Weigh Your Options When Choosing Natural Stone
While natural stone has become increasingly popular when building, it can bring a multitude of questions from the consumer. As a stone fabricator, we get asked many questions regarding the differences between various natural stone products.
As a general rule, we do not not promote one product over another. Instead we try to present our customers with information regarding natural products, so they can make a final decision based on characteristics important to them.
Following is a list of some characteristics of various natural stones that may be useful when selling natural stone products:
Granite–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 for its durability and ease in cleaning. There are also a vast array of color choices.
Marble–A very popular stone used throughout the ages. It is a relatively hard material, but is not as hard as granite. Marble is basically classified into four groups which include: Groups A, B, C, and D. These groupings indicate merely fabrication ability, which are based generally on the materials hardness characteristics. It is very popular for fireplaces, bar-tops, and bathrooms. Marble also comes in a wide range of color options.
Limestone–Is a very porous material which offers a more rustic or aged appearance. Caution should be used when recommending limestone for countertops because of the chance for staining and scratching a more porous material. An acrylic-based sealer is recommended to protect the stone which adds a sheen to the appearance. It is popular for flooring, and fireplace surrounds. It comes in several different color options.
Onyx–A semiprecious variety of chalcedony quartz that is used often in jewelry and is considered a gemstone. Onyx is a very beautiful stone with variegated spots and layers, but is also fragile in nature. Special care needs to be taken in the fabrication process. Onyx can be used for furniture, fireplace surrounds, bar tops, etc.
Slate–A rustic material that offers a unique weathered look. It is available in a variety of sizes: 3/4", 1", and 1-1/4" thickness' to suit various application needs. Slate comes in both honed and cleft finishes. It is very popular for flooring and offers a beautiful look. Slate comes in several color options including: black, gray, rust, green, graphite, and plum.
Travertine–A porous material which often begins as a limestone and in most applications is filled. It is made up of large quantities of calcium carbonate formed from hot springs containing calcium rich water that bubble up and then cool down. It is often considered an ornamental stone. Travertine is quite popular for flooring and is sometimes used for vanities, or in bathroom applications. It comes in a variety of colors.
Soapstone–Tends to be light gray in appearance and takes on a darker appearance with aging since it goes through an oxidation process. Sealing with mineral oil is recommended every few weeks for the first year to enhance the oxidation process. Abrasive cleaners such as Ajax are recommended for cleaning as well as a bristle brush. It is may be appealing to people looking for more of an aged, or weathered look for their countertops, or fireplace surround.