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Natural stone is a collective name for thousands of different types of stone, found and quarried throughout the world...

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Stone Types

On this page you can learn about different types of stones. If you want to check out our stone galery, please click this link: Material Gallery.

What is granite?

Granite is defined as a visibly granular, igneous rock generally ranging in color from pink to light or dark gray and consisting mostly of quartz and feldspars accompanied by one or more dark minerals. The texture is typically homogenous but may be gneissic or porphytic. Some dark granular igneous rocks, though not properly granite, are included in this definition.

Where does granite come from and how is it quarried?

Granite, is quarried at different locations throughout the world. Hundreds of colors and patterns are available from such countries as Italy, Spain, France, China, Brazil, and The United States. Typically, blocks are extracted from the granite quarry located high in the mountains on the outskirts of a major city. These blocks, averaging 9 feet by 5 feet by 5 feet deep in size are transported down the mountain to the fabrication plant in the city. Once at the plant, these blocks are either cut into tiles or slabs. Tiles are usually cut to standard sizes of 12" x 12", 16" x 16", 18" x 18" and 24" x 24". Tiles range in thickness from 3/8" to 3/4". Slabs sizes usually vary depending on overall block size. Average slab sizes are usually 9 feet by 5 feet and are typically 3/4" (2cm) or more in thickness. After the tiles or slabs are cut, they are sent through a large multi-head polishing machine, which puts a natural shine on the face of the stone using abrasive compound bricks or diamond polishing discs. Tiles are usually beveled as a final finishing step. Several other finishes can be applied to the slabs or tiles at this time such as a honed finish or, on some granite, a flamed finish. By far, the most popular finish tends to be the high polish.
Average density: 2750 kg/m3 (range 1741 to 2800)

What colors are granites available in?

Granites are available in a wide range of colors and veining. There are beige colors, Emerald green tones, Reds, Blacks, Violets, Mauves and a host of others. The color of the stone is dependent upon what region of the world the stone comes from. Some colors have been in use for hundreds of years; others are fairly new to the market. Some stones are available in slabs and tiles; others are only available in either slab or tile but not both. The size of the quarry, its location, accessibility and demand for the material will affect pricing. Labor costs in various countries also affects material costs. Technology is not the same in all countries, so beware of stones manufactured with inferior and outdated technology. These materials are usually not difficult to spot.

What should I know about color variation & veining?

When granite is purchased within the same lot or bundle, variations in color and veining should be expected and considered. In this situation, each slab or tile when viewed overall will look like it belongs with the remainder of the lot. In most cases, bundles of slabs are cut consecutively from the same block so as to keep color and veining consistent. When granite is purchased at different times or from different lots and bundles, extreme variation in color and veining can occur. As quarrying continues, materials from different sections of the quarry or from different depths of the quarry can vary greatly. In certain cases, quarries have run out of certain shades or the veining has changed so drastically that current lots no longer match previous lots. For these reasons, it is important to purchase sufficient quantities at the same time or verify that additional material of the same lot is indeed available for a later purchase. Being a natural stone, variations from shipment to shipment or lot to lot cannot be controlled or predicted. Granite contains natural pits and fissures.

What can granite be used for?

Due to it's high density, acid resistance, low absorption rate, and scratch resistance, granite can be used for a wide range of applications including floors, fireplaces, furniture and kitchen counter tops. One of the leading uses of granite is for kitchen counter tops. Hundreds of colors and patterns are available as well as numerous edge details to allow granite to fit in with any kitchen design scheme. Granite is one of the best work surfaces available. Its polished finish won't wear off. Granite countertops will not blister, scratch or crackunder normal use and they are highly stain resistant.

Will there be seams in my kitchen counter tops?

Granite is a stone and because of this, seams cannot be "melted" together. There will of course have to be seams in a typical granite project but if a quality fabricator and installer is used, these seams will be minimized. The location and quantity of seams depends on the project design and slab sizes. It helps to have some idea of typical slab sizes during the design stages of a kitchen. Consult with your kitchen designer or architect to layout your kitchen in order to minimize these seams later on. Seams are normally filled with a color matched polyester adhesive to blend as close as possible. If seams are cut and filled properly, they will not stand out and be an eye sore. If the appearance of seams is a concern, please ask your fabricator/installer to see samples of a typical finished seam.

Is the shine and surface appearance of all granite alike?

Not all granites are alike. Different minerals polish out differently. Some minerals will not shine as much as the quartz and feldspar found in granite. When shopping for granite, take a close look at the shine and surface texture. Some granites have minute fissures in between the various granules which is normal and will not trap liquids or food particles. If this is a concern, please direct questions to the stone salesperson or your fabricator/installer prior to fabrication and installation.

How should I maintain my granite counter tops?

The first and most important step is to make sure your granite counter tops are sealed using a good grade, silicone-based, impregnating sealer. A good coat of sealer will help prevent staining from liquids that are spilled on the surface. Granite countertops should be sealed around the time of installation and periodically (1-2 times per year) thereafter.
A good stone soap or stone polish should be used for on going maintenance. If you do not have access to stone maintenance products, a mild soap such as dishwashing soap and water will suffice. Rinse the surface thoroughly after washing with the soap solution and dry with a soft cloth. Too much cleaner or soap may leave a film or cause streaks. Do not use abrasive cleansers or harsh ammonia based cleaners. Do not use products that contain lemon, vinegar or other acids on the granite as the high acid content may etch the surface. Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface.


Everything You Should Know About Marble

Marble = CaCO3 Marble was created deep within the earth millions of years ago, the processes that formed them was quite different. Marble is found in many countries, Such as, Turkey, Greece, India, Italy, and Spain. The world's 40% of the marble resources are in Turkey.
Marble is a metamorphic rock. Marble is formed from limestone by heat and pressure in the earth's crust. These forces cause the limestone to change in texture and makeup. This process is called recrystallization. Fossilized materials in the limestone, along with its original carbonate minerals, recrystallise and form large, coarse grains of calcite. Impurities present in the limestone during recrystallization affect the mineral composition of the marble that forms. The minerals that result from impurities give marble wide variety of colours. Marble is a lot like people; no two are exactly alike. The purest calcite marble is white. Marble containing hematite has a reddish colour. Marble that has limonite is yellow, and marble with serpentine is green.
The softness of marble and its relative isotropy and homogeneity make marble very desirable for sculpture and building stone. Although marble comes from limestone, the temperatures and pressures necessary to form marble usually destroy any fossils that may have been present in the limestone.
Marbles is quarried throughout the world in the form of huge blocks, some weighting up to 25 tons. These blocks are cut into slabs and tiles that are generally 2 cm to 3 cm thick and the faces are unpolished, polished, honed, tumbled to the specified finish. These slabs and tiles are then carefully crated and shipped to the fabricators, distributors, installers who will process them into the final product. Marble is classified into four groups, Groups are named A, B, C, and D. These are broad classifications and relate only to soundness and working qualities. However, for the purpose of this maintenance guide marble has been classified as exterior or interior maintenance of marble.

Kinds of marble:

  • Carrara (Italya)
  • Pentelicus (Greece
  • Proconnesus (Turkey)

Carrara marble is prized for sculpture. In the building trades, the term "marble" is used for any massive, crystalline calcitic rock (and some non-calcitic rocks) useful for building stone. For example, Tennessee Marble is really a massive, highly fossiliferous gray to pink to maroon Ordovician dolostone, known as the Holston Formation by geologists. Marble derives its name from the Greek marmaros, shining stone. [source: OED2]. This stem is also the basis for the English word marmoreal meaning "marble-like". In folklore, marble is associated with the astrological sign of Gemini. Pure white marble is an emblem of purity. It is also an emblem of immortality, and an ensurer of success in education.

Should I Use Where?

It depends on the effect you want to achieve and how much use or abuse the stone will be subjected to. Marble is the most elegant and luxurious of stones. Marble's beauty will last for generations. Marble is striking, functional and the most durable. These traits make marble ideal for kitchen countertops, bar tops, everyday dining tables, and many other uses. It is versatile enough for use throughout the home such as fireplace facings, ornamental furnishings, walls and windowsills. Marble shines best in the bath. You can use it on almost every surface, including vanities, shower walls, tub decks and flooring.

Do Marble Require Special Care?

Marble is easier to maintain than you would expect. Warm water, mild dishwashing liquid and a soft cloth clean up most spills on both surfaces. Marble is especially susceptible to damage from citric acids, alcohols and oils. With proper care, its beauty will last for generations.

Maintenance

Routine maintenance should include cleaning with clear, warm water and mild (no lemon, vinegar or other acidic additives) dishwashing detergent. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a soft cloth.

Can I do one area of my project now, and complete the remainder of it in the same color at a later time without complications?

Unfortunately, no. As natural stones are quarried, changes in shade and texture occur. Therefore, matching existing material at a later time would be almost impossible.


Introduction to Travertine

Travertine is a sedimentary limestone formed by chemical precipitation of calcium salts in watersheds. It consists essentially of calcite (around 99%), the crystalline, white porous structure of calcium carbonate. It is characterized by its spongy, vacuolar structure, due to the inclusion of organic matter (mostly vegetable) and gas emission (carbon dioxide) during its formation. Calcite, the main mineral component of travertine, is white. However, due to impurities such as sulphur, ferrous compounds, organic pigments, etc., it is found in a variety of colors: walnut, yellow, red, and so on.

Travertine deposits can be found all over the world, including Iran, the U.S., Mexico and Italy, among other nations. Italian travertine has great historic importance, and because of its closeness to Rome, it was used in many of the city's monuments, including the Coliseum, the Trevi Fountain and the colonnade of Saint Peter's, which all testify to the ancient use of travertine as a construction material. Travertine has also found applications in the present day, as it was used for Lincoln Center in New York, the ABC Entertainment Center in Los Angeles and most recently the new mosque in Rome. It is also being used in residential applications around the world.

Travertine's physical characteristics make it an especially suitable material for use in adverse environmental and climatic conditions. Travertine can thus be used for a wide range of applications, from external wall facings to interior flooring; from urban furnishing to funerary monuments.

Let us look at the main problems associated with some of its many uses. Travertine has a vacuolar structure. That is, it contains actual cavities throughout its structure which accumulate dirt, no matter what the application. It is therefore best to plaster (fill) the travertine, as indeed is the normal practice, to prevent serious problems with cleaning.
Another very important aspect to emphasize is surface finish.
Travertine usually has the following types of finish:

  • polished
  • honed
  • split-faced

Travertine is also widely used as cobbles with a tumbled or sandblasted finish.

Initial Wash

Do not use acid products. Since travertine is a calcium-based material, it reacts with acids and is dissolved by them. Use only neutral or alkaline detergents, depending on the type of residue to be removed. In the case of polished travertine, do not use strong alkaline products because they could damage the mirror finish of the material. In this case, we recommend only the use of neutral detergents. In the case of a rustic finish -- whether it is tumbled or sandblasted material -- and when removing installation residue (i.e. cements), disregard the above cautionary remarks and use an acid descaling agent, because this is the only way to thoroughly clean the surface of these residues.
In this case we strongly recommend the use of buffered acid descaling products, which are free of strong agents such as muriatic acid, at the greatest dilution compatible with the amount of dirt to be removed. Note that the material must be professionally installed. It is important to leave the smallest possible amount of residue so that it can be cleaned without the use of powerful chemicals.

Protection and care

 

Polished

Just as with marbles and polished limestone, travertine is normally only used for special applications such as bathroom and kitchen flooring. In this case, protection is assured by the use of special water- and oil-repelling products which protect the surface without generally changing its look. After application of these products, a surface residue can crop up. This must be removed after drying, from four to 24 hours after treatment according to the type of solvent used in the protective product. The same type of treatment can be applied when polished travertine is used in non-walkover areas such as: vanity tops, cooktops, thresholds, etc.
Another widely used protective treatment is waxing. In the case of home floors, we recommend the use of traditional polishable wax, which requires polishing with a cloth or polisher after application to give it a shine. In the case of public installations, and hence with high foot traffic, we recommend the use of self-shining waxes, such as metallized waxes. Unlike marble, which is normally waxed when its shine starts to show wear, waxing on travertine can be carried out anytime in order to protect its surface. Foot traffic can damage the original shine faster than in the case of marble or granite, which are harder materials.
The material must be maintained with a neutral detergent to avoid damaging the surface, its shine or protective treatment. It can be applied manually, with a bucket, mop or brush and rag, normally in a 3 to 5% dilution, for traditional maintenance over a small surface area. It can alternatively be applied with a scrubber-drier machine for larger areas, in which case the dilution will normally be 1 to 2%. If stronger solutions (5 to 10%) are required for washing away more tenacious stains, a final rinse is required.
In the case of waxed floors, an alternative is 200 to 300 ml (8 to 10 fluid ounces) of a "wash and wax" product that is poured into the washing solution. If the floor is treated with metallized wax, the normal procedure for these waxes must be followed. This includes the above-mentioned washes as well as dewaxing every one to two years, using a special wax-stripping detergent at the recommended dilution, with a subsequent application of two to three coats of the same wax.

A further maintenance treatment is crystallization, using a special crystallizing product. This treatment is used in cases in which the mirror finish of the travertine is moderately damaged and the user wishes to avoid waxing or repolishing it. Crystallization attacks the already damaged surface to a greater or lesser degree according to the acid used in the crystallizing agent, followed by a partial repolishing with a wire wool disk added to the weight of the professional polisher. When the damage is significant, however, we recommend repolishing the floor mechanically in the traditional manner. There is also special maintenance, which falls outside of the normal routine care schedule. Two of these operations have already been mentioned, crystallization and dewaxing. There is also a third procedure: stain removal.

A polished travertine surface can be stained in a variety of ways, especially if not treated. Note that in many instances -- as with marble and polished limestone in general -- these defects will not be penetrating stains, but rather surface opacity, which looks like a stain at first glance. This can happen when an acidic liquid is spilled onto the limestone surface: coffee, wine, ketchup, tea, beer, soft drinks, lemon juice, etc. In general, this covers the majority of food stains.
In such cases, there is an aggressive chemical reaction with the surface; the staining agent dissolves the salt constituting the mirror surface and renders it opaque. Normal protective agents can slow down and hold back this reaction, but they cannot fully prevent it. Only by creating a significant surface layer can the material be protected against stains of this type, but such a protective layer would destroy the natural aspect of the surface, and this is not generally an attractive option. A surface which has been damaged in this way can be partially restored with crystallization or using a polish. Other typical stains are those due to grease or oil, which can be completely removed using a stain remover spray or with poultice.

Honed

The difference between this type and the preceding lies only in the polish of the surface, so that the same types of protective treatments recommended above can be used also in this case. We can also recommend an alternative wax treatment, whereby this type of surface can be treated with two applications of a matte-finish wax, which is then obviously not polished. We can recommend this type of treatment in cases in which the customer -- having chosen a smooth but opaque surface finish -- wishes to keep the finish unchanged. A similar result can be obtained using a water- and oil-repelling product or a combination of water- and oil-repelling products, which normally gives a better result in terms of proofing but does not guarantee dirt repellence, which is what waxes do.
For routine care, the same considerations mentioned previously apply. As for special maintenance, we must distinguish between the two cases. Crystallization is not an option, and staining is not a problem due to the inherently opaque surface of the material. In this case, we may see stains due to the color of the staining agent, whether it is coffee, the tomatoes in ketchup or red wine. In such cases, a special color stain remover must be used. For oily or greasy stains, stain remover sprays or poultice are both excellent solutions.

Tumbled stone

One of the most widely used materials employed to create tumbled stone is travertine, in all its colors: Roman, walnut, red, yellow, etc. The recommended treatment in this case consists of applying a base coat of a product, such as the usual non-filming solvent-based water and oil proofing or the more recent analogous water-based type of product, to ensure uniform absorption. This must be followed by a couple of applications of one of the vast range of commercial waxes, depending on the intended use and the type of finish desired: from extremely brilliant self-shining metallized waxes to opaque wax.
An alternative to this treatment, which is widely used especially for exterior surfaces, consists in applying two coats of a stone enhancer, which results in the so-called "wet effect." This is normally an oil or resin of diverse origin.
Another possibility, which is widely used in exteriors, is the application of two coats of penetrating waterproofing, which proofs the surface against water -- thus preventing damage while also impeding the formation of mold, without altering the aspect of the material. If a more extreme degree of proofing is required, especially against greasy and oily dirt, this treatment can be completed with a finish coat of oil-proofing.
As for maintenance, in this case the problem is rather more complicated. Tumbled travertine has open cavities at the surface, in contrast with polished or honed materials which are filled. These cavities are excellent accumulation points for dirt, and hence, stronger products must be used for cleaning the surface, combined with the mechanical action of the cleaning machine. Furthermore, since tumbled stone is generally used in exteriors, the dirt in question is generally much more tenacious than indoor floor dirt. Cleaning therefore requires the use of alkaline products in combination with a professional cleaner with an abrasive disk (up to green disk) or hard nylon brush. On the other hand, the surface to clean is not particularly delicate, and therefore, it can accept the use of more energetic means than those employed in the case of polished or honed travertine. In extreme cases, a waterjet cleaner may be used, after application of a solution of the alkaline product mentioned above (at a suitable dilution), left to act for a few minutes.

Walls

Travertine has had a very wide use as a wall covering. The problems connected to this application are many and various, and they require different solutions according to the intended purpose of the protective treatment.
Travertine walls can have problems with water absorption, with consequent accelerated damage to the surface, also due to acid rain and the presence of aggressive gases in the atmosphere such as sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide, both of which form acids in combination with the humidity in the air and can seriously damage the surface of the calcareous stone. This problem can be prevented with a waterproofing product, of the penetrating type if possible, which will prevent the absorption of the water that forms the aggressive acids and causes other types of damage. At the present time, effective water-based products are also available to provide this kind of protection as well as the traditional solvent-based products.

Graffiti protection and cleanings

Another problem of great importance is the graffiti, which degrades the urban landscape. In this case, we can use anti-graffiti products which prevent adhesion of the spray paints used to paint graffiti and hence facilitate subsequent cleaning operations. Two kinds of anti-graffiti products are suitable for use with travertine: sacrificial and permanent.
The sacrificial type, which is more suitable for rough surfaces and provides surface protection, is so-called because it "sacrifices itself" to protect the wall material. When the graffiti is cleaned off, the protective agent onto which the paint has been sprayed comes away, leaving the wall clean. The permanent type, on the other hand, is more suitable for polished surfaces and penetrates into the material, diminishing the adhesion of the graffiti, which can thus be removed more easily.
Removing graffiti requires the combined use of cleaning products and machinery. Surface-specific products must be used and are generally supplied as gels or viscous fluids to ensure better adhesion to the surface. They must be chosen according to the delicacy and type of the surface. In the case of polished travertine, the least aggressive cleaning product must be used in order to avoid damaging the surface, In the case of rough surfaces, no particular precautions need be taken, as long as acidic products are avoided, and hence it is best to use the strongest product possible in order to remove the paint from the surface cavities.
The procedure is to apply the viscous cleaning agent, allow it to act for a few minutes and then use a waterjet cleaner at 100-120 bar to remove the gel together with the paint, which has been lifted away from the surface by the cleaning agent itself.

Saturnia

Saturnia is cross cut travertine. That means that the blocks are cut with the grain as opposed to against the grain. Travertine is a very linear material with distinct veins the flow in a horizontal grain. When the blocks are cut against the grain the material that is produced is called Travertine. (i.e. Nova travertine, Roman travertine, etc.). When the material is cut with the grain the saw blades run down the veins of the material and this material is called Saturnia.
Saturnia has become a very popular material due a variety of reasons. A few examples would be the low cost of the material, neutral color and low maintenance. Saturnias are a low maintenance material due to the fact that usually the material is honed not polished. Honed means that the stone has a satin finish. This finish does not show light scratches which occur from daily foot traffic. With normal wear the material with this finish usually becomes more attractive overtime this happens by walking on the material and cleaning the material. One added note the material must be sealed to prevent sating but a good silicone sealer will last up to years.


About Limestone

Limestone is a sedimentary rock, mainly composed of mineral calcite. The primary source of the calcite is usually marine organisms, which settle out of the water column and are deposited on the ocean floors as pelagic ooze (but see lysocline for information on calcite dissolution). Secondary calcite may also be deposited in super-saturated meteoric waters, as is evidenced by the creation of stalagmites and stalactites.

Bands of limestone emerge from the Earth's surface in often spectacular rocky outcrops and islands. For example the Verdon Gorge in France, Malham Cove in North Yorkshire, England and the Ha Long Bay National Park in Vietnam.

Limestone consists of sedimentary rock wholly or in large part composed of calcium carbonate. It is ordinarily white but may be coloured by impurities, iron oxide making it brown, yellow, or red and carbon making it blue, black, or gray. The texture varies from coarse to fine. Most limestones are formed by the deposition and consolidation of the skeletons of marine invertebrates; a few originate in chemical precipitation from solution. Limestone deposits are frequently of great thickness.

Limestone often tends to be more expensive than Marble, Travertine and Granite, it also tends to be very popular with many discerning Architects, Designers, Builders, and Consumers.

More and More interior d├ęcor publications are emphasising on the use of Limestone and Travertine not only as a wise investment long-term to ceramics and terracotta but for the ease of maintenance and overall appearance. It is quarried for roadbeds and gravel roads, building and landscape construction, and cement manufacture.


What is Onyx?

Onyx is quartz crystals fused together by nature into translucent layers of stone, revealing a rainbow of colors ranging Form creamy whites, gold's and ambers to orange, reds, browns deep greens, and grays. Onyx is not a new stone; It is actually millions of year old! A natural process of heat and pressure creates a crystalline stone rich in color and pattern that reaches well below the surface to reveal a truly unparalleled inner warmth, depth and opalescence.

Onyx, like travertine, is the result of water dissolving existing limestone and re-depositing it as a new kind of stone, sometimes called sinter. In limestone caves, onyx is formed by drip water, as stalagmites and stalactites. It is a very soft stone, and somewhat brittle, and needs to be installed where it will not be subject to hard wear. This beautiful stone is characterized by its translucence, and can actually be backlit for striking, dramatic effects.

Onyx was often used as a gemstone in the production of cameos and intaglios. Onyx is also used as an ornamental building stone and for decorative items such as table tops, lamp bases, and small boxes. It was popularly used for geometric patterns in Art Deco designs of the 1920s. Limestone onyx, also called onyx marble, dark layers of impurities and polishes to a high gloss. Mexican onyx is a banded limestone made from stalactites. Argentine onyx is a dark-green stone. Sardonyx has layers of sard (red carnelian) alternating with lighter-color layers of onyx.

From the stone history:

The name onyx was used by the Romans for a variety of stones including alabaster, chalcedony, and what is now known as onyx marble. Roman soldiers wore sardonyx talismans engraved with heroes such as Hercules or Mars, god of war. They believed that the stone would make the wearer as brave and daring as the figured carved on it. During the Renaissance, sardonyx was believed to bring eloquence upon the wearer and was regarded with great value by public speakers and orators. Cameos are cut from stones, such as onyx, sardonix or agate, where different colors occur in layers.
The background material is cut away, leaving the cameo design in relief. Onyx is also used in intaglios because its layers can be cut to show a color contrast between the design and the background. Sardonyx at one time was more precious than gold, silver, or sapphire. Sardonyx is always widely used in cameos and intaglios.

The chief localities of onyx are India and South America.


What is Sandstone?

Any sedimentary rock composed of stony grains between 1/16 mm and 2 mm in diameter that are cemented together is a sandstone. Sandstone forms from beds of sand laid down under the sea or in low-lying areas on the continents. As a bed of sand subsides into the earth's crust, usually pressed down by over-lying sediments, it is heated and compressed. Hot water flows slowly through the spaces between the sand grains, importing dissolved minerals such as quartz, calcium carbonate, and iron oxide. These minerals crystallize around the sand grains and cement them together into a sandstone. Spaces remain between the grains, resulting in a porous, spongelike matrix through which liquids can flow.

Petroleum and natural gas are often found in sandstones. They do not form there, but seek to float to the surface by percolating through water-saturated sandstones. Sandstone layers shaped into domes by folding or other processes (and overlaid by non-porous rock) act as traps for migrating oil and gas, that ascend into them but then have no way out. Such traps are much sought after by oil companies; indeed, most sandstone sedimentologists work for the petroleum industry.

Another useful feature of sandstones is that they tend to record the surface conditions that prevailed when their sands were created and deposited. For example, the diagonal laminations often seen running across sandstone beds (cross-bedding) record the direction and speed of the water or wind that deposited their original sand. Furthermore, the ratio of feldspar to quartz in a sandstone reveals whether its sand was produced by rapid erosion, such as occurs in young, steep mountain ranges, or more slowly, such as occurs in flatter terrain. Since sand beds are often deposited rapidly by wind or water, tracks of reptiles-and even the pocks made by individual raindrops-may be preserved as fossils in sandstone.

A sandstone may be uplifted to the surface and broken down by weather into sand. This sand may be deposited in a bed that subsides, turns to sandstone, returns to the surface, breaks down into sand again, and so on. Some individual grains of sand have participated in more than 10 such cycles, each of which lasts on the order of 200 million years.


About Slate

Slate is a metamorphic rock which is impermeable, hard, close in texture, quick drying, frost resistant, fine grained and fissile - it splits easily into thin layers. It is brittle and needs to be handled carefully
Slate's naturally slip-resistant surface is very hard and durable, with varied colors and features that have served builders and architects for centuries. Suitable for indoor as well as outdoor applications, slate satisfies several natural stone flooring needs...

Slate has been a popular choice through centuries and across continents for both practical and decorative uses. Slate is formed by means of tremendous pressure and heat from deep in the earth, and found most commonly along continental coasts all over the world. The harsh beginnings which formed the slate give way to a rock that stands up to wear as well as one that reveals a singular beauty. Slate flooring is typified by earthy color variations that make each tile unique.
Slate is often installed as flooring for use in foyers, hallways and bathrooms as well as for poolside surfaces, due in large part to its characteristic slip-resistance, a common consideration in these areas. One of the most popular textures available in slate is that of the "split face" variety, which is particularly effective when looking for this slip-resistant feature. With a range of colors that vary from orange, to beige, to greens and purples, slate offers a distinct aesthetic dimension as well, adding to its value as a decorative natural stone tile as well as a practical one.

Cutting Slate: Gauge

At the production stage, slate tile processing proceeds with the idea that an installation should be as easy as possible. The first principle in working with any kind of interlocking building material, such as slate, is the dimensional uniformity of the material. The term "gauge" refers to the process of making sure that the slate tiles have been cut square, allowing them to be as uniform as possible when it comes time to install them. Working with slate that is square will allow for a more straight-forward installation, saving time and money for everyone concerned.

Cutting Slate: Calibration

Another term you will commonly hear when looking for slate, or any natural stone for that matter, is "calibration." This refers to the surface of the stone and the process whereby each tile is cut to a specified thickness in relation to other tiles of its variety. Once again, this process is done with simplicity of installation in mind. The slate is machine honed on the back to either a flat or combed finish, and in both cases is made even to achieve uniformity. One of the most vital elements in laying any flooring is to ensure that the resulting flooring is absolutely level, and the process of calibration at this stage of production addresses this requirement. Along with gauge, this mechanical processes of calibration helps to make sure that the slate is cut in such a way as to be practical as well as aesthetically pleasing.

Color variation in slate

Because slate is made from a natural stone, you can expect a certain level of color variation from tile to tile. This is because of the fluctuation of the amounts of minerals and other compounds unique to each individual tile. Although this can be seen as a disadvantage if you're looking for a monochromatic effect, it can really work in your favor when laying your slate with a more diverse design approach in mind. These natural color variations allow you to be creative when it comes time to laying out each tile, making a unique statement with the individual slate tiles you have at your disposal; let your imagination run wild! No other slate floor will look exactly like yours! For this, a good idea is to open all of the boxes of slate you've purchased to see the full spectrum of the natural stone in unique to your batch. This will allow you to plan out how you wish to design your floor in a dry run, much like you would do with ceramic tile or granite tile. Slate is a popular, practical, and decorative natural stone tile solution for flooring. The slate option is a great choice when you're looking for a surface that is slip resistant, and one that is specifically designed to be uniform for the most level and even surface possible. With the natural color variations, you have the option of getting creative when it comes time to install your slate, and you can really make a unique statement that will make your floor truly distinctive.

Sealants for Slate

Like most natural stone, slate requires a sealant to allow it to be more resistant to staining. For this, there are several options in terms of the overall visual effect. When applying a sealant, it is always best to test a small area of your slate to make sure that the effect is really what you're after. There are a variety of sealants which will offer these various looks:

  • high-gloss - lends your slate floor a lustrous "wet" look
  • low sheen - slightly reflective, but without the luster of high-gloss
  • no sheen or natural finish - a sealant which is designed to dry "invisibly" as a means to retain the natural feel of the slate

Consult your local Do-It-Yourself retailer to get ideas about which brands or varieties of sealants would best suit your particular slate project and always follow the manufacturer's instructions on the products you use. Remember to ask about your choice of sealer, to make sure that it is appropriate for slate - some sealants and waxes reduce the natural slip resistant nature of slate, which can really detract from its intended use if the installation is to be in an area where a slip resistant surface is paramount. Be advised that all stone floors can become slippery when they are wet!

Slate is a natural material created from tremendous pressure deep in the earth over thousands of years. This subterranean process renders a truly remarkable material that can often be a perfect match for what you are looking for in both indoor outdoor settings. Slate is both attractive and durable, and can be used in a range of tile flooring projects, from household to commercial applications. Whatever the project, slate tile offers unique and practical flooring that also reflects the elegance of a prestige flooring material. These beautiful tiles are bound to match your sense of style as well as your more practical requirements of durability, strength, and resistance to wear caused by foot traffic and other every day stresses.

Slate tile flooring, along with quartzite tile, comes in a variety of colors, from greens to pinks to blue-grey shades. The natural surface textures of slate tile flooring vary from tile to tile, adding a unique tactile dimension to the overall look and feel of your tile flooring project. The subtle textures that characterize this ruggedly elegant natural stone make slate a unique choice among tile flooring options. Slate tile flooring is naturally slip resistant, making it a great choice if a major source of foot traffic comes from children or the elderly. It also makes an excellent poolside option. Slate and Quartzite tiles from BuildDirect are of the highest quality, and at unbeatable wholesale prices that make this select stone tile an affordable option.

Recommended Applications:

Wall-cladding, roofing, flooring and all other types of interior & exterior applications depending upon the imagination of an architect.


Quartz Surfaces

 

Engineered Stone - the beauty of granite without the maintenance!

For those who love the look of granite but are concerned about its drawbacks, quartz may be the answer. Unlike granite, which can be permanently stained by cooking oils and grease, or which can be etched by the acids in such common household products as hairspray and other toiletries, engineered stone is impervious to these hazards.
And while granite is subject to unpredictable variations in color or pattern between slabs, making matching of sections of a countertop difficult, engineered stone is uniform in color, pattern, and texture. It provides nearly all of the benefits of natural stone but with few of the drawbacks.
Engineered stone is the most durable surface material, combining the hardness and durability of quartz with the exceptional low maintenance qualities of man-made materials (resin).
Do consider using engineered stone for countertops, flooring, shower & tub enclosures, fireplace surrounds, wet bars & furniture.

Quartz

Quartz (Silica/Silicon Dioxide, SiO2) is the most common mineral on the earth's surface. It is present in nearly every geological environment and is a component of almost every rock type and exists in an impressive range of varieties and colours.
Quartz ranks 7.0 on Moh's Hardness Scale, which is used to measure the scratch-resistance of a material. Only the diamond (at 10), topaz and sapphire (at 9) are harder than quartz. (Granite is ranked 6 on the scale).
Because quartz grows in clusters and does not form huge stone blocks like granite (which contains 40% - 60% quartz), limestone or other types of rock, it is not suitable in its natural state to make into countertops or other large slabs.

Engineered Stone

The process to convert quartz to a slab/countertop was patented by Breton, an Italian company, and is used by all companies which manufacture engineered stone.
This manufacturing process uses raw quartz crystals ranging in size from coarse grains to the size of rock salt. Once the quartz is ground and selected, the crystals are combined with bonding agents (resin) and color, then heated and vibro-compacted to form an impenetrable surface. The resulting slabs are a matrix of 93% quartz and 7% resin binders and pigments ... free of fissures and cracks, and impervious to water, moisture, or bacteria.
Industry-wide, all quartz countertops are made with 93 percent quartz or they cannot claim the hardness, durability, or impermeability of a true quartz surface. The prescribed mixture results in a product that is non-porous, exceedingly durable, and more than twice as strong as granite and less likely to break during fabrication (93% quartz, 7% polymer resin & pigments).
The manufacturing process is a controlled process and quality-control measures exist for quartz that are not possible for natural granite countertops. The nature of the production process ensures that any sample slab will be identical in color and texture to the delivered product. The engineering and finishing phases of quartz-counter manufacturing are virtually the same throughout the industry, companies can all offer limited warranties for up to ten years on their products.
Because they're man-made, these materials can be fabricated in large sheets ( 52"W x 118(120")L), which makes it easier to fabricate large islands in one piece. In addition, curves, circles and other shapes are possible. Slab sizes: 118" (3m) x 52" (1.3m) x 3/4" (2.0cm) 118" (3m) x 52" (1.3m) x 1 1/8" (3.0cm)

Color and Appearance

To the untrained eye, quartz surfaces appear to be natural stone. What makes it different? Natural rock is variable by nature ... colors and patterns may shift and change on a large slab. Surface pits are a mark of granite. Engineered stone on the otherhand, displays a "consistent variability" or mottling in color and texture throughout a quartz countertop. Each slab looks the same, which helps minimize the visible seams that often plague granite countertop installations. The actual appearance of the quartz surface varies depending on the size and mix of the granules. Smaller, finer crystals give a more uniform appearance, while larger ones provide a more mottled look.
Quartz surfacing is available in colors not found in nature, as the crushed stone is generally mixed with pigment. Take advantage, and choose a color that dazzles while still looking like stone.
In addition to granite, some manufacturers produce engineered stone that looks like marble, travertine, concrete, and other natural stone. Since they are solid, the color and natural mottling from the quartz crystals runs throughout the material. Slabs are fabricated into countertops with edge profiles that range from simple bevels to bullnose and ogee.
Because engineered stone is a natural stone product, seams are required for any application that is longer /or wider than the slab size. These seams are visible, but are often less noticeable than a typical granite seam - where the seams may show changes in pattern and shade. As with solid surfaces, integrated sinks are not available in quartz countertops.

Installation

Fabricating and installing a quartz countertop is not a job for the Do-It-Yourselfer. It takes a practiced professionals, which is why many manufacturers train and certify their installers.
In addition to being extremely dense and strong, quartz tops weigh quite a bit more than granite. It is however, easier to cut, handle, and fabricate without damage than granite is. Trained installers can count on fewer broken slabs and less waste than in a typical granite installation.

Care and Maintenance

Because it is non-porous, quartz polished surfaces do not need to be sealed as do other stones to prevent staining. Unlike granite, quartz surfacing is a nearly indestructible material. It is resistant to stains caused by wine, fruit juices, liquid food coloring, tea, nail polish and remover, and felt-tip markers. Its non-porous nature is also extremely hygienic, making it a food-safe choice. Though the quartz surface can briefly tolerate moderate temperatures for a brief time, it can be damaged by high heat and prolonged exposure to heat. Use a hot pad or trivet when placing a hot pan on it. No surface is indestructible, though. As with any other stone or surface material, strong chemicals and solvents, oven cleaners and floor strippers will damage the surface.

POLISHED SURFACES (high gloss)

Routine cleaning involves little more than soapy water or a mild household cleaner such as Fantastik or Windex.

HONED SURFACES (smooth with more of a matte look)

A homed surface will require more daily maintenance than polished finishes.
Since there is more exposed surface area with honed finishes, metal marks, finger prints and other signs of daily living will show on honed material. Most of these marks can be easily removed with little effort and cleaning products such as Soft ScrubT. For tough stains, work the area with a Scotch BriteT pad.