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Gas information sheet 53: the suitability of reconstituted stone as a fire resistant facing material in kitchen splash backs

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Reconstituted stone, also known as ‘quartz surface’, is a popular product used for various domestic surfacing applications and in kitchen and bathroom bench tops and splashbacks. A well-known brand of reconstituted stone is Caesarstone.

When considering a material for use as a kitchen splashback that will be less than 200 millimetres from the edge of a hotplate burner:

  • The material must be fire resistant (non-combustible) in accordance with AS/NZS 5601 Appendix C.

    Reconstituted stone, while highly durable, is usually made of stone powder bonded with a polyester resin that can burn, and so may be unsuitable for use without a suitable clearance around the cooker or hotplate.
  • The material, when placed directly on a combustible surface to offer protection (for example directly onto a timber stud), must have a heat transfer coefficient not exceeding 20W/m2.
    Reconstituted stone products that claim to be fire resistant must comply with the requirements of AS/NZS 5601 Appendix C to be considered fire resistant.

Necessary qualities of fire resistant materials

Examples of fire resistant materials used in kitchen splash backs include ceramic tiles, toughened safety glass and sheet metal of a specific thickness, and matched with a specific type of backing board (for example, a gypsum-based wall board or fibre cement board with a specified minimum thickness depending on the type of fire resistant facing material being used).

To qualify as fire resistant, a material must comply with a number of Australian Standards including AS/NZS 5601 Appendix C and the specification for fire resistant material, which includes AS/NZS 1530.1 (combustibility) or AS/NZS 1530.3 (the simultaneous determination of ignitability, flame propagation, heat release and smoke release), and a series of additional properties that specify the material’s minimum thickness, compressive strength, and deformability.

Assessing a product for use as a fire resistant material

When assessing a product for use as a fire resistant material, refer to AS/NZS 5601 Appendix C – Fire Resistant Material and Acceptable Methods of Protection of Combustible Surfaces, which specifies the necessary thermal and physical properties of a material suitable for protecting combustible surfaces.

Materials proposed for use as fire resistant that are not already considered by AS/NZS 5601 Appendix C must be independently tested for compliance with the Australian Standard.

For more information, please contact ESV by phoning 1800 652 563 (the Gas Technical Helpline) or emailing

For more information about fire resistant facing materials and clearances around appliances, see: