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Sintered Stone vs Sandstone

One material conjures up thoughts of the southwestern united states perhaps. The other may be a completely new term to some. Each of the materials we will look at in this article is used for surfaces of differing types. However, we will look primarily at the properties of each as they relate to countertops. Let's get into our consideration of sintered stone vs sandstone.

A Brief Look at Sandstone

What is sandstone? As the name implies, sandstone is a natural stone that forms from sand. That's right, reuglar old sand particles like the ones you find on the beach. How does normal sand become solid rock? Since this article is neither about science or sandstone itself, we aren't going to speak in-depth about its formation. But we will cover just the basic concept.

The stone referred to as sandstone forms when sand particles are bound together by a minerals that act like a "glue" of sorts to hold the particles together. As pressure is exerted on the mass, it becomes solid stone. Of course, this a very simplistic description of what happens, but if you would like to read about the process in more detail, you might find the article entitled Sussing Out Sandstone and interesting read.

Sandstone's Hardness

The first trait of sandstone that we are going to look at is its hardness. The hardness of a material is directly related to its durability in the sense that the harder the material is, the more scratch resistant it is. And scratch resistance makes it last longer. On the MOhs scale of mineral hardness, sandstone resides at around 6; although there are slabs marked as "sandstone" that are even harder. We won't get into why that is the case here, but this article describes why this occurs.

The Colors of Sandstone

What color does sandstone come in? The simple answer is that it comes in every color that sand does. A partial list though would include:

  • Tan
  • Red
  • Gray
  • White
  • Beige
  • Cream
  • Brown

In other words, there are a wide variety of looks and colors that sand comes in and this color variety is a reason why it is chosen as a countertop material for many consumers.

Sandstone's Porosity

Natural stone, no matter what type, is porous to one degree or the other. The density of the stone varies based on the amount of pressure to which it was exposed. Porosity affects the stone's rate of absorption, which contributes to the material's stainability. Because of this characteristic of natural stone, sandstone benefits from periodic sealing using a sealer formulated for this.

Sintered Stone Explained

Unlike the natural stone to which we are comparing it, sintered stone is man made. And the way it is formed is interesting to say the least. The name of the material gives us an idea of how it is produced. The term "sintering" refers a process that involves subjecting mineral powder to extreme forces such as heat, pressure, and others. These forces, reproduce the same process that occurs in nature in some cases. As a result, the minerals are transformed into a new material just as metamorphosis changes one type of rock into another. That's why we refer to the resulting material as sintered stone; because it often times contains the same minerals as natural stone.

Sintered Stone's Hardness

The results of the sintering process produce a material that is very hard. That means sintered stone is scratch resistant just like its counterpart. In fact, on the Mohs scale, sintered stone registers at 6 to 7 in hardness. This means that working with it demands the use of very specific tools; ones designed to cut extremely hard materials while minimizing chipping.

Color Choices of Sintered Stone

Since sintered stone is a man made material, the color of the resulting material can be controlled. So, virtually every color of sintered stone can be found. In fact, some brands of sintered stone produce slabs or sheets that mimic natural stone extremely well. Of course, this makes the material appealing to consumers because they get the look of natural stone along with the non-porous nature and the ease of cleaning and maintenance.

Sintered Stone is Non-porous

One of the desirable qualities of sintered stone is that it is non-porous in nature. When the materials are sintered, they are transformed into one solid mass. That resulting mass has no pores. It is non-porous. That makes sintered stone very easy to clean and maintain. Since all stains remain on the surface of the material, any stains incurred are able to be treated at the surface.

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