MARBLE GRANITE AND NATURAL STONE
Perusing slab yards is always an adventure. At first, it’s novel and exciting. Granite and marble and limestone, oh my! But aisle upon aisle of stone can trigger shopper’s overload. How can you tell them apart? Which one is right for you? Is Brazilian granite superior to Indian granite? And what to make of the enticing labels? Is Verde Butterfly Extra going to make your life better than Verde Butterfly Non-Extra?
Take a deep breath. We have answers for you. While subjective things like shades of off-white, stone names, and design trends can be dizzying, there is one tool that can reliably help you cut through the confusion. I’m talking about science, my friend.
Aside from the obvious fact, that science is super cool and sexy, there’s a real advantage to this approach: you will learn for yourself how stones perform. By experimenting on stone samples, you’ll not only gather key bits of information, but you’ll also gain confidence in the real-world attributes of various stones. There’s nothing like your own personal experiences to reassure you that your stone is going to tick all the boxes for your situation.
Match the properties to the purpose
The first step is to assess your primary needs. A hardworking kitchen countertop in a family home might require durability as the top priority. A bathroom floor might favor.
If possible, make a list of the properties that are most important to you before you head to the showrooms. That way, you can zero in on the types of stone that fit your criteria, and avoid the potential heartbreak of falling in love with slabs that don’t match your requirements.
Camera and notebook to document your findings
As you evaluate various types of stone, be sure to explain to the sales staff that you’d like to do a little “sciencing” on some samples. Many dealers are happy to provide samples of stones that you’re considering. This is a smart practice because an educated customer is likely a satisfied customer. Fabrication shops are another source of potential samples, and the scrap bins offer a treasure trove of stones to satisfy your geologic curiosities.
Ideally, industry professionals will appreciate your desire to be as informed as possible and can accommodate customers who want to ‘test drive’ stones before committing to a purchase. Who knows, perhaps salespeople will be similarly curious about a stone’s performance and can help guide your investigations. In an age where information is passed along so easily, sometimes without regard for context or validity, it’s in everyone’s best interest to engage in our very own, science-based fact
Quartzite might just be the hottest natural stone at the moment. If quartzite were on Instagram, it would have thousands of followers, and as with any other celebrity sensation, people would wonder in hushed tones, “Can that be real?” “Looks too good to be true.” Or, “I’m not sure if I can trust it.”
With its marble looks and granite toughness, sometimes quartzite does seem too good to be true. And because of widespread mislabeling, sometimes it really isn’t true. One of the downsides of quartzite’s popularity is a tendency for a quartzite label to be put on stones that aren’t actually quartzite. Thus, the burden falls on local dealers, fabricators, and consumers to try to figure out if a given quartzite is the real deal or if it’s one of many imposters.
Overall, this isn’t a terrible thing. Quartzite is pushing people to look beyond aesthetics and use the properties of the stone to determine what it is and how we should use it. Looks can be deceiving (and alluring!) but a stone’s inherent traits are something we can rely on every time.
Case in point, the most common mixup around quartzite is that marble is sometimes incorrectly called quartzite. Thankfully, this question is easily resolved with hardness and etching tests. Quartzite is hard; marble is soft. Anyone with a glass tile can easily tell the difference. The details are spelled out in The Definitive Guide to Quartzite.
Sandstone and quartzite are similar but different
Lately, I’ve been seeing a new wrinkle: sandstone being labeled as quartzite. This one is trickier to resolve because sandstone and quartzite are made of the same mineral – quartz – and they have similar properties. Both sandstone and quartz have a hardness of 7 and will easily scratch glass. Neither will be etched by common acids.
So how do you tell sandstone and quartzite apart? And does it even matter?
The bottom line is, yes, you can tell quartzite and sandstone apart by examining their textures. And, yes, it does matter in terms of porosity. Moderately porous stones are perfectly usable, but should be sealed in certain applications (such as countertops or flooring) and may be more prone to staining. Given the choice between an accurate name or a generalized, semi-true label, we should always go with the former. As always, the key is to evaluate what stone you have and what its properties are before you commit to using it
Michelangelo’s sculptures. The ancient Greek temples. Castle interiors and palaces. When we approach the history of architecture and sculpture, it is inevitable that we speak of marble. Originating from a chemical reaction in limestone when exposed to high pressures and temperatures for thousands of years, this notable material is a metamorphic rock generally found in regions where volcanic activity has occurred. Its extraction, by itself, is already a spectacle.
The extraction process takes place in nature reserves in large rocky mountains and is executed by professional teams and equipment specific to the activity. The first piece of rock extracted is called a bench or board and is about. wide. From it are cut out smaller blocks, approximately, which will later be sliced into smaller thicknesses for the manufacture of countertops, floors, cladding, and other objects. Although marble extraction leaves a significant environmental impact, almost everything extracted is eventually used. Large parts are used for bigger, more expressive projects, while surplus pieces can be used in the formulation of paving blocks or for the manufacture of granites and memories. Even marble powder can be used to increase the physical properties of structural blocks.
With its characteristic veins and many potential shades, including white, gray, pink, green, and black, marble continues to impress today and is used in civil construction for interior coverings, floors, benches, and some facades. Its aesthetic prominence has gained such heights that some patterns of porcelain and other materials that seek to imitate the design of marble are quite popular.
There are main types of finishes for marble:
Raw: The marble is just sawed off and left as the rock was removed from its deposit.
Polished: The most popular finish. By polishing the surface, the texture of the piece is replaced with a smooth appearance and gloss.
Tumbled: This is an intermediate finish, which gives an opaque and smooth appearance, maintaining the natural color of the rock.
Brushed: Consists of brushing with diamond abrasive brushes on the rock surface, leaving the surface slightly uneven with a slight satin shine.
By D.C. Bhandari, CEO, Bhandari Marble World