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“Natural Stone” refers to a number of products quarried from the earth, used over many thousands of years as building materials and decorative enhancements. These products include Granite, Marble, Limestone, Travertine, Slate, Quartzite, Sandstone, Adoquin, Onyx, and others. They are more than just rocks – natural stone is hand selected from the best, most consistent sources for durability and beauty.
Natural stone products differ in composition, color, and texture even among pieces from the same source. This is usually considered a benefit, lending itself to one of a kind designs and distinctive, dramatic applications.
In past eras, Natural Stone has mainly been used for large-scale construction and in formal applications such as churches and government buildings. It has also been used for road construction and monuments. For residential construction, wood and brick have been the traditional choice. However, there has been a growing trend in recent years to use Natural Stone in residential construction for both structural and decorative use. Popular applications include entryways, atriums, bathrooms, fireplaces, floors, countertops, and many other surfaces.
Natural stone is prized its distinctive beauty and the sense of peaceful tranquility it creates, but there are also many practical benefits to using Natural Stone in your home. Natural Stone products are more durable than many artificial products, often lasting for decades with very little maintenance. With Natural Stone there are no worries about exposure to harmful chemicals in the home or released into the environment during production or disposal. Why invest time and money into a look-alike? Natural Stone is the real thing that the artificial products try to emulate.
Natural Stone products include Granite, Marble, Limestone, Travertine, Slate, Quartzite, Sandstone and Onyx.
For maintenance-free elegance and durability, granite is unmatched. Its incredible strength and density makes granite the perfect choice for massive structural work – walls, monuments and supports. Though it is the hardest of structural stones, the amazing variety of mineral-rich colors and natural patterns gives it ornamental value as well. Granite products are ideal for flooring, countertops, vanities and decorative exterior applications.
Prized for its timeless style, texture and high-gloss polish along with a rich palette of beautiful colors, marble has a place anywhere in the home. Available in solids or dramatic veined varieties, marble may be carved or sculpted in many ways, making it one of the most versatile decorative stones. Often seen as a symbol of luxury, modern technology brings beautiful marble products even to budget-conscious homeowners.
Also referred to as Verde Antique, Serpentine Marble is a dramatic green color with strong white veining.
Formed over thousands of years of sedimentary deposit and compression, slate splits naturally into beautifully textured layers. The various shades of slate products – brown, yellow, dark gray, pink, lavender and more – may even occur within the same piece of stone. Durable and stain-resistant, slate products are often used for flooring, cladding and landscaping.
Shimmering and sparkling with tiny quartz crystals, Quartz is a rock similar to slate with a medium grained texture and incredible durability. Differing mineral content creates many color variations, from the sedate white, gray or beige to more adventurous shades of purple and pink. Quartzite is widely used for wall veneers and decorative tiles. A naturally non-skid texture makes it a perfect candidate for flooring indoors and out, including areas with heavy traffic and exposure to the elements.
With a uniform texture, an appealing variety of colors and finishes, and weather resistant durability, it’s easy to see why sandstone products have been used for thousands of years for walls, floors, and pavers. As with other types of rock, its variations result from differing mineral composition – there’s a sandstone product to match any décor.
The muted, soft tones of limestone are perfect for today’s casual and comfortable lifestyles. Available in hues of soft beige and tan, either polished or honed, limestone products are ideal for bathrooms, fireplaces, countertops and flooring in low-traffic, informal areas.
Valued for its banded, pitted “distressed” appearance, travertine adds rich, distinctive character to a variety of indoor and outdoor building projects. Its patterns and veining effects were formed by hot spring water percolating through underground limestone. When used for interior applications, travertine is often filled with cement, grout or resin and sealed to create a smooth, stain-resistant surface.
Shell Stone is a sedimentary stone similar to limestone, with many small shells embedded and visible upon its surface.
A translucent stone with a glossy, polished surface, onyx is composed of crystalline silica and closely related to agate, a semi-precious stone. Often found in caves, onyx is formed by the slow flow of cold, carbonated spring water. Onyx is available in pastel shades of yellow, brown, green, orange, and white.
Cantera is a sedimentary stone that comes from the riverbeds of Mexico. It is used extensively for architectural columns, moldings, and for pavement tiles.
The most important difference is this – Natural Stone is a product of nature, and Ceramics are man-made. Most man-made materials cannot compare in durability to natural ones. While damaged ceramic tiles usually need replacing, natural stone usually needs minimal restoration if stained or scratched.
Stones that are harder and denser are more difficult and expensive to quarry and process. Quarrying methods vary as well; stones may be quarried below ground, which is more expensive than above ground. Also, since natural stone is quarried all over the world, long distance shipping factors into the price.
The larger the stone, the more difficult it is to process, handle, pack, and transport. Larger sizes also tend to have a higher amount of waste compared to the part that is used, which makes them more expensive.
The availability of a particular stone is the most important factor in determining price. However, handling and transportation cost does drop slightly for a larger quantity.
Creating an installation without visible grout joints is difficult, but if the surface of the floor is straight and the tiles are perfectly cut, very little grout should be seen. A professional, experienced installer should be chosen to create this look.
The tightest grout joint that you may request is 1/16″.
Because stone is a natural product, there is always some variation within a selection. By sorting out the stone tiles before installing, it is possible to place the tiles on the surface before installing, blending the varying colors, grain, and veining as desired.
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