Comparing Sintered Stone & Natural Marble
Designers and architects alike realize the value of selecting the proper hard surfaces for a given project. There are a number of materials from which to choose when it comes to countertops in kitchens and bathrooms. In this article we will make a comparison between the natural stone called marble and product that is commonly referred to as sintered stone. Along the way we will look at the characteristics of each and explore how these materials are similar and different.
Properties & Benefits of Natural Marble
Marble is a material that is desirable for very specific uses. The elegant look of this natural stone has made it a much sought after stone for many projects. One of the most common places marble can be found is sculptures. Another use for marble is ornamental decorative elements. Why is marble so desirable for decor? Consider a couple of reasons.
One of the reasons marble is so desirable is that it is very shiny if it is polished. Another appealing visual trait is is marble's veining (although the purest marble is virtually all white). These visual characteristics make marble a one of the 'elite' stones used in architecture.
Composition of Marble
Natural marble is a metamorphic rock that once used to be limestone. As such, it like limestone is composed of calcite (or calcium carbonate). The hardness of marble registers as a 3 on the mohs scale of hardness; making it a somewhat 'soft' stone. As mentioned above the 'purest' marble is white but marble can come in a variety of colors.
Working With & Cutting Natural Marble
Since marble is a rather soft stone, it can be misleading when it comes to choosing proper
marble diamond bridge saw blades to cut it. Even though the stone is not among the hardest it can still be problematic if the blade used is not constructed with the proper design. Blades can get 'clogged' if they aren't designed to cut soft materials like marble.
Properties of Sintered Stone (Ultracompact Surfaces)
Sintered stone and its close relative, Ultracompact surface have properties that are somewhat different from those of marble. For example, sintered stone is extremely hard and cutting it takes diamond blades designed for the task. For example
Dekton bridge saw blades are engineered to cut Utracompact surfaces very well and at an amazing speed with clean cuts. Likewise, porcelain blades are the best for ceramic sintered materials and quartz blades are made to cut quartz properly.
The hardness of sintered stone makes it difficult to scratch and its non-porous surface means it is stain resistant. These characteristics make it much different from marble. So how do the two materials compare? Let's see.
Sintered Stone Compared With Marble
One comparison that could be made between marble and sintered stone is that the stain resistance of sintered stone is higher than that of marble. As mentioned earlier, marble is composed of calcite. This mineral is dissolved easily by acidic substances. In fact, even normal household liquids like lemon juice and vinegar will dissolve calcite. The result is a dull spot where the calcium carbonate was dissolved.
Another difference between sintered stone and marble is that marble is much softer and id easily scratched. For this reason some designers prefer to use a harder material; especially if the surface is to be used in the kitchen.
For all the seeming advantages of sintered stone over natural marble, one might wonder why marble is preferred by some. Well, we alluded to the reason earlier. The natural beauty of marble is so distinct and elegant, it is truly a unique material. In fact, manufactured products are designed to mimic this wondrous stone. Sintered stone producers also try to capture the majestic appearance of marble in their products.
In the end, whether you prefer natural marble or sintered stone for your kitchen countertop, bathroom vanity, or other hard surface is really dependent on what is important to you (or your customer if you are a fabricator or installer). The characteristics of these materials vary but the designs they are used in usually call for the attributes they have to offer.