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Sintered stone is a new category of surfacing materials that represents what’s next in our industry. “Sintered stone” is the moniker brands like Lapitec and Neolith have chosen to differentiate their products from traditional quartz materials. It has a variety of benefits over quartz, including:

  • Better stain, scratch, and temperature resistance
  • Suitability for indoor or outdoor usage
  • Resistant to fading and yellowing
  • Incredible hardness and durability
  • Some sintered stone materials feature anti-microbial and air-cleansing properties

Sintered stone is manufactured by heating minerals to their melting point, then curing them into slabs. This is a source of confusion: it’s very similar to how porcelain tiles are made.

As sintered stone grows in popularity, some porcelain companies have moved into the cladding and large format surfacing market. By scaling up manufacturing processes, porcelain producers have begun selling product to compete head-to-head against sintered stone.

So is sintered stone a fancy new name for porcelain tile? What are the differences between the two materials? Today, we’ll look at how sintered stone and porcelain are similar, and how they differ.

Comparison between porcelain tile and sintered stone

Properties of porcelain tile

Porcelain tiles have been around for ages. Typically 1/4” thick, these materials are often printed with surface designs. Traditionally handcrafted, most porcelain tile designs are now machine printed to specification. Patterns may be printed or glazed. The range of patterns for porcelain tile is diverse, including popular natural looks like marble and granite.

Porcelain tiles tend to be quite small, but manufacturers continue to scale up their footprint to address modern applications where seams and grout lines are undesirable.

These large porcelain tiles compete directly with sintered stone as they are suitable for similar applications. However, porcelain tiles remain thin and brittle compared to sintered stone.

Emergence of sintered stone

Sintered stone is new to the market. Its adoption has ramped up considerably in the past few years. Once trendy quartz surfaces have seen their reputation suffer as cheap products from across the globe flood the market with lower quality materials.

Sintered stone may be manufactured to look very much like natural stone, or produced in many other colors and patterns. It has a natural surface texture that makes it useful for outdoor applications like poolside walkways. It is one of the toughest surface materials available, extremely durable in hot, cold, wet, or dry environments.

Sintered stone preserves many of the benefits of quartz, but is far more durable and constructed without the use of toxic and polluting resins and binding agents.

The technology for manufacturing sintered stone is patent-protected, meaning sintered stone products are less likely to be “knocked off” like quartz products. When you buy true sintered stone, you know it’s a high quality, sustainably made product.

Visual comparison of porcelain and sintered stone

Both porcelain tile and sintered stone are available in many looks and styles. Porcelain tile is especially diverse in appearance as it may be printed with any pattern imaginable. One drawback of porcelain tile is that its patterns are surface printed. The edge of each tile will be unadorned or mismatched to the surface pattern, which may be less visually appealing in some applications.

Sintered stone’s available patterns may be fewer than porcelain tile, but it also has some interesting aesthetic advantages over porcelain. Some sintered stone products have through-body patterning, where the colors and textures are inherent to the material. This allows countertops to have an edge pattern that matches the surface.

Sintered stone patterns are textured. They are not printed onto the material — they are part of the material! Designers clamour for texture and feel to create more engaging, authentic spaces. Sintered stone offers this authenticity, with surfaces ranging from silky smooth to rough, volcanic styles.

Environmental impact of sintered stone and porcelain tile

Sintered stone began production in environmentally conscious Europe. Sustainability is baked into the biggest sintered stone brands. The manufacture, recyclability, product lifespan, and reclamation process of sintered stone are cleaner than comparable products.

On the other hand, porcelain is a traditional building material. Porcelain manufacture, recycling, lifespan, and reclamation processes are focused on look and price over sustainability and ethics. Though porcelain is nowhere near as environmentally harmful as some options on the market, it does not prioritize product performance, customer health, and the environment like sintered stone does.

Comparison breakdown: sintered stone vs. porcelain tile

Sintered Stone Porcelain Tile
Designed for large surface applications Originally designed for small surfaces and tiling, adapted to large surface applications
Available in thicknesses up to 1⅕”, just like marble, granite, or quartz Typically only ¼” to ¾” thick
State-of-the-art building material Centuries-old conventional building material
Inherent texture including through-body colors and patterns Printed patterns that do not extend to the edge of the tile
Baked-in antimicrobial and pollution-reducing technology available No emphasis on health and sustainability


Lapitec sintered stone can be used as cladding, flooring, and even for the walls of a pool due to its UV and water resistance.

Sintered stone was developed by quartz experts looking to improve upon products already available in the market. They succeeded. Millions of dollars of product development led to today’s sintered stone products. Conventional porcelain products remain useful materials for some applications, but simply cannot hold a candle to true sintered stone.

Touch it, see it, experience it, and make sintered stone your own healthy space.

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