print any design onto the slabs. You have many options to choose from:  

  • Colors: natural hues including white, beige, black, dark blue, and light pink

  • Designs: can mimic wood, marble, granite, and much more

  • Textures: high-gloss, matte, velvety soft, brushed, sandblasted, and more

Pros of Sintered Stone

Sintered stone checks the boxes for all kinds of indoor and outdoor home projects thanks to these features:

  • Waterproof

  • Weatherproof—not impacted by heat, UV rays, ice, or freezing temperatures

  • Stain-proof

  • Scratch-resistant—scores a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale 

  • Easy to clean—won’t react to chemicals

  • Nonporous—keeps bacteria out and you won’t need to seal it, ever

  • Lightweight—1 1/10–1 1/2 pounds per square foot

  • Stands up to heavy wear and tear, including foot traffic

  • Recyclable

How Much Does Sintered Stone Cost?

Sintered stone costs around $60 to $100 per square foot, including installation. The price depends on the stone's quality, design, and installation difficulty. 

Sintered Stone Comparisons

Although there are many differences between natural and engineered stone, sintered stone is also uniquely different from other engineered materials. Here’s how it compares to the competition.

Sintered Stone vs. Granite

There are several options for natural stone countertops, and granite is often at the top of everyone’s list. Like sintered stone, granite is a strong material that’s hard to scratch and can handle high heat. Unlike sintered stone, granite requires pH-neutral stone cleaner and resealing every two to three years. Granite countertops cost $80 to $130 per square foot installed, so expect to pay more for this option than for sintered stone. 

Sintered Stone vs. Marble

Marble is another natural stone that people love for its elegant appearance. However, it can dissolve when exposed to highly acidic foods like lemon juice and vinegar. It can also scratch and stain easily. For these reasons, sintered stone can be a better choice for kitchen countertops if you’re looking for something easier to maintain and more hygienic.

You can expect a marble countertop to cost $40 to $100 per square foot installed.

Sintered Stone vs. Quartz

Sintered stone and quartz are both engineered materials, but the similarities stop there.  Manufacturers make quartz from a mixture of minerals and a binder, typically resin, and designs run through the body of the material, so they’re visible from the sides. Manufacturers print sintered stone designs on top of the material, which leaves the sides plain. While quartz is harder than granite and nonporous, sintered stone is even more durable and resists stains better. 

The cost of quartz countertops can surpass sintered stone, with the typical range being $50 to $200 per square foot installed.

Installing Sintered Stone

Installing sintered stone, especially sintered stone countertops, is not usually a DIY job because improper handling can damage or crack the material. Unless you have extensive experience working with sintered stone or other engineered stone, you’re better off hiring a countertop installer. A pro will cut slabs off-site with special tools, which leaves no room for error on the job site—and no stress for you.

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