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About Natural Stone

For centuries, stone has been used by nearly all civilizations. Each corner of the world and each layer of earth yields

a multitude of stone varieties, and a uniqueness within each stone, giving you a vast palette of possible applications wherewith to create your masterpiece.

Granite

  The only natural stones harder than granite are diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. Therefore,

choose granite when permanence, enduring color and texture, and complete freedom from deterioration and maintenance are prime requirements. Granite is highly heat, scratch and stain resistant, and is commonly used to face commercial and institutional buildings and monuments. It is unequaled as a material for fireplaces, steps, road and driveway curbing, terraces, and to pave plazas and public spaces. Granite is the traditional favorite of countertop materials for its unique colors and patterns, proven durability and lasting value.

   There is a myth that granite harbors bacteria, but it continues to be approved in food and medical applications. In fact, the CDC has no records of granite harboring bacteria. Granite has performed second only to stainless steel in ability to resist bacteria. The hardest natural material available for countertops, it is composed of a variety of minerals such as quartz, feldspar, and mica. Granite is an excellent choice not only for its beauty, but also for its durability and ease in cleaning.

    Granite comes in hundreds of different colors and is quarried in such places as the United States, Canada, Brazil, China, Africa, Norway, India, Argentina, Portugal, Italy, Finland, Russia, Spain, Saudi Arabia, and more.

     Granites usually have a spattered or swirled grain and can contain many colors (minerals). Interior granite applications generally have a polished finish and a busy look, but to keep up with current trends, more manufacturers are producing honed (smooth and unpolished) and flamed (rough textured) surfaces. Exterior applications can be polished, honed, flamed, split faced, bush hammered, or otherwise textured with one of many industry applications.

       You may purchase granite in quarry rough block form by the fabricator, ready for sawing and splitting into smaller sizes, and you may also purchase it in slab and dimensional tile form with a surface finish already applied. You can use granite in almost any application. It has become ever popular in newly built tract housing and apartment or condominium complexes for interior use and overall landscaping designs


Limestone

 This grainstone has a very uniform texture and grade, and has gained worldwide acceptance as a premier dimension stone. Limestone weathers naturally over time and its color mellows and blends into a pleasing natural patina. With no artificial coloring agents to fade and no reinforcement rods to rust, the appearance of limestone actually improves with age.

 The ability of limestone to readily adapt to various architectural styles, along with its pleasing natural color, ease of shaping, and its durability are advantages that have all worked together to maintain the stones popularity throughout the years.

   Whether you are using limestone as trim with brick or other materials, or to maintain the context of the surrounding area, its complementary natural beauty will enhance your project.

  Limestone exhibits no preferential direction of splitting and can be cut and carved in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Thus, it can be sawed, planed, turned on a lathe or hand worked to match the requirements of demanding architectural designs.                    

Limestone has proven its use from simple treads and pavers to landscaping structures and bridges, to soaring cathedrals over and over again.

   One benefit that has made limestone a choice product is the consistency of deposit. While subtle color and grain differences are present, limestone is extremely homogenous for a natural product. This is important, not only for the current project being built, but particularly when future expansions are contemplated.

    When specifying building stone for structures that are expected to endure for generations, limestone is a great choice. Many colleges and universities across the country boast limestone buildings that are over one hundred years old. They continue using this venerable material in new construction, allowing them to match existing buildings and to maintain the context of their campuses.

    Many other buildings throughout the nation have long histories of using limestone as well. These range from private residences to public schools, churches, courthouses, museums, and monumental buildings. When they need additions to existing locations, limestone provides a pleasing match to the original stone.

     A unique characteristic of certain limestone is the fossils and seashells often found embedded in the surface, adding an organic element. Some limestone is very porous, offering a more rustic or aged appearance. Use caution when recommending it for countertops because of the chance for staining and scratching. An acrylic-based sealer is recommended to protect the stone, which adds sheen to its appearance. Limestone is popular for fireplace surrounds, and is ideally suited for flooringespecially in the bathroom and shower.


Marble

   Most people are familiar with marble. From Greek statues to Roman baths, it has been used for centuries in just about every possible interior and exterior application. Marble is relatively hard, but not as hard as granite. Marble basically classifies into four groups which include: Groups A, B, C, and D. These merely indicate fabrication ability, which is based on the materials level of hardness. It is very popular for fireplaces, bar-tops, and bathrooms, and comes in a wide range of colors.

 Marble has the same general properties of limestone and can stain, etch or scratch, but only becomes more beautiful over time and use. Most marble has veining mineral deposits throughout. It is generally thought to be from Italy, but in actuality it is quarried all over the world. Tumbled marble has become extremely popular in the United States in the last few years for backsplash, flooring and shower areas.

   Be aware that green marble containing serpentine needs to be installed in water areas with specific setting guidelines that installers should know of, as water can warp and break it apart. Also, polished marble can be slippery to walk on until a patina has built up on its surface.


Sandstone

  Composed mainly of sand-size mineral or rock grains, most sandstone is composed of quartz and feldspar C two of the most common minerals in the earths crust. Like sand, it can be any color, but most commonly comes in tan, brown, yellow, red, gray and white.

     Some sandstone resists weathering, yet is easy to work with. This makes it a common building and paving material. Sandstone is a very versatile material, applicable for most types of interior and exterior applications, including wall cladding, roofing and flooring.

      Deposits from sand dunes can be recognized by irregular and fluidly shaped weathering patterns and wavy coloration lines when sectioned, while water deposits form more regular blocks when weathered. The regularity of the latter favors use as a source for masonry, either as a primary building material or as a facing stone, over other construction.

       The stone generally has a uniform texture and it is somewhat soft, making it user-friendly for a variety of applications. It is favored for wall claddings and flooring because of its low absorption rate, high compression strength, and aesthetically pleasing appearance.

        Sandstone is a common paving material because it can be highly weather resistant, and for its ability to maintain age and appearance over time, as well as for the different dimensions available. Sandstone pavers can be used for patios, pool surrounds, pool coping, balconies, cladding and veneer.

       Sandstone has been used in some of the worlds most famous structures, including the White House, the Taj Mahal, the pyramids and the Angkor Vat, an ancient Cambodian temple.

Slate

   Slate is a metamorphic rock that is dense, strong, acid resistant and non-absorptive. It is impervious to freeze/thaw cycles and has been used in construction for thousands of years. It is the material of choice for discerning architects, designers, contractors and builders.

    Slate produced in North America comes in a variety of colors, including black, gray, green, purple and red. Many of these slates are available with mottling of more than one color and some of these slates include a color weathering characteristic which adds warm earth tone hues. In addition, imported slate from Asia, Africa and South America can yield tones of gold and copper.

     Slate can be worked with a natural cleft surface or to a machined finish by gauging, honing and polishing. Each piece is unique, with subtle variations in color, texture, shade and veining. Slate is remarkably versatile and will make itself at home in any design style from luxury mansion to back-woods cabin.

     Most commonly used for interior floor surfaces or exterior landscaping, slate also serves as a durable and stain resistant counter top, beautiful pool coping, shower enclosure, pavers, building cladding, and spectacular, fireproof roof covering that can last the life of the building. Easily sawn or trimmed to size, split at any thickness and machined to any finish, slates versatility in design and construction is limitless.

    Many of the worlds most treasured buildings were, and still are, constructed with natural slate materials of one kind or another. These would include well known government buildings, prestigious universities, museums, courthouses, religious buildings and private homes.

Travetine

    Travertine is a sedimentary rock that is formed in hot springs and is sometimes referred to as travertine marble or travertine limestone. Travertine is similar to limestone in mineral composition (Calcium Carbonate), but is uniquely characterized by natural cavities in its surface and the various patterns available. Travertine can be cut in a vein cut to expose the linear patterns of the natural bedding planes. It can also be cut in a fleuri cut or cross cut, which exposes a more random and subtle flowery pattern. The small cavities that are inherent in all travertine are typically filled with grout to create a more durable surface. For some applications an unfilled travertine will create an interesting and unusual surface finish.

      Most commonly seen in tile sizes for indoor or outdoor flooring, travertine comes in a variety of earthy tones complete with a delicate look. Dimensional travertine is also available for use as vanity tops, fireplace surrounds, exterior cladding, and a host of specialty items such as sinks and light switch plates. Travertine is also available in various building stone formats such as splitface ashlar or rubble veneer. For a truly natural look, travertine can be used to complete outdoor patios or garden walkways. The most popular finish for travertine is a honed finish, which is a matte finish. To create a truly unique look, travertine can be mixed and matched with other stones to satisfy individual preferences.

     The most notable uses of travertine are the Colosseum in Rome, the Sacre-Coer Basilica in Paris, and the Getty Center in Los Angeles.


Other Natural Stones

   While granite, limestone, marble, sandstone, slate and travertine represent most building stones, there are countless other options available, such as agglomerate, cantera, flagstone, onyx, porphyry, quartzite, semi-precious stones, shellstone, soapstone and sodalite


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