Where does Natural Stone Come from?
Natural stone has been the premium building material of choice since the beginning of time. Quarried from rock beds formed over millions of years, natural stone used in residential and commercial settings comes from all parts of the world, including Italy, Spain, the U.S., Brazil, Canada, China, France, Israel, Greece, India, Mexico, Germany, Taiwan, and Turkey. We quarry our stone within the Western region of the US.
What is the difference between the Natural Stones?
Ideal for foyers, bathrooms, floors, and hearths
Marble is found in the mountainous regions of Canada, Italy, Germany, Spain, the U.S., and other countries worldwide. Because of its beauty and elegance, marble is a popular choice for countertops, floors, foyers, fireplace facings and hearths, walls, and windowsills.
Marble adds a sophisticated element to your home, and its wonderful appearance, superior engineering characteristics, and ease of maintenance makes it a natural choice for floors, wall coverings, table tops, and bathroom walls, floors, vanity tops, tub decks, and showers.
Another option for marble-loving homeowners is using another natural stone – serpentine – for kitchen counters. Sometimes called the “green” marble, serpentine is not a true marble but offers a marble-like look. And, because it is magnesium-silicate based, it is not sensitive to citric acid and other kitchen spills.
An excellent choice for kitchen countertops, floors, and other heavily used surfaces
Granite, quarried from the mountains of Italy, the U.S., India, and dozens of other countries around the world, is one of the most popular natural stones on the market. Available in a striking array of colors, granite’s durability and longevity make it ideal for kitchen countertops and other heavily used surfaces, including table tops and floors.
While some synthetic surfaces scratch easily and melt under hot cookware, granite resists heat. Granite is also one of the most bacteria-resistant kitchen surfaces, and it is not affected by citric acid, coffee, tea, alcohol, or wine. It is also nearly impossible to scratch, and with proper cleaning, will not stain under normal use (ask your professional contractor about sealants available to further improve resistance to staining).
Because of its exceptional strength, granite is well suited for exterior applications such as cladding, paving, and curbing.
TRAVERTINE, LIMESTONE, SANDSTONE AND SLATE:
Beautiful enhancements for your home, inside and out, they are other examples of natural stone frequently used in residential applications.
Travertine is a type of limestone and one of the most popular natural stones for interior flooring and exterior wall cladding, interior and exterior paving, statuary, and curbing. It is also widely used in vanity tops and sinks. It is popular for its matte (honed) finish, rather than high-gloss (polished) look, that makes it appear more natural. It is available in a variety of edging and neutral shades from creams and browns to golds and reds.
Limestone is widely used as a building stone because it is readily available and easy to handle. Popular applications include countertops, flooring, interior and exterior wall cladding, and exterior paving.
Slate is a popular flooring material and sandstone and slate are often used for exterior paving stones, or pavers. Other sandstone applications include fireplace facings, chimneys, garden walls, patio benches, and poolside. Additional slate applications include kitchen countertops, fireplace facings, tabletops, and roofing.
Things to consider when using Natural Stone
You have many options when it comes to beautiful, long-lasting natural stone for your home’s interior and exterior: Slate, granite, onyx, travertine, and sandstone, just to name a few. Choosing a natural stone for your home is a very personal decision, much like selecting wallpaper or artwork.
While there are scores of natural stones to consider, some are better suited than others to particular uses in and around the home.
Natural stones are available in a beautiful spectrum of colors. Color in granite and marble, for instance, can range from soft beiges and pinks and classic black and whites to rich corals, greens, and multi-colors. Some stones features swirls and veins of colors, while others have a flecked, pebbled or even fossilized appearance.
Unlike the repetitive sameness of materials produced by machine or assembly line, natural stone’s naturally varied appearance has wonderful character and creates a one-of-a-kind effect everywhere it is used.
Natural stone can be polished, honed, brushed or flamed for a distinct appearance:
A polished finish has a flossy surface that reflects light and emphasizes the color and marking of the stone. This finish is typically used on walls, furniture and countertops, and floor tiles.
A honed finish is a satin-smooth surface with relatively little light reflection. It is generally preferred for floors, stair treads, thresholds, and other areas where heavy traffic will wear off a polished finish.
Brushed and flamed finishes are different treatments done to the face of the stone to give it a soft (brushed) or rough (flamed) texture. This look gives the stone a more rustic appearance and is frequently used on floor tiles.
The harder the stone, the more it resists abraision. One measure of a natural stone’s strength is its Measurement of Hardness (MOH) rating, on which 1 is the softest and 10 is the hardest. On the MOH scale, most travertine and marbles rate 3-4 and quartz-based granites and slates rate 6-8. Using a softer stone simply requires the owner to use gentler cleansers and more frequent dusting to prevent scratching.