1. ALL ABOUT NATURAL STONE
- Natural stones are not manufactured, it comes from nature. They are quarried materials, which mean they are extracted from earth in block form and then cut and polished. Each block is different from the next.
- Natural stone is classified into three basic categories, depending on how they are formed:
- Sedimentary – Many layers that are compressed together over time. Examples of sedimentary rocks include limestone, sandstone and amber.
- Igneous – Formed when magma solidifies. Granite, basalt, pumice and obsidian are types of igneous rock.
- Metamorphic – Created when sedimentary, igneous and pre-existing metamorphic rock are changed by heat, pressure and chemically reactive waters. Examples include slate, quartzite and anthracite coal. Marble is also a metamorphic rock, formed from limestone.
- Rocks in these categories can be broken down further into two categories:
- Calcareous stone – composed mainly of calcium carbonate, a chemical compound commonly found in natural stone, shells and pearls. It’s sensitive to acidic substances and requires different cleaning methods than siliceous stone. Examples include marble, travertine, limestone and onyx.
- Siliceous stone is made of silicates like quartz, feldspar, mica etc. It is usually resistant to most acids found in the kitchen or bath. However, they can contain trace levels of minerals that are acid sensitive. It tends to be very durable and relatively easy to clean. Types of siliceous stone include granite, slate, sandstone and quartzite.
- Natural stones are unique and come in a variety of colors and patterns. Not two slabs are exactly the same. It is immensely popular because of its durability and it has a timeless quality that never goes out of style. It is a proven fact too that it adds value to any home.
- VERY IMPORTANT TO KNOW: Natural stones carry characteristics that many consider imperfections. Deep veining, color variation, small blemishes and fissures are all part of the natural stone formation throughout millions of years while in the ground. If you are looking for a uniform, consistent material without any of these “imperfections”, engineered (manmade) materials will be a better option for you.
- Some stones are harder than other, however, all natural stones are porous, some more than others. All natural stones can be scratched, but the harder the stone, the less likely it is. There are NO guarantees for scratching, etching or staining. Maintenance procedures and daily usage would determine how the natural stone will hold up.
2. SELECTION OF NATURAL STONE:
- There are no exact rules as far as where you can/should use a certain type of stone, but certain ones may be better suited to a certain project than another. Your contractor, fabricator or designer can help you make the best decisions for your specific project.
- Natural stone can also come in different finishes like polished, honed or leathered. These finishes are mostly a personal preference as they all have a different aesthetic. Once again, your fabricator and/or designer can guide you if what you select is a good option for your project.
- Inspect your stone before you buy it! We have previously spoken about what some consider being imperfections in the stone. To avoid unexpected imperfections in your stone at the time of installation, please be sure to inspect the natural stone slab you are selecting. Make sure it does not contain any specific areas like a deep vein, lines, blemishes that you might not like on your project.
- Fabrication and installation of natural stones require skills, the right tools and equipment. Do some research before hiring a fabricator to do your project. You can buy the most beautiful and highest quality stone, but if you hire someone who is not professional and do not have the necessary experience and knowledge of the stone industry, you might end up being very unhappy.
3. MAINTENANCE AND PROTECTION OF NATURAL STONE:
- As we said before, all natural stone is porous, no exceptions. Some stones are less porous than others, but nevertheless, they can all absorb liquids and can etch and stain. Additionally, acid chemicals and acidic foods and liquids can remove the shine of a natural stone as well as discolor the surface. Natural stones need to be sealed and there are great sealing products available to help with that. The sealers are protecting the stone and give you time to wipe off a spill when it occurs but they can’t stop a chemical reaction that might occur from acidic food or liquid. In such a case, the reaction may leave a dull mark on your stone. Your fabricator is the best person to recommend different sealers and how often it needs to be applied. Please discuss that in detail with them so you feel comfortable in the procedures.
- Clean your natural stone with ammonia free soap and water. This is all you need, but if you feel like using a cleaning product for stone, there are many options on the market. Do not use bleach, ammonia, acid based or abrasive cleaners as they can all damage the stone. Using a cleaner that is not specifically made for cleaning natural stones, may degrade or remove the sealer on your stone, which in turn makes it more vulnerable to stains. Keep your natural stone clean and wipe up any spills when it occurs.
- Use coasters under your glasses and trivets for hot cookware or dishes. Use cutting boards and avoid any object that can scratch or damage your natural stone surface.
VITORIA INTERNATIONAL provides no warranties or guarantees on any natural stone slab for among other things, the wear-resistance of the material or maintenance procedures of the end user.
VITORIA INTERNATIONAL will not accept any claim after material has been fabricated and/or installed.