NATURAL STONE

INTRODUCTION

Natural stone is strong and stable. It exudes a rich, organic, beautiful surface and has a confident, timeless presence in any room. Walk across a natural stone floor and tread on the same material quarried and constructed by ancient people of nobility and notoriety. From ancient monuments like the pyramids in Egypt and the majestic Greek and Roman temples to the great civilizations of India and China, natural stone has been an important part of architecture throughout history. It’s the world’s oldest building material. Imagine its beauty and elegance in your new home.

Recent advances in the stone industry’s equipment technology have greatly impacted the process of extracting stone from the quarry and installing it in a home. Modern tools can accomplish this with such speed and efficiency now that natural stone is accessible to all and is beloved for its durability, personality, and aesthetics. While it is typically more expensive than ceramic tile, natural stone will always increase your home’s resale value.Today there is a large selection of natural stone from which to choose. We invite you to discover the many wonderful facets of natural stone and see if it is the right flooring for you.

 

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HOW NATURAL STONE IS MADE

The production of natural stone is part art and part science. It is the convergence of transition and technology. It is a combination of the inspirational and the industrial.

For millions of years, a combination of heat and pressure created blocks of natural stone, including granite, marble, travertine, limestone, and slate. As the Earth’s crust began to grow and erode, it pushed minerals up from its core, forming massive rock deposits, which we refer to as quarries. Quarries are found in many counties throughout the world. People who have been quarrying stone for generations, work with precision and passion, with expert selection skills, and a devotion to their craft that is second to none.

At the quarry, giant blocks of stone are cut from the earth with diamond-studded, high-speed equipment.

This diamond wire cutting system has revolutionized the extraction process. The blocks of stone are then moved to a processing plant where they are cut into slabs.

The slabs are then sent through a polishing machine that puts the desired finish on the piece. A polishing machine operates using spindles that rotate polishing pads at high speeds over the top of the stone. Most of these polishing machines can produce several different finishes, from a rough, rustic texture to mirrored polish.

During this stage, the slab is also calibrated, meaning its surface is worked down to a relatively uniform thickness across the length of the material.

At the fabricator’s facility, the slab is customized for specific installations. Edges are shaped and polished. This is done with a series of small saws or router bits, which again, are diamond-studded and water cooled. They rotate at high speeds and pass along the edges of the slab to shape the sides into the desired edge detail.

Manufactured stone, also known as agglomerate stone, is a synthetic stone made from natural stone chips suspended in a binder such as cement, epoxy, resin, or polyester. Some of the most popular types of manufactured stone products are those made mostly of quartz. The natural quartz gives the product depth and radiance, while at the same time strength and consistency. It offers you the look of natural stone, but also can be a more cost-effective option.

NATURAL STONE STYLES

Each floor will exhibit its own unique coloring, veining, and natural characteristics. Each has a style all its own, a one-of-a-kind personality. Natural stone floor tile sizes are 12” x 12”, 13” x 13”, 16” x 16”, and 18” x 18”. Natural stone is also available in mosaics which are comprised of pieces 3” or smaller and are often attached to a mesh backing.There are two types of edges for natural stone floor tile: a polished bull nose edge that has a rounded or curved appearance, or a polished straight 90-degree edge that gives a more modern and cleaner look to your space.

Some common types of surface finishes we see today are polished, honed, acid-washed, saw-cut refined, flamed, split faces, tumbled, and brushed.

A polished surface creates a beautiful glossy shine from the natural reflection of the stone’s crystals. The mirror-like shine is accomplished by using progressively finer polishing heads during the polishing process. Granite, marble, and limestone are frequently polished.

Some common types of surface finishes we see today are polished, honed, acid-washed, saw-cut refined, flamed, split faces, tumbled, and brushed.

A polished surface creates a beautiful glossy shine from the natural reflection of the stone’s crystals. The mirror-like shine is accomplished by using progressively finer polishing heads during the polishing process. Granite, marble, and limestone are frequently polished.

A honed surface provides a flat, matte, or satin finish creating a more informal and softer look. This finish is created by stopping short on the last stage of polishing. A honed finish shows fewer scratches and requires very little maintenance. Marble, limestone, and slate would be your best choices for a honed finish.

An acid-washed finish is shiny with small etching marks or pits in the surface. This finish shows fewer scratches and is much more rustic in appearance. Most stones can be acid-washed, but the most common are marble and limestone. Acid-washing is a way to soften the shine on granite.

A saw-cut refined finish offers you a matte finish. After the initial cutting, the stone is processed to remove the heaviest saw marks, but not enough to achieve a honed finish.

A flamed finish is achieved by heating the surface of the stone to extreme temperatures, followed by rapid cooling. The surface of the stone pops and chips, leaving a rough, unrefined texture. This process is usually done with granite. Flamed granite has a highly textured surface, making it ideal for areas where slip resistance might be a concern.

Split-faced finishes give you a rough texture, but one not as abrasive as flamed. This finish typically is achieved by hand cutting and chiseling at the quarry, exposing the natural cleft of the stone. This finish is primarily done on slate.

A tumbled finish delivers a smooth or slightly pitted surface and broken, rounded edges and corners. There are several methods used to achieve the tumbled look. Marble and limestone are your primary candidates for a tumbled finish.

A brushed finish features a worn-down look achieved by brushing the surface of the stone, simulating natural wear over time.

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