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Sintered Stone vs Porcelain

Two materials that are commonly used for surface coverings are sintered stone and porcelain. People sometimes get the two materials confused and mistake one for the other. Yet, although these surface materials are used for the same applications, they are different materials. In this comparative article called sintered stone vs porcelain, we are going to talk a little bit about both materials. We will explain what makes them similar and how they are different from one another. As we talk about the properties of them, we will mention why it is important to be familiar with each surface.

What is Sintering?

Perhaps the best place to begin a discussion of comparing sintered stone with porcelain is to talk about a process called sintering. The term sintering describes a process whereby powdered raw material is exposed to various forces. During the process the material is transformed into a completely different material. The sintering page on Wikipedia defines sintering as:

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

Now it might be obvious that this process is related to one of the materials under consideration. After all, it is right there in the name sintered stone. But what about the other one? Well, notice what that same page says about the process:

Sintering happens as part of a manufacturing process used with metals, ceramics, plastics, and other materials.

Note that manufacturing ceramics is mentioned in that quote. Additionally, porcelain is a ceramic material. So, this process called sintering then, is a process through which each of these materials are produced. Let's take a look at each of these materials now.

Porcelain is a Sintered Material

Since sintering can make use of various (or even multiple) forces, it actually can be accomplished a number of ways; depending on what material is being sintered. Porcelain though, is produced using a sintering process on various raw materials. Different proprietary recipes when its particular brand of porcelain is produced. The result though, is a very hard material that has desirable properties which appeal to consumers wanting low maintenance, long-lasting surfaces in a project.

Sintered Stone Material

As we mentioned previously, sintered stone also comes about by means of a form of the sintering process. However, the exact methods and ingredients used to manufacture sintered stone are different from those used to make porcelain. Remember, sintering is done in many ways, not just one. But, sintered stone too is a hard, durable, and appealing surface. There are some differences between these materials. Yet, there are also a number of similarities as we will see.

Comparing Sintered Stone and Porcelain Surfaces

As we have already stated, these materials are similar, yet they are different materials. In this portion of the article, we are going to look at various aspects of hard surfaces and compare the two materials' traits. We will consider some similarities and then some differences. We will also talk about some other pertinent information that might be of interest.

Similarities Between Sintered Stone & Porcelain

When comparing two things it is practical to highlight how the things being considered are similar and how they are different. That is what we will do here. First, we will discuss some of the ways that sintered stone is similar to porcelain. Then, we will talk about some differences between the two.

The Hardness of Sintered Stone & Porcelain

The first aspect we are going to prepare is the hardness of sintered stone vs porcelain. This trait is an important part of the materials' durability. The harder a material is, the more difficult it is to scratch. And that translates into better wear and tear. So how do each of these materials rate as to hardness on the Mohs scale?

Sintered stone comes in at a rating of 7 to 8 on the Mohs scale. This is at the upper end, and it is very resistant to scratching. Similarly, porcelain resides at around the 7 mark, and it too is very hard and scratch resistant. The harder a material is though, the more important it is for it to be worked using the proper tools. Because these materials are so hard, be sure to be familiar with the fabrication instructions before working it. Using tools like coring bits for porcelain surfaces and ceramic diamond blades make sense for either material. However, there are blades sold as Dekton blades

Similar Porosity

Okay, so the subheading is a bit misleading. The reason? Because neither of the materials we are considering are porous at all. Porcelain and sintered stone surfaces are non-porous. As a result they have no porosity. If something gets spilled on a sintered stone surface, you simply wipe it up and clean it with warm, soapy water. The same is true for porcelain. These materials do no absorb liquid, so spills stay on the surface. The non-porous nature of sintered stone and porcelain mean that sealer is not necessary. Additionally, these materials are resilient, so if you prefer to use a quality stone cleaner, you can.

Sintered Stone & Porcelain Differences

If two materials have only similarities, they are practically the same thing and therefore the point of comparing them is moot. So, here, we will distinguish sintered stone from porcelain by looking at some differences between them.

Sintered Stone Thickness Options Compared to Porcelain

One of the differences between the materials under consideration is that there are more thickness options available in sintered stone. Porcelain tiles range in thickness from 6mm to 12mm. These thicknesses are appropriate for a number of common applications. However, sintered stone panels are available in thicker sizes. The thicker the tile or panel, the more resistant to breaking it normally is. One sintered stone manufacturer makes a 30mm thick panel.

Differences in Patterns

There are a couple of facets to the differences between sintered stone and porcelain as far as patterns go. The color variations and the overall patterns are a key element in choosing a surface material. Porcelain surfaces are available in a plethora patterns. While sintered stone is not available in as many patterns as porcelain, there are quite a few.

The other aspect to the comparison of patterns regarding sintered stone and porcelain is that porcelain patterns are printed on the surface pf the material. This means that the edges of a cut slab of porcelain will show a contrast since the pattern does not go all the way through the material. On the other hand, sintered stone manufacturers tout the "through-body" nature of their patterns.

In this article, we have considered some of the basic similarities and differences between sintered stone and porcelain surfaces. We did not delve into too many details, but we did consider some notable ones. Simply put, these materials may have similar appearances and properties, yet they are still different materials.

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