The Origins of Natural Stone
Natural stone can be categorized in three ways: Igneous, Sedimentary, and Metamorphic. Igneous rocks are the result of magma or lava solidifying and cooling, either beneath the earth’s surface or ejected from volcanoes and left to cool above-ground. Sedimentary rocks form through a combination of fragments from other rocks, along with the remains of plants, animals, and other organic materials. These materials accumulate in deserts, oceans, and lakes before they are compressed into their final form by the weight of the earth above them. Metamorphic rocks previously existed as igneous or sedimentary stones and were then transformed due to heat and pressure applied through exposure to magma, the weight of the earth above them when buried deep underground, or a combination of both. Marble is the most famous stone of the metamorphic variety
Extracting Natural Stone
After nature takes care of the first step in actually forming the stone, the next step of removing and re-purposing the stone for use is done by human hands at stone quarries all over the world. The process of quarrying stone is extensive and requires powerful machinery along with skilled quarry workers. Before the stone can even be touched, there is a long list of actions that need to take place. Firstly, a team of geologists must find stone outcrops at a quarry that can be examined. Next, a sample of the stone is taken by drilling into the rock with diamond-tipped drill bits. The sample is then analyzed to discover if it has the desired characteristics to be used as a building material.
Processing Natural Stone
At the processing facility, the stone blocks are then cut into slabs by high-speed gang saws that also release water while cutting to reduce the emission of dust. Despite the speed at which they operate, the gang saws typically take around two days to finish cutting a 20-ton block of stone. Next, the slabs are sent through a polishing machine to give the desired finish. Polished is the most common finish with honed, leathered and brushed being other options that provide different degrees of texture on the surface of the stone.
Browsing the Gallery
We have some of the largest natural stone showrooms in Canada and so it can be quite overwhelming to know where to start. For this reason, it is recommended that you first make some initial choices when it comes to the kind of material you are looking for.
Making Your Selection
To ensure you make the best decision when it comes to the slabs you want to have installed in your home, you will need to be able to compare them with the colors of your other design elements, such as cabinets and flooring. If you have a sample of those elements with you when you visit, that is ideal. If not, color swatches can also do the trick to hold up to the slabs and ensure the colors either blend together or contrast in a pleasing way.
Enjoying Your Countertops
Once your countertops are installed, there is one more step to take before you can fully enjoy them and that is to seal the stone. A sealer will reduce the likelihood of scratches, stains, and etching and will give you some peace of mind so you can relax and admire your beautiful stone countertops, in addition to putting them to good use. There are a lot of sealers on the market but our recommendation is to do some research and buy a premium sealer to ensure it provides maximum protection.
Advantages of Countertops
Natural Stone Beauty
Resistant to Cracking
Uses for Granite in Your Home
Granite is one of the oldest and most reliable natural stone options for countertops, floor tiles, fireplace surrounds, and more. Practically everyone has heard of it but few really know the unique characteristics that make it much sought-after building material.
Is Onyx the Right Choice for Your Home?
Onyx is a truly enchanting natural stone with a long and fascinating history. Used throughout the ages for jewelry due to its exceptional properties when carved, this luxury stone is also quarried and sold as slabs for use as countertops, fireplace surrounds, vanities and as a decorative showpiece that makes an impressive design statement. Once one of the most prized stones in a variety of ancient civilizations, onyx is now highly sought after for its unique appearance and for the fact that it is one of the few stones that can be backlit due to its translucency.
As a rule, onyx is one of the most brittle and delicate natural stones you can install as a countertop. For this reason, it is recommended that you only use it as a countertop in an area of your home that does not see heavy use. Instead, onyx can shine as a custom bar countertop and is used by a lot of commercial bars as a wow factor to dazzle their patrons. If you are building or renovating a bar in your home, then onyx can be a great choice and creates a fantastic atmosphere that is sure to have your guests singing their praises.
Calacatta is a marble that is also quarried in the city of Carrara but has some distinctive differences from Carrara marble that make it highly sought-after by homeowners. Calacatta is characterized by a clear, white background and thicker, impactful veining that can be grey or gold/brown but is sometimes a combination of some or all of those colors. The veining here tends to be more distinctive than Carrara marble and less linear as well.
Choosing the Right Natural Stone Tiles for Your Home
Natural stone tiles are one of the most durable and aesthetically appealing flooring choices. Whether you are thinking of installing them in your bathroom, kitchen, living room or outdoors, stone tiles can provide you with years of enjoyment if you know how to select the right materials. Everyone has different tastes which need to be taken into account and combined with the more practical requirements when making an informed purchase. This article seeks to provide you with the necessary information to choose tiling for your home with confidence.
always brings to mind luxury and prestige and if those are elements you wish to invoke in your interior design goals then it may be the stone for you. As a tile option, marble can really tie a room’s design together and is the perfect choice if you want to make your floor one of the main attractions in your home. Marble comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns and is incomparable when it comes to sheer aesthetic appeal and overall value. Although certainly one of the more expensive options, if properly maintained marble will most certainly raise the property value of your home over the long run.
Limestone tiles are a great choice if you’re looking for something with an understated and natural look that can be installed in or outdoors. The subtle light tones of limestone make it ideal when you don’t want to draw too much attention to your floor and it allows other design elements to shine. There are always exceptions to this rule but for the most part, you should be considering the lighter tonalities in your design process if you are using limestone. Not many materials can give you a better bang for your buck, limestone is one of the cheaper options available for tiles while still being highly functional.
Slate is an exceptional stone for floor tiles, having a great deal of slip-resistance and it is considered one of the safest floor tiles and has the resilience to last for decades. Furthermore, it’s unique and varied appearance give it a quaint sort of charm that makes it feel like you’ve placed a piece of nature inside your home. Slate tiles are also extremely reliable as an outdoor option and can provide a perfect complement to your lawn or garden from a design perspective.
Travertine is a form of Limestone that is created near mineral spring deposits and comes in a variety of earth tone hues. Its name is derived from the Italian word ‘travertino’ and in fact, Italy is renowned for its travertine production with some of the best quality slabs and tiles coming from that region of the world. Although travertine’s color options are somewhat limited, the shades that are available really do represent some of the best of a natural stone look and feel. Rustic while still being elegant, you can see the history of how the stone was formed through the various lines and mineral deposits on a travertine tile. If you want to be surrounded by an atmosphere of tranquility that comes from having a piece of mother nature in your home, travertine tiles may be the best choice for you.
Granite makes for the most durable tiles of the bunch so if you are going to be installing tiles in an area of your home that sees heavy use, granite can get the job done. In addition to rock-solid durability, granite tiles are available in a variety of colors and patterns that can complement the other design elements in the room. Granite tiles are perfect for high-traffic areas in your home such as a foyer, kitchen, or living room. Because of granite’s inherent durability and resistance to wear and tear, your tiles can last for decades with a minimal amount of maintenance.
Carrara gets its namesake from the city in Tuscany where it’s quarried and is one of the most frequently used marbles on the planet, with a history dating back to the construction of ancient Rome. Carrara marble is characterized by a light grey background dominated by soft and feathery grey veins. The veining on Carrara marble tends to be thin, long and linear, without much empty space on a typical slab. The veins are often not clearly defined and appear to blend into the surface of the stone, instead of standing out.
Carrara and Calacatta Marble: What’s the Difference?
Both Carrara and Calacatta are white and grey-based marbles from the same region in Italy, they are distinctly different stones with their own unique character. Which one you choose will depend on your aesthetic preferences and budget but know that either material is a fine choice for a variety of applications. A lot of people are concerned with using marble as a countertop due to the fact that it can etch, stain, and scratch easier than other natural stones such as granite and quartzite. We wrote an article about this issue that will inform you if marble is the right choice for your countertops and also another article on cleaning and caring for marble that will help you maintain your stone after it is installed.
Best Practices for Maintaining Your Marble
Let’s begin with some general rules that should be followed to ensure your marble is kept in ideal condition. Firstly, make sure that you apply a high-quality sealer to the surface of the stone to help prevent your marble from absorbing liquids and getting etched. There are many varieties of sealer on the market, make sure to go with an Impregnator Sealer, which absorbs into the stone and fills in microscopic holes to repel water and other liquids from seeping into it. Secondly, marble is particularly susceptible to citrus, tomato sauce, vinegar, and other acidic food substances. For this reason, you should make sure to use coasters, cutting boards, and anything else that makes sense to separate acidic liquids from potentially touching the stone. The same goes for oily materials such as cooking oil and dairy products, which can leave quite a deep stain if left unchecked.