Natural stone slabs are one of the oldest and most reliable building materials on the market. Offering one of a kind designs with a variety of benefits, it’s no wonder why natural stone has been the go-to option for thousands of years.
What is natural stone?
Natural stones are a product of the Earth that result from geological changes and mineral compositions that have been occurring for millions of years. These materials are quarried from Earth’s surface and used for a variety of projects such as: sculptures, countertops, fireplaces, flooring and more.
What are the types of natural stone?
There are many different types of natural stone. Each kind has its own set of properties that make it unique.
Granite is among one of the most popular natural stones on the market. It is one of the hardest and most durable materials, and requires little maintenance. Granite is ideal for a number of projects including countertops, fireplaces, outdoor projects, floors and more. It comes in a variety of colors, textures and finishes.
With its unique appearance and durable features, Limestone is among one of the most diverse stones. It is used both indoors and outdoors in a variety of projects including road construction, building materials and more.
Although marble is more susceptible to scratching and staining, it has an elegant appearance that is attractive to many homeowners. Marble is a classic natural stone. It has been the go-to material for architectural projects for many years.
Onyx is one of the most unique natural stones. Although it is not as durable as other stones, it has translucent properties and the ability to be backlit, making it ideal for statement walls, fireplaces and art pieces.
What Is Black Onyx?
While onyx comes in several colors, the most well-known is black onyx. Historically, it was believed that onyx caused disagreements and conflict, but it’s now celebrated for many positive qualities. Black onyx is a grounding, balancing, and protective stone with several benefits and potential feng shui applications.
Black onyx crystals can be used for grounding, protection, and self-control, and as a shield against negative energy. It also enhances discipline, allowing more ease in following through on goals and completing tasks. Black onyx has a calming quality, which can be beneficial in working with challenging emotions such as grief and anxiety.
Black onyx also helps to balance yin and yang. It helps us to feel centered, make wise decisions, and get to the root cause of issues. It can assist with logical thinking, as well as intuitive receptivity. Black onyx can give us the strength to look within ourselves, to understand the past, present, and future, and to take charge of our lives going forward.
Black onyx is also believed to help with issues related to the feet and bone marrow. It has been used to enhance physical endurance, and to provide support in regaining physical strength after an illness.
Quartzite is a great material for high-traffic areas such as kitchens. It is among one of the hardest and most durable stones, meaning scratching and wear-and-tear will not be a problem. These natural stone slabs also have unique hues that can add extra appeal to any space. quartz, widely distributed mineral of many varieties that consists primarily of silica, or silicon dioxide (SiO2). Minor impurities such as lithium, sodium, potassium, and titanium may be present. Quartz has attracted attention from the earliest times; water-clear crystals were known to the ancient Greeks as krystallos—hence the name crystal, or more commonly rock crystal, applied to this variety. The name quartz is an old German word of uncertain origin first used by Georgius Agricola in 1530. Quartz has great economic importance. Many varieties are gemstones, including amethyst, citrine, smoky quartz, and rose quartz. Sandstone, composed mainly of quartz, is an important building stone. Large amounts of quartz sand (also known as silica sand) are used in the manufacture of glass and ceramics and for foundry molds in metal casting. Crushed quartz is used as an abrasive in sandpaper, silica sand is employed in sandblasting, and sandstone is still used whole to make whetstones, millstones, and grindstones. Silica glass (also called fused quartz) is used in optics to transmit ultraviolet light. Tubing and various vessels of fused quartz have important laboratory applications, and quartz fibres are employed in extremely sensitive weighing devices.
This natural stone is the ideal indoor and outdoor material. Because it is a metamorphic rock, it is dense, durable and resistant to acids and staining. Many home and business owners use slate in high-traffic areas as a flooring material.
Soapstone is a non-porous material that is softer to the touch compared to other natural stones. Because of its softer texture, it can be more prone to scratches, however, these imperfections can easily be repaired using mineral oils.
Travertine has a fibrous appearance, is relatively soft in touch and is mainly used for construction purposes. Travertine is an especially attractive form of limestone. Its fibrous, marble-like texture and attractive earth-tone colors make it one of the most popular stones used for building materials. Historically, much of the travertine used in architecture and artwork came from the mountains of Italy, but today, most of the travertine sold is from Turkey, Iran, Mexico, and Peru. As a flooring material, travertine is typically sold in tile form and comes in a variety of earth tone colors, including tans, browns, rust, and beige hues. It is a very durable stone, and while it is easier to care for than some types of natural stone, travertine is very heavy, and its porousness requires that you seal the surface regularly. It is not appropriate for all locations. But a properly installed and cared for travertine floor can add a unique blend of mountain-born beauty to interior spaces.Travertine is a mid-range stone in terms of cost, but this puts it at the high-end in the entire range of flooring materials. A travertine floor averages about $15 per square foot for materials plus labor. Marble, by comparison, averages around $20 per square foot, and granite averages around $12 per square foot. Laminate flooring, at the low end of all flooring materials, can be professionally installed for less than $5 per square foot. Like other natural stone, though, travertine flooring can vary substantially in price—from as low as $3 to as high as $30 per square foot, depending on the quality and finish of the stone.
Maintaining travertine is paradoxically both complicated and simple. Like other natural stone, travertine has microscopic pores that can allow spilled liquids and staining agents to penetrate.1 This problem can be prevented by applying a penetrating sealer, followed by a barrier surface sealer. This dual treatment needs to be applied during installation, then periodically reapplied throughout the life of the floor. If you want to maintain a glossy surface, more regular resealing will be necessary. But if it is kept properly sealed, travertine is quite simple to clean, requiring only simple damp mopping with a mild soap solution.
Hard tile materials such as travertine are made to take a beating without showing significant damage from scratches, cracks, or chips. Over time, a weathering effect can occur, which is often prized for giving the floor a distinct character that evokes ancient architecture. This antique patina is one of the main allures of travertine.
With polished and honed materials, there is a greater risk of scratching, while natural-finish tiles are more resistant to damage and blemishes. Since travertine flooring is laid in tiles, individual pieces can be removed and replaced if they crack. This involves carefully breaking up and removing the damaged tile, scraping the subfloor, then installing a new tile with thin-set adhesive, and grouting the joints. If the surrounding floor has weathered, however, the patched area may not match exactly for some time.
Where can I use natural stone?
Natural stone slabs have become a popular choice for many homeowners. These versatile materials can be used both indoors and outdoors in a variety of places including countertops, flooring, landscaping, fireplaces, walkways, vanities and more. There is no limit to what you can do with natural stone.
Why should I use natural stone?
There are endless benefits of using natural stone. Not only are natural stones unique and beautiful, they are durable, easy to maintain, environmentally friendly, versatile and can add value to your home.
marble, granular limestone or dolomite (i.e., rock composed of calcium-magnesium carbonate) that has been recrystallized under the influence of heat, pressure, and aqueous solutions. Commercially, it includes all decorative calcium-rich rocks that can be polished, as well as certain serpentines (verd antiques).
Petrographically marbles are massive rather than thin-layered and consist of a mosaic of calcite grains that rarely show any traces of crystalline form under the microscope. They are traversed by minute cracks that accord with the rhombohedral cleavage (planes of fracture that intersect to yield rhombic forms) of calcite. In the more severely deformed rocks, the grains show stripes and may be elongated in a particular direction or even crushed.
Marbles often occur interbedded with such metamorphic rocks as mica schists, phyllites, gneisses, and granulites and are most common in the older layers of Earth’s crust that have been deeply buried in regions of extreme folding and igneous intrusion. The change from limestones rich in fossils into true marbles in such metamorphic regions is a common phenomenon; occasionally, as at Carrara, Italy, and at Bergen, Norway, recrystallization of the rock has not completely obliterated the organic structures.
Most of the white and gray marbles of Alabama, Georgia, and western New England, and that from Yule, Colorado, are recrystallized rocks, as are a number of Greek and Italian statuary marbles famous from antiquity, which are still quarried. These include the Parian marble, the Pentelic marble of Attica in which Phidias, Praxiteles, and other Greek sculptors executed their principal works, and the snow-white Carrara marble used by Michelangelo and Antonio Canova and favoured by modern sculptors. The exterior of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., is of Tennessee marble, and the Lincoln Memorial contains marbles from Yule, Colorado, Alabama (roof transparencies), and Georgia (Lincoln statue).
Even the purest of the metamorphic marbles, such as that from Carrara, contain some accessory minerals, which, in many cases, form a considerable proportion of the mass. The commonest are quartz in small rounded grains, scales of colourless or pale-yellow mica (muscovite and phlogopite), dark shining flakes of graphite, iron oxides, and small crystals of pyrite.
Many marbles contain other minerals that are usually silicates of lime or magnesia. Diopside is very frequent and may be white or pale green; white bladed tremolite and pale-green actinolite also occur; the feldspar encountered may be a potassium variety but is more commonly a plagioclase (sodium-rich to calcium-rich) such as albite, labradorite, or anorthite. Scapolite, various kinds of garnet, vesuvianite, spinel, forsterite, periclase, brucite, talc, zoisite, wollastonite, chlorite, tourmaline, epidote, chondrodite, biotite, titanite, and apatite are all possible accessory minerals. Pyrrhotite, sphalerite, and chalcopyrite also may be present in small amounts.
These minerals represent impurities in the original limestone, which reacted during metamorphism to form new compounds. The alumina represents an admixture of clay; the silicates derive their silica from quartz and from clay; the iron came from limonite, hematite, or pyrite in the original sedimentary rock. In some cases the original bedding of the calcareous sediments can be detected by mineral banding in the marble. The silicate minerals, if present in any considerable amount, may colour the marble; e.g., green in the case of green pyroxenes and amphiboles; brown in that of garnet and vesuvianite; and yellow in that of epidote, chondrodite, and titanite. Black and gray colours result from the presence of fine scales of graphite.
Bands of calc-silicate rock may alternate with bands of marble or form nodules and patches, sometimes producing interesting decorative effects, but these rocks are particularly difficult to finish because of the great difference in hardness between the silicates and carbonate minerals.