Your guide to engineered and sintered stone surfaces

Kitchen design with teal cabinetry, quartz worktops, white open shelves and gold accents

Natural surfaces in the home are undoubtedly beautiful, but the new kids on the block are practically perfect. KBB journo Louise Nevin shares how to welcome sintered and engineered stone in your home…

When planning a kitchen, one of the major factors will always be the worktop. The market is awash with products to suit all price ranges – from natural quartzite, marble and granite to man-made laminates and engineered surfaces. And then, there’s sintered stone, which many people have never heard of, so what is it?

Teal cabinetry, reclaimed wood shelves and island, and engineered quartz worktop.
The Main Company used Caesarstone’s Raw Concrete engineered quartz worktop, which contrasts well with teal-painted units and reclaimed wood.

What is sintered stone?

Remarkably, it is quite similar to what nature does over thousands of years to create granite or marble – except “sintering” is an almost magical process that can be completed in less than 24 hours.

It begins with a blend of natural minerals, which are ground down, mixed with water and then heated to a pretty extreme temperature, at which point they melt and are then compressed and cured to create vast stone slabs.

Next, they are cooled, cut and polished, ready to go out into the world.

Island with black marble porcelain stone surface surrounded by cream bar stools and black cabinetry and appliances.
For this island, Sheraton Interiors chose the dramatic and dark Laurent by Dekton. Set beside contrasting cream bar stools, it makes a real statement in this stunning, moody kitchen.

How to use this material in your kitchen

Sintered slabs can be used for myriad purposes in the home, although usually for kitchen worktops or flooring. While natural stone needs loving care and regular sealing, sintered absolutely does not. It is non-porous and tough as anything. So, if you have family members who are likely to use your kitchen surface like a DIY work bench, subjecting it to knives, glueing and hammering, you might want to move away from marble and say salut to sintered.

Melissa Klink, creative director at Harvey Jones, says: “Sintered stone has a number of qualities that make it perfect for using in kitchens thanks to its durability, heat resistance, anti-fade and non-porous surface.

“This means it’s easy to clean and maintain and is suitable for busy family life. There are numerous colour and veining options available, making it a really impactful and versatile worktop choice.”

Four-seater circular dining table with grey stone top, surrounded by two chairs, with a maroon and white checkerboard floor underneath.
A grey sintered-stone top graces the surface of this funky four-seater Caleb circular dining table from Cult Furniture, priced £599.


As a kitchen worktop or floor, it’s unbeatable because it can’t be scratched, stained or burned and as flooring it has anti-slip properties, making it ideal to use on patios, too. Plus, it is UV-resistant! In fact, you can use it anywhere and it will withstand anything you throw at it – and that includes dogs and the wildest of teenage parties.

“It’s hygienic and easy to clean and maintain,” says Gavin Shaw, managing director of Laminam UK. “With so many designs to choose from, sintered-stone porcelain surfaces offer versatility not only with worktops, but can also be used for cladding sinks, cabinetry, furniture and even walls or floors for a high-end look.”

Black sintered stone sink with black tap and chopping board with three onions on top.
Sintered stone is an ideal material for kitchens. Lapitec’s Orion sink in Nero Assoluto Velluto with black tap creates a sleek and minimalist look.

In terms of cost, the dimensions, thickness, brand of slab, as well as the complexity of the design, are all elements that will influence the price, so that is a bridge to be crossed with your designer when the moment arrives.

As for colours, it comes in every shade under the sun – from deep black to white with gold veining, streaked blues, mottled greens and everything in between.

Several of the major sintered-stone brands are really sustainable, which makes sintered a great choice all around. For example, Laminam contains up to 60 per cent recycled materials and follows a sustainable manufacturing process.

Engineered stone

Fractionally less natural are quartz and other engineered stones. These differ from regular sintered stone in that they are made from ground-down minerals but are mixed with a small proportion of fillers and resin, too. Quartz comes in a range of bright shades, but due to the resin content is not quite as tough or so heat resistant – one hot pan and your worktop is scarred for life.

Brown and cream-hued kitchen island with white marble worktop and surfaces, featuring gold veins.
This brown and cream-hued kitchen island with Laminam Cristallo Gold worktop and surfaces is as eco-friendly as it gets.

The pros of pure sintered stone

  • High durability and strength
  • Very low maintenance
  • High-temperature, scratch and stain resistant
  • UV and weather-resistant so can be used in the house or garden
  • Massive range of design options
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Exclusively natural raw materials
  • It’s non-porous so doesn’t harbour bacteria
  • Can be cut, shaped and finished in any way

The cons

  • Expensive compared with other materials
  • Requires professional installation
  • It is mostly made in Italy, Spain and Southeast Asia, so it has to be imported
Cream cabinetry with grey worktop, a matching splashback, and a built-in sink.
Making the most of this kitchen’s lofty ceiling, Parisien Bleu from Silestone by Cosentino’s Le Chic collection creates a grand and striking but incredibly durable arched backsplash, underlit shelf and worktop.

So, if you are planning a renovation, why not take a trip into the new stone age? You won’t be disappointed.

Featured image: Amique quartz by Gemini Worktops.

Need guidance on which material to choose for your kitchen flooring? Click here

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