What Is Sintered Stone? What to Know About the Popular Countertop Material

A primer on the manufactured countertop material that's soaring in popularity.

kitchen with sintered stone countertops

Courtesy of Lapitec

There’s a new trendy kitchen material on the block and it’s durable, environmentally friendly, and ready to put up with all your messes. Sintered stone is making waves as an alternative to quartz as it utilizes less silica during its manufacturing process. Silica is a toxic chemical compound that can result in harmful side effects for those exposed to it during the manufacturing process, therefore finding new ways to manufacture materials that don’t come with a risk of exposure is seeing increased attention—and rightly so.  “Adopting best practices and choosing silica-free or low-silica materials like sintered stone are very important right now,” says Jessica McNaughton, President of CaraGreen, a distributor of sustainable building materials. 

Sintered stone can be used for a variety of countertop needs from the kitchen to the bathroom vanity, while also working in places prone to extreme heat fluctuations like fireplace surrounds or areas outside the home where its UV-resistance can be put to the test. Here we’re uncovering everything you need to know about this durable material that is gaining traction in the manufactured countertop industry for its resiliency and environmentally-friendly approach. 

What Is Sintered Stone?

“Sintered stone is a popular building material used for countertops, flooring, walls, and more,” says Mallory Micetich, Home Expert at Angi. “This engineered stone is made by using extreme pressure and heat on a mix of minerals and other materials to create solid stone.” The material is designed to address limitations and concerns of quartz, providing a resilient, silica-free alternative without the use of chemical binders. The trick is the utilization of both heat and pressure. “Sintered stone is formed using a unique process which fuses minerals together into a uniform, compact matrix, using vibration, compression, and heat to create a full-bodied slab with unmatched performance characteristics,” Micetich explains.

Average Cost of Sintered Stone

As with most materials, the average cost will vary based on the vendor, thickness, and other factors, says McNaughton. She estimates $20-$50 per square foot for material or $75-$120 per square foot installed, but says it will be dependent on the complexity of the project. Micetich gives a slightly lower estimate of $60 to $100 per square foot, installed, but agrees it all comes down to design, quality, and installation difficulty.

Installation and Design Considerations 

If you’re considering a DIY sintered stone installation, take it from the pros and think again. “Sintered stone has a tendency to crack or break during installation, so it should always be left to a pro,” says Micetich. “Don’t attempt to install sintered stone yourself unless you have extensive experience working with engineered stone. McNaughton provides further insight saying sintered stone requires special blades for cutting, could require relief cuts, and will need special handling instructions per the manufacturer. Finding the right professional for the job is an essential part of the project.

Cleaning and Maintenance 

Sintered comes with a number of benefits, which is where you should file both cleaning and maintenance. Unlike other stone materials, sintered stone doesn’t have to be sealed. It is also easy to clean, requiring no special formulas or treatments. Simply wiping it down regularly with a soft cloth and soapy water will do the trick, says Micetich. 

bathroom countertop with sintered stone

Courtesy of Lapitec

Pros and Cons of Sintered Stone

As with any countertop material, sintered stone comes along with its own set of pros and cons. Determining the right material for your space will mean weighing both your aesthetic desires, lifestyle needs, price parameters, and other concerns. 

Pro: Unlike many natural materials, sintered stone is highly durable, standing up to heat, scratches, staining, thermal shock, and UV rays, says McNaughton. Needless to say, spills and other side effects found in hardworking areas like kitchens, baths, and laundry rooms won’t be an issue. “Sintered stone is also lightweight and recyclable, making it easy to dispose of later,” she says. 

Pro: According to McNaughton, because it involves low to no silica, sintered stone provides less health risks to those manufacturing and installing the material. This includes exposure both during fabrication and install. 

Con: The cost of sintered stone can be higher due to the fact that it’s a relatively new material.

Con: “The biggest disadvantage is that the installation process isn’t DIY-friendly and should always be done by a professional,” says Micetich. McNaughton agrees, saying chipping and cracking can result if the proper care isn’t taken during install. 

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