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Article 15 - Natural Stone in the Home - For SQUIDOO

Article 15 - Natural Stone in the Home - For SQUIDOO

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Published by Michelle Symonds

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Published by: Michelle Symonds on May 17, 2012
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Natural Stone in the Home – Text Modules for Squidoo
 
Choosing Natural Stone Tiles
 
When you are choosing natural stone tiles for your home or garden it is important to knowthat the colour of many natural stones is an indicator of the quality of that stone. Take marble,for example, the more pure white it is the better the quality
 – 
the background colour is anindicator of quality in marble and so is the amount of veining
 – 
quite simply a "whiter white"with little veining is the highest quality you can obtain. But, obviously this is quite rare andvery expensive so you have to make a judgement based on the cost of the marble tiles andtheir level of quality.This is not as easy as it sounds because most tile showrooms will have very bright lights
 – 
 much brighter than those in a home
 – 
so a tile will look much lighter in colour in theshowroom that when you get it home. Always ask for a sample to take home and view inmore natural light and make sure it is from the actual batch you are considering. All naturalstone is subject to colour variations (that's part of its beauty) even if it comes from the samequarry and manufacturer.Another factor in the quality of marble is the veining; if it is very dark that indicates poorerquality as does indistinct veining so light-coloured but distinct veins are the ideal. Trycomparing various types of tile from different quarries and producers and you will soon getan idea of what type you prefer and the price you might have to pay.Other quality indicators in any type of natural stone tile are the thickness and the tile size
 – 
 thicker larger tiles will always be more expensive than smaller, thinner alternatives, simplybecause larger tiles are more difficult to produce.Because of the fact that they are a natural product any type of natural stone tile can containholes and these are usually filled with epoxy resin before the tiles are polished, but if youexamine the tiles closely you can often see where the holes were. A few filled holes are not aproblem but of the tiles have a lot of holes then, not only will they not look as good, but thiswill indicate that the tiles are not as durable as they could be
 – 
again this will affect cost andyou might have to trade-off your budget with the look and durability of the tiles.Also watch out for inaccuracies in the cutting of the tiles
 – 
cheaper tiles tend to be cut moreroughly, which is fine of you are going for a rustic look but otherwise can cause problemswith uneven grout joints. But even taking into account all of these potential issues, thevariation in colour and texture is part of what makes natural stone so beautiful.
 
Guide to Natural Stone
 
Natural stone floor tiles have a unique beauty and come in an enormous range of coloursand textures suitable for homes from the ultra-contemporary to rustic. But if you areconsidering them for your home it is important to know a bit about them so that you choosethe right type.Natural stone floor tiles have a unique beauty and come in a variety of colours and textures.But if you are considering them for your home it is important to know a bit about them.
Natural stone has been used for flooring for thousands of years in public buildings, places of worship, royal residences and grand houses because of its beauty and durability. Typicalexamples of natural stone are limestone, granite, slate and marble and they are all carvedout of rock that has been quarried. Quarrying and then carving the stone is a labour-intensive process that for thousands of years was done by hand. More recentlytechnological advances have meant that the process can be mechanised with the use of advanced tools and the consequence of that is that natural stone tiles have becomesubstantially more affordable. Although there are still traditional craftsmen who cut andpolish the stone by hand.Natural stone quarries, both ancient and modern, exist in many parts of the world fromEurope to India, Asia and North America.
How are Natural Stone Tiles Made?
Large sections of rock are first cut from the earth using either explosives or diamond cuttingequipment, depending on the type and hardness of the rock and its physical location. Theselarge blocks of rock are then cut into smaller slabs of varying thickness using high-speedsaws and the slabs are polished by machines to give different textural surfaces from rusticto ultra-smooth. Each slab is then cut into a range of smaller sizes suitable for wall and floortiles using special water-cooled saws and given a final polish before being ready for theconsumer.
 Why Choose Natural Stone?
Natural stone tiles come in a huge range of styles, colours and finishes from sleek,contemporary limestone to classic marble or rustic slate so can suit any type of interior.They are both beautiful and unique because, as a natural material, no two tiles will beidentical so your room can have an identity all of its own. The finish is particularly importantbecause it can create a very different look even with the same stone from the same quarry.
 
Typical Natural Stone Types Used For Tiles
 
Travertine
is a type of limestone with a honeycomb structure and a lot of surfaceindentations. These dents can be filled with resin for a smooth surface or left unfilled for atextured surface. Colours range from pale creams to dark reddish browns.
Limestone
is formed when seashells settle in sediment, which over time hardens tosedimentary rock so fossilised shells are a typical feature. Colours range from cream togolden brown.
Granite
is an igneous rock so is a very hard stone making it extremely durable; it comes inan enormous range of rich colours and is commonly used in the home for kitchen worktopsas well as flooring.
Marble
is familiar to all of us from the ancient classical buildings of Rome and Greece andthe many famous Italian sculptures. It comes in a variety of different colours typically withcontrasting veining but the darker marbles are not suitable for wet areas because of theirporosity.
Slate
is composed of clay, quartz and shale and has a rustic appearance due to its naturallayered look. Because it is water-resistant it is frequently used for floor tiles but is also usedfor roof tiles and patio tiles.
Natural Stone FinishesPolished
for a glossy shine which may need regular maintenance to preserve the shine.
Honed
for a matt or satin finish which is more resistant to scratching and needs littlemaintenance.
Acid-washed
for an
 
antique look which reveals the crystal structure within the stone and ishighly scratch-resistant..
Flamed
for a rough texture which is perfect where a non-slip surface is required
 
 –
 
createdby using a
 
blowtorch on the stone until the surface crystals explode.
Tumbled
for a smooth but slightly pitted surface with uneven edges for a raw, natural finishtypically used for small tiles and decorative border tiles.
Brushed
for a naturally worn look suitable for restoration work in old buildings
 –
created bybrushing the tile surface wil metal brushes.
A Short History of Carrara Marble
 

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