Natural Stone – It’s Classification and How to Care Them

Natural stones has been used for centuries to create beautiful roofs, floors, and walls. A property with natural stones which is properly installed and maintained can lasts for hundreds of years. What are the types or classifications of natural stones? How to take care of them so that they can lasts for several years? Listed below are the answers from the questions previously stated.

Limestone. A sedimentary rock composed largely of mineral calcite. Limestone is important for masonry, and architecture, vying with only granite and sandstone to be the most commonly used architectural stone. Limestone was most popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Train stations, banks and other structures from that era are normally made of limestone. Limestone is used as a facade on some skyscrapers, but only in thin plates for covering rather than solid blocks.

Sandstone. These sedimentary rocks originated as loosed grains or rock materials, predominantly quarts but occasionally feldspar or some other minerals. Sandstones are very resistant to weathering yet are easy to work. Thus, this makes sandstone a common building and paving material. Some types of sandstone are excellent materials from which to make grindstones, for sharpening blades, and other implements. The cement of sandstone may be rich in various materials; Silica, Iron, Calcium Carbonate, all of which contribute to the final color and characteristics of the sandstone. Sandstone beds also posses natural jointing systems.

Granite. A common and widely occurring type of igneous rock. The minerals which make up a granite are generally quartz, feldspars and various mafic minerals. Granite is nearly always massive, hard and tough, and therefore it has gained widespread use as a construction stone. Granite can be worked to achieve every type of finish from traditional hand tooled, flame textured, shot blasted, acid washed, or honed to highly polished mirror finishes.

Natural stone which are properly maintained and cleaned can last a lifetime. There are several tips on how to care them. First, as much as possible dust mop floors frequently and clean surfaces with mild detergent or stone soap. After washing, thoroughly rinse and dry the surface with soft clean cloth. Spills on natural stone surfaces should be wipe out as soon as possible. To protect floor surfaces, do cover it with non-slip mats while place trivets or placements on countertop surfaces. Do not use cleaners that contains acid on marble and limestone surfaces.

There are several natural stones and the above listed are the most common. Limestone, sandstone, and granite are commonly used natural stone in the stone industry. The brief tips are listed above which provide essential guide on how to take care natural stone especially the limestone, sandstone, and granite. Hopefully, this guides could help every home owners in many ways.

Natural Stone Types and Granite Countertops

There are many different types of natural stones in the world and each has their own unique beauty, characteristics and applications for use. We have been able to identify some of the more popular stone types along with their properties, advantages and disadvantages and the most suitable usage in your home.

There are three different types of stones; Igneous, Metamorphic and Sedimentary. The Igneous stone is formed by cooling, or solid-state transformation of molten or semi-molten material in the Earth’s upper mantle or crust. Because it is formed under extreme pressure and high heat, this type of stone or rock tends to be very strong and dense. The Metamorphic stone is formed from any preexisting rock type in the Earth’s crust under variable conditions of high pressures, high temperatures, chemistry, and time. This process produces mechanically deformed stone and chemically altered the mineral assemblages of the parent stone. Metamorphic stones tend to be some of the most beautiful, colorful, and highly figured of any of the dimensional stones. Note that many of the metamorphic stones are up to 3.8 billion years old.

The last being the sedimentary stone which falls into one of two categories: Detrital sedimentary stone and chemical sedimentary stone. Detrital stone is the naturally cemented accumulation of solid granular particles or materials derived from both mechanical and chemical weathering of any existing rock. Examples include limestone and sandstone.

Limestone and Sandstone can both be used for fireplaces, vanities, flooring and furniture. They are very soft, porous, scratch and require maintenance. Sandstone has a very rustic look with fossils while Limestone has a very unique look & feel, and is also available in multiple finishes. Limestone has actually become quite popular for kitchens.

Chemical sedimentary stone is formed from the precipitates of chemicals like salt that are the dissolved weathering products of any existing stone. Chemical weathering yields soluble salts that in turn are deposited into pools and springs. This process yields stone such as onyx and certain Travertine. Onyx has a translucent and stunning appearance, scratches very easily and is quite soft. Onyx can be used for furniture, architectural & design elements, fireplaces and for powder rooms. Travertine has a cloudy formation when cross cut it gives it a more unique look, it is softer than marble and limestone, and it has many larger voids and stains. Travertine is suitable for vanities, floors, fireplaces and dryer locations.

Granite is an example of an igneous rock; it has a very high concentration of quartz, making it very hard and difficult to scratch. It is heat resistant (under 1,500 Fahrenheit), stain resistant and impervious to acids. There are extraordinary selections and finishes of granites available. It can be used anywhere; kitchens, floors, wet/dry, and for indoor and outdoor applications.

Quartzite is another example of an extremely hard stone yet classified as a metamorphic stone; it is one of the hardest stones used in commercial applications.It was originally formed from sandstone, quartzite generally is found in muted earth tones: grays, whites, browns, and yellows. It is very hard, dense and acid resistant. It is harder than granite and has exceptionally low moisture absorption; it is suitable in any application, though cost may be a consideration.

Another example of a metamorphic stone is Soapstone. It is one of the most unusual stones used in the commercial market today. Soapstone is soft and carveable and is resistant to acid. It is also one of the most popular stones used in kitchens today. Soapstone is an excellent choice for fireplaces surrounds as it absorbs and releases heat evenly. In order to keep it looking dark and vibrant, it is recommended that countertops be treated with mineral oil every six months.

Marble is also a metamorphic stone, it is classic with an “old world” look, it develops character with age. It is porous, scratches, stains, etches and requires care and maintenance. Marble can be used for vanities, fireplaces, furniture tops and kitchen countertops as well if honed. Serpentine although most closely related to marble, is technically not a “true marble,” it is by definition a metamorphic limestone. Often called a “green marble,” serpentine is usually dark green with white veining. This look is sought in luxury bathrooms and grand entrances alike. It is a relatively hard stone and does not scratch as easily as a “true marble.” It is acid and scratch-resistant making it a great choice for kitchen countertops. Other applications are floors, vanities and any dry locations; it is not good for showers or for any other wet applications as it could tend to warp over time.

Slate is another metamorphic stone that has been used as a durable roofing material for years. It generally comes in dark gray shades with hues of blue, purple, green and brown. Slates hardness varies significantly. Softer slates are best used for flooring and non-stressed architectural elements, like fireplaces. It can also be used for counters and vanities. It is rustic, stain resistant except for oils and does requires maintenance.

It is very important when considering a project, to ensure that the right material is used for the application. Every stone has specific characteristics. Using the wrong stone in an application can lead to material failure, damage, or other conditions. Knowing which stone to use in an application only comes from years of experience and you should always consult with an experienced stone professional.

Facts About Natural Stone

Used for thousands of years for building materials, weapons, tools and other uses, natural stone is one of the finest and first things that man learned to utilize, and continues to utilize today in our homes. Found on our walls, floors, countertops, memorials, art and architecture, stone is largely used today as a strong, sturdy and beautiful flooring material that lasts through the test of time with elegance and grace that most other materials simply cannot compare to. Stone that we use today for its shining surfaces are some of the very same used thousands of years ago; like limestone surfacing, which was used by the ancient Egyptians in their pyramids and other important structures.

Natural stone come in a myriad of colors and densities and can be cut to form basically any shape imaginable, making it one of the more versatile materials known to man. Basically coming in three different types-igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary-each type has its own list of uses, positive and negative qualities. Igneous stones like granite are made of small bits of other stones; sedimentary stones like limestone and travertine are very soft and fine and marble and slate are prime examples of metamorphic stones that start out as another stone but are changed by intense heat or pressure.

When properly maintained and cared for, stone is one of the longest lasting materials known and can easily outlive our own generations. There are certain tips and guides to follow in how to keep your specific stone tile looking as beautiful as they day that you had it installed, and some stone does come with specific warnings and things to be cautious of, but generalized cleaning tips do exist. It takes a very devoted hand to keep stone looking perfect because it can be so easily damaged if neglected, but the upkeeping process is actually very simple.

Something as easy as sweeping daily to keep small particles off the floor, gentle cleaning with very mild soap with no acidic properties, thorough rinsing and drying as well as optional buffing for a high quality shine is really all that you need to do to keep your floor beautiful. Installing preventative measures like soft mats, coasters on the feet of furniture and removing or wiping your shoes off before you enter the room are all very easy and logical steps to take.

When used outside, stone is a wonderful thought for walkways, patios, paving, decks, swimming pools and fishponds. Because it is all natural, it can stand the test of the weather far more gracefully than most man-made products, and can also provide a sense of nature in your yard. Surrounding other main areas of interest inside and outside your home, firepits and hearths also make fine use of natural stones because they are resistant to heat and actually may look more authentic and lovely with some use. Even something as grand as a memorial or sculpture completely carved by stone is an elegant and steadfast thing to behold that will stand the test of time with minimal upkeep compared to others. All of these reasons and so many more make natural stone the answer to so many things, and will no doubt be the very reason it will be used even further in the future.

Cultured Stone Versus Natural Stone Fireplaces – Pros and Cons

Looking to boost the beauty and value of your home with a stone fireplace? Think about it: stone is as sturdy and as classic as the best investments come. If you are mulling over the stone to use in your new construction project, check which do you think will fit into the style, weather and feel of your home; it’s either going to be in natural stone or cultured stone.

Natural stone is the investment per excellence; it is pricier, weightier, and a testier work of art to handle compared to cultured stone. Your options for this category tend to be limited, too. Granite, Marble, and Limestone are the typical options.

Cultured stone products can however be designed to “match” the stone surface type you are going after, are typically more striking and durable than real stone products for fireplace projects. Imagine also the pleasant bonus of lesser costs. The look of cultured stone is composed of stone aggregates, dyes and lightweight cement. It is said that most sellers of cultured stones offer a half-a-century guarantee against wear and tear.

With respect to natural stone, let’s take a closer look at a perfect representative: natural limestone. A sedimentary rock made of calcium carbonate, the appearance and quality of the limestone is influenced by factors such as the quantity of calcium carbonate in the limestone and the amount of fossil contained in the final product of natural limestone.

Now, zero-clearance fireplaces are more affordable to construct compared to classic masonry block built fireplaces. With zero-clearance fireplaces, the iron fireplace frame is boarded up with plywood. The relatively light weight of cultured stone allows veneers to be placed on these wood surfaces. The stone veneers are held securely in place by a metal lath attached to the wood surface, then by a thin application of mortar

As we have stated, the cost of applying thin faux stone veneers is much lower than real stone given the weight and shape differences. Real stone requires laborious craftsmanship, as is normal for every natural limestone work. It is so much so that the total value will warrant the master worker’s signature to be affixed somewhere on the finished stonework. Another thing about natural limestone fireplaces, in particular, is that the costs for each work will always be according to your own skilled taste and preferences.

An important reason for getting faux stone for your home is that its availability in regular shapes and sizes means you can achieve a variety of stone fireplace designs. As a matter of fact, part of the process when selecting cultured stone is designing the fireplace.

Nevertheless, a reason for thinking twice about faux stone veneers is that it can take in moisture; furthermore, when it is chipped, when chipped, the surface has a mark that is glaring. Consequently they be demanding in terms of care and maintenance. Watch out also, and be careful about falling on to recurring and redundant patterns in your design which ought to look natural.

Thus, quo vadis, faux stone or natural traditional stone? A lot will actually depend on how you and your master craftsman work together to achieve the result. Faux stone veneers look and feel like real stone, and enables stunning stone fireplaces to be built at a fraction of the cost of traditional stone.