KSA looks at the hottest trends in kitchen surfaces to be showcased at Decorex SA

Granite and engineered stone have long been the material of choice for countertops, but as trends have begun to demand a cleaner, sleeker look, there has been a need for a hardwearing surfacing material similar to stone, but in a thinner format. 


“Porcelain or sintered surfacing has arrived on the market as the ideal kitchen countertop solution,” explained Stephanie Forbes, National Manager of the Kitchen Specialists Association of South Africa (KSA). Maintaining a strong presence at Decorex 2019, KSA is a non-profit organisation that ensures an elevated standard of service and products within the kitchen industry. Experts from KSA will be available at all Decorex exhibitions, offering useful tips and tricks for renovations and builds from the KSA Kitchen Advice Centre.


Here KSA outlines the latest trend in kitchen design:


Sintering hot trend


Sintering has been around for a long time and is most commonly seen in products like porcelain. It is a method whereby natural materials, in powder format, are processed under heat, pressure (or both) to create the desired product.


Sintered surfacing is comparable to porcelain ceramic tiles but with enhanced characteristics – sintered surfaces are thin, lightweight, stain-resistant, scratch-resistant, as well as chemical and heat-resistant. The reason for these benefits is that the mineral components are carefully selected – silica, quartz and feldspars are used to provide hardness, strength and chemical resistance.


Clay can be added in the process to give a little more elasticity. Other minerals are included for their pigmentation, creating a variety of homogenous colour options, all of which are UV-resistant. These minerals are ground extremely smooth for sintered surfacing and only the purest of minerals are used. The dense nature of sintering makes it almost totally waterproof so no sealants are required, and the firing process makes it non-porous.


Clean material for a clean kitchen


Sintering is made from 100% natural materials – no resins or hydrocarbons are used to bind the minerals, making it environmentally friendly. The hardwearing, antibacterial, anti-mould properties make this the ideal product for food preparation. It’s lightweight nature also makes it a popular choice for interior and exterior cladding. Because it comes in very thin slabs, designers are able to achieve the sleek, slender lines that are particularly fashionable in modern kitchen design.


Things to note before installation


Sintering must be fabricated by someone who has been trained by the supplier and has the correct tools for the job. The slabs need to be carefully moved, transported and cut in a particular way to avoid breakage. If the material is not fabricated correctly, cut outs and edges will be exposed to cracking and chipping, and – when used for a kitchen surface – it is vital that the carcassing is level. 


If not reinforced by a substrate with the same thermal expansion properties, sintering will crack. This is why manufacturers set out specific rules about spacing distances allowed. These must be observed to ensure the integrity of the material is not compromised and guarantees or warranties are not forfeited.


Maintaining sintered surfaces


Once successfully installed, sintered surfacing is very low maintenance. No sealing is required, and if cleaned within 16 hours, all stains should be removable.  All that is required for cleaning is warm water and a soft cloth with a natural detergent like Sunlight liquid. For more stubborn stains, a non-abrasive cleaner can be used, but then should be wiped away once the stain is gone. While the material is resistant to chemicals it is advisable to keep hydrochloric acid, caustic soda and product containing hydrofluoric acid away from the material.


“Innovative new products like this are a welcome addition to the industry,” said Forbes. “In South Africa, we tend to follow behind European trends, so the material is only now being embraced here while it has been regularly in use in Europe for some time now. The most important thing to remember, if you are opting for this material, is that you need a skilled and well-practiced fabricator. Only use someone recommended by the supplier and who has a proven track record of successfully working with a variety of brands of sintered surfacing.”


Sian Cullingworth, Portfolio Director at Reed Exhibitions, said visitors to this year’s Decorex exhibition would benefit from direct interaction with specialists from KSA: “Planning a kitchen renovation can be a really daunting undertaking. Fortunately, visitors to Decorex exhibitions will be able to view the on-trend kitchen displays, as well as gaining worthwhile insights and advice directly from the country’s leading kitchen suppliers, craftsmen and designers.”


For more information about the KSA visit www.ksa.co.za. KSA will feature at this year’s Decorex Durban, Decorex Cape Town and Decorex Joburg alongside an impressive 2019 exhibition programme that boasts a number of new on-trend installations:


•             The Playroom Children’s Decor Project

•             Decorex Urban Living Trend House

•             Instudio Trend Theatre by ABSA

•             The Lighting Project

•             The Bathroom Project

•             Bedroom Project

•             Decorex International

•             Wine & Bubbly Bar furnished by Homewood

•             Gin Garden with ISHK

•             Gourmet Cooking Theatre

•             Rum + Gin Garden

•             The Illy Experience

•             The Library by EFAM




Decorex Durban

21 – 24 March 2019

Friday – 10am–8pm

Thursday, Saturday & Sunday – 10am–6pm

Durban Exhibition Centre

Trade-focused day: 22 March 2019

Ticket Prices:    Adults – R95

                         Student/Pensioners – R85

                         Kids U12 – R20

                         Trade – R85


Decorex Cape Town

1 – 5 May 2019

10am – 6pm daily

Cape Town International Convention Centre

Trade-focused day: 2 – 3 May 2019

Ticket Prices:    Adults – R110

                         Student/Pensioners – R100

                         Kids U12 – R20

                         Trade – R100


Decorex Joburg

7 – 11 August 2019

10am – 6pm daily

Gallagher Convention Centre

Public holiday: 9 August

Trade-focused days: 7 – 8 August 2019

Ticket Prices:    Adults – R120

                          Student/Pensioners – R100

                          Kids U12 – R20

                          Trade – R100


For more information, email decorexinfo@reedexpoafrica.co.za

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