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Quartz vs Sintered Stone

When it comes to construction and architecture, many materials are selected. Many of them are natural materials and some are man made. Two of the man made options are quartz and sintered stone. These materials are similar in some ways and different in others. In this article, we will consider some of these differences and similarities in a quartz vs. sintered stone type manner. As we do, we will look at working with these materials and how to care for each.

What is Quartz?

Engineered quartz is a surface material produced by manufacturers consisting of three main ingredients. These include 1) a polymeric resin binder, 2) crushed natural quartz, and 3) coloring pigment. These material are combined and formed into a sheet (or slab) and then fashioned into a surface for installation.

What is Sintered Stone?

Let's begin by looking at the term sintering. Wikipedia.org says the following about what sintering is:

Sintering or frittage is the process of compacting and forming a solid mass of material by heat or pressure without melting it to the point of liquefaction.

Sintered stone is a man made material that is produced through this process called "sintering". The sintering process is the same process that transforms one kind of rock into another in nature. However, sintering takes place in a controlled environment. The result of the sintering process is a material that is as hard as the hardest stone (actually harder).

Similarities

So how are quartz and sintered stone surface similar? There are a few ways we could go about making the comparison between these materials. But we'll start by looking at a notable property that translated into other similarities between these surface materials.

Quartz and Sintered Stone Are Non-porous

Porosity is a trait that is extremely common in some materials. But both quartz and sintered stone are non-porous. This similarity make these materials alike in several ways. Let's look at a couple.

The first way non-porosity makes quartz and sintered stone alike is that neither of these materials requires sealer to be applied. Nearly all natural stone surfaces require sealer to reduce the absorbancy. Quartz and sintered stone are free of this requirement since they do not absorb liquids in the first place.

Another commonality stemming from the non-porosity of sintered stone and quartz surfaces is that these materials are stain resistant. If liquids do not get absorbed by the material, they cannot stain the material. In the case of both of these surface types, liquids stay on the surface where they can be easily wiped up.

Sintered Stone and Quartz Share Hardness

Another trait that both quartz and sintered stone share is that each is a hard material. Comparing them using the Mohs scale of mineral hardness you can see the similarity. Each of these materials comes in at or above a 7 on this hardness scale. That is as hard as or harder than natural granite. And just for reference, diamond is the hardest at 10 on the Mohs scale. SO what does translate to in similarities?

Scratch Resistance

The hardness of a material is directly related to its scratch resistance. In fact, The Mohs scale is actually a measure of materials' scratch resistance. Each material is measured by scratching the surface. THus, the harder the material, the more difficult it is to scratch.

The hardness of sintered stone and quartz mean that each of these materials require specific diamond tooling to cut them. In the case of sintered stone, you will want tools like bridge saw blades for sintered stone. Likewise, quartz bridge saw blades would be the choice for a quartz slab. The idea here is this: there are blades designed for cutting certain types of stone. We won't go into details here, but just know that hard materials mean choosing a blade designed for that material's hardness.

Differences

Even though quartz and sintered stone share some characteristics, they are different materials. This means that there will be areas where they diverge. Let's now consider a couple of differences between these materials.

Quartz and Sintered Stone Cleaning

The first significant difference that we will consider regarding quartz and sintered stone is the cleaning requirements of each. We mentioned earlier that both of these materials are non-porous and that this made cleaning easy. However, there are occasions where liquid left on the surface can actually become dried on stains. Here are some stain causing substances that could make there way onto a sintered stone or quartz surface:

  • Permanent Marker
  • Mineral Deposits
  • Lipstick
  • Rubber Marks
  • Tar
  • Candle Wax
  • Rust
  • Ink
  • Grease
  • Cement
  • Nail Polish
  • Nicotine
  • Metal Marks

Cleaning quartz is a bit more sensitive than cleaning sintered stone. Quartz withstands nearly all acidic liquids very well. Yet, when it comes to alkaline substances, it does not. On the other hand, sintered stone can be cleaned with just about any cleaner. There are some substances that will damage sintered stone though, so be sure you follow the instructions provided by the manufacturers of both the material and the cleaner.

Heat Resistance

Another area where engineered quartz and sitnered stone differ from one another is heat resistance. Quartz surfaces withstand heat well. Yet the manufacturers of this material will nearly always include in the care information the directive to always use hot pads and/or trivets when dealing with pots and pans. This is the recommendation because heat can discolor quartz surfaces. Even when fabricators are processing the material they may use polishing pads designed for engineered quartz.

Sintered stone is more resistant to heat than its counterpart with which we are comparing it. As we previously mentioned, sintered stone is formed under tremenedous pressure and heat. It begins its life by coming out of temperatures much hotter than those in a normal kitchen. In fact, it is not uncommon for a manufacturer of sintered stone to encourage consumers to place their pots and pans right on the surface of the material straight from the stove. One company evens says no trivets or hot plates are needed.

As we have seen in this article, quartz vs sintered stone comparisons really highlight the similarities between these materials. Yet they do have differences that distinguish them from one another. Each has its benefits and drawbacks though. Price, ease of installation, and color availability are factors that may be considered in addition to those in this article. But knowing how the materials are similar and different fundamentally, is a good place to begin.