ABOUT NATURAL STONES
Natural stones are sophisticated materials that add dimension and style to architecture and structural designs. Highly polished to rustic, natural stones can add a creative element that embodies the essence of traditionalism to the most contemporary designs. In addition to aesthetic beauty, the glossy surfaces also add a source of reflective light.
Granite is dense, making it durable and weather/water resistant. Great for outdoor as well as indoor use. Specifically, it is a course-grained, hard igneous rock consisting chiefly of quartz and feldspar accompanied by one or more dark minerals. Generally ranging in color from black to white, and from pink or red, to light or dark grey. The texture is typically homogenous but may be gneissic or prophyritic.
Best uses: kitchens, counter tops, wet bars, entry walls, floors, fireplaces, vanities, shower walls, tub decks, mosaics, furniture and sculptures. Note: flamed or honed granite can be used nearly anywhere. Ideal for seaside/salty locations. Granite is quite literally as old as the earth.
It is formed from liquid magma, the molten rock still found at the core of the planet, cooled slowly to form a substance approaching the hardness and durability of diamond. Granite is an igneous rock, the name reflecting its fiery beginning. Granite is formed of an aggregate of crystals which are molded together without any water space between them or which enclose one another.
While they differ in color, texture and crystalline structure, the granites have three essential minerals in common: Feldspar (50% or greater); Quartz (25-40%); Mica (3-10%). The minerals occur in different proportions, giving each granite its own color, texture and structural characteristics. In addition, hornblende, magnetite, hermatite, pyrite, zircon, garnet, corundum and other minerals may be present in smaller amounts, adding to the unique coloration and texture of each granite deposit.
Marble is used as outdoor building material in mild climate, a sophisticated element to interiors both residential and commercial. Specifically – carbonatic rock of metamorphic origin and some ophiolitic rocks [serpentinites and ophicalcites], formed by the alteration of limestone or dolomite, often streaked.
Best uses: entry walls, floors, fireplaces, vanities, shower walls, tub decks, mosaics, furniture, sculptures and courtyards. Not recommended for: kitchen counters and wet bars because it can be stained by fruit juices and alcohol products, and is prone to scratches. Note: honed and sealed marble can be used in kitchens. Marble is an excellent choice for a pastry slab because of its cold surface. Color ranges in whites, pinks, blues and greens.
Travertine is a chemical limestone that can resemble marble when polished. A form of marble that is less dense than high grade marble. Specifically – carbonatic rocks of sedimentary origin formed by chemical precipitation in a sub-aerial environment, highly porous calcite.
Best uses: entry walls, floors, fireplaces, vanities, shower walls, tub decks, mosaics, furniture and sculptures. Not recommended for: kitchen counters and wet bars because it can be stained by fruit juices and alcohol products, and is prone to scratches.
Note: Typically beige and brown. Requires special care, some cleaning products are destructive to travertine surfaces. The Coliseum in Rome, having stood for over 2000 years, is perhaps the most famous travertine structure in the world. Travertine is commonly used outside as cladding and pavement, as well as inside for floors, walls and countertops. Travertine is generally filled with cement before it is honed or polished, which produces a uniform surface more like other marbles.
Travertine is a result from hot spring water percolating up through underground limestone. When the water evaporates, it leaves behind layers of dissolved limestone and other materials, giving its banded appearance. The characteristic holes in travertine are the result of trapped gas bubbles; as the gas escapes, crystals form in the cavities. Yellowstone Park, for example, with its geysers and mineral springs, produces travertine. Travertines are generally light-colored beiges and tans, though there are some beautiful, colored Travertine’s that have resulted from other minerals dissolved by hot water underground.
Limestone adds a lovely rustic ambience of textural design. It is a form of marble that is less dense than marble and travertine consisting mostly of calcium carbonate. Specifications include all carbonatic rocks of sedimentary origin, which take the polish. Best uses: structural walls, entry walls, floors, fireplaces, vanities, shower walls, tub decks, mosaics, furniture, sculptures and garden walkways. Not recommended for: kitchen counters and wet bars because it can be stained by fruit juices and alcohol products, and is prone to scratches. Note: more porous than marble, available in fewer colors than marble, typically in lighter beige, brown and red colors, as well as blacks. Limestone is usually treated with sealant before use. The muted tones of limestone are perfect for today’s more casual and comfortable lifestyles.
Generally, these soft beiges and tan’s, either polished or honed, are appropriate for bathrooms, fireplaces, counters and less-traveled flooring where a more informal décor is desired. Limestones are sedimentary rocks that are formed at the bottoms of lakes and seas, as silt and organic matter settle to the bottom. The organic matter may be plants and marine shells or skeletons, which are preserved as fossils and serve as a guide to the age of the stone. Care does need to be taken, however, when choosing material for high traffic areas or kitchen countertops which might be subject to etching substances. Like any stone, limestone should be sealed with a penetrating sealer to prevent stains from soaking into the stone
Slate is microcrystalline metamorphic rock, commonly derived from shale. Slate is composed mostly of micas, chlorite and quartz. Best uses: floors, walkways, roofing – recently for kitchen counters and wet bars. Dense composite that is very tough, typically in blacks, grays and greens. Note: Durable, easy care surface.
Quartzite is composed of sandstone that has been converted into a solid quartz rock. Quartzite is much harder than its parent rock. It forms from sandstone that has come into contact with deeply buried magmas. Rising temperature fuses the quartz grains together forming the extremely hard and weather-resistant rock quartzite.
Unlike sandstones, quartzites are free from pores and have a smooth fracture; if struck with a hammer they break through the grains, whereas in sandstones the fracture passes through the cementing material and the rounded surfaces of the grains are exposed, giving the broken surface a rough and granular appearance.
Most quartzsites contain 90% or more of quartz and in some the quartz content exceeds 99%. These constitute the largest and purest concentrations of silica in the earth’s crust.
Like marble, quartzite comes in many colors, but when pure it is light-colored.
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