Information you should consider when choosing natural stone products for your home.
General Information about the stone
Natural stone flooring — 300 million years in the creation, to be a part of your home or business today.
RMS™ Natural Stone and Ceramics offer something no other flooring can: a piece of history. Designers and Architects have always been drawn to natural stone for use in their most significant works, such as cathedrals, monuments, museums, houses of government and, of course, homes.
While there are countless advantages of Natural Stone, today the most practical is the re-seller value Natural stone flooring will add to your property, as unlike other flooring solutions, Natural Stone only improves with age.
Today Natural Stone is no longer a product out of reach to the every-man with advances in technology helping to make the labour-intensive process much more affordable and RMS™ Natural Stone and Ceramics passes those savings directly onto the consumer.
However, to begin, we must first understand the three basic forms of rock from which stone floors are carved:
Granite is the most common example of igneous stone, whereas Limestone and Travertine are both examples of sedimentary stone. Marble and Slate are examples of the metamorphic range of stone.
But where does this stone come from? Any stones route begins in a quarry. At RMS™ Natural Stone and Ceramics, we personally select the individual blocks of stone which are cut from the earth and transported to a processing plant. Here the blocks are cut into slabs which then go into a fabricator to be cut, shaped and polished.
Natural Stone quarries are found throughout the world and RMS™ Natural Stone and Ceramics searches the globe to selects only the highest quality product to bring back to our shores.
How Stone Flooring Is Made
Stone Floorings journey begins with molten earth. Allowed to cool and then harden for 300 million years. Once uncovered all these years later, the stone is sliced and polished. But as with any good formula, the unique technique is paramount.
The word “quarry” originates from the Latin word for “squared.” Back in ancient times, quarrymen would cut building blocks from the quarry. In some places the methods for cutting the stones remain the same, with some artisans cutting by hand with only very simple hand tools.
However, these artisanal quarryman must compete with modern day high-speed tools and controlled explosives can extract stones with speed and efficiency, which is what, allows a stone floor to be affordable to the every-man.
Once removed from the earth, blocks of stone are taken to a processing plant where they are cut into slabs. High-speed gang saws fitted with several blades, make simultaneous parallel cuts. This part of the process takes about two days to completely cut a 20-ton block of stone. Doing this by hand is possible; however it can take years longer.
Spit and Polish
A polishing machine will use spindles which rotate polishing pads at high speeds over the stone. The machines generally allow a variety of finishes, from a rough, rustic texture to a mirror-like surface.
During the polishing process, the slab is also calibrated. Calibration is a process of machine honing the back of the piece to either a smooth or ribbed finish. This also ensures the same thickness for the whole slab.
The Stone Fabricator
This stage of the process is the customisation for specific installations. Fabricators take large slabs and sharpen the edges and polish them up with a series of small diamond-studded and water-cooled saws or router bits.
For example: If the slab is destined to become tiles, it is cut down into smaller squares in a range of sizes. Then each tile is sent through for a final polish.
So now you know the how and where the only question which remains is; where will you use it in your home?
Stone Flooring Styles Review
Just like you, every stone floor is unique with a one-of-a-kind presence and personality.
Travertine is a crystallized, partially metamorphosed limestone, formed by natural mineral springs. It has a honeycombed structure and stereotypically comes in two varieties: natural or filled. The colours are generally warm, from almost ivory to dark brown.
Sealing: Travertine has a particularly porous surface, and will require resealing over time.
Limestone is usually referred to as the “young” marble, formed from the consolidation of seashells and sediment. Each stone will have a certain amount of surface pitting, fossilized shells, fissures and mineral striations, as well as a degree of edge chipping.
It’s a perfect choice for dining rooms and bathrooms, available in a range of colours from ivory to golden brown to black.
Sealing: protect the stone’s natural beauty Limestone should be sealed.
Sandstone is a sedimentary stone that is primarily composed of loose grains of quartz sand that are rough in texture. Compressing sand and water over time forms this coarse-grained rock, sandstone is a hard, yet very porous stone.
Sealing: must be thoroughly sealed when used as flooring.
Granite is formed from liquid magma — the substance found at the core of the Earth — it has nearly the hardness and durability of diamond. Once polished, its high-gloss finish will resist scratching making it an ideal choice for any kitchen floor.
Granite is found in a variety of rich colors: from “Black Galaxy,” a luxurious black stone with small white or gold crystals, to “Tropical Brown” filled with tan, brown and black flecks.
Marble is a metamorphic rock made up of crystallized limestone, which was made famous by the buildings of Ancient Rome and Greece. Available in a range of different colour variations, all typically includes a dazzling vein pattern of colour that contrasts with its base colour.
Since marble is more porous than granite, it’s more susceptible to staining and not the best choice for kitchen floors.
Slate is composed of clay, quartz and shale and as a fine-grained metamorphic rock, it splits into sheets easily. However, Slate is highly versatile and adds a rustic appearance to any room. The natural “clefting” along the surface gives it a unique layered look. It’s very dense and can be used for floors, walls, and roofs. Slate is also water resistant, which makes it ideal for outdoor applications like patios and pool surrounds.
Slate comes in every colour imaginable and will adapt beautifully to every room in your house.
Essential to any Stone Flooring is the Finish. Here’s a quick briefing on finishes.
A honed surface will produce a matte or satin finish by stopping short of the last stage of polishing. This will result in the stones showing fewer scratches and requiring little maintenance.
An acid-washed finish is designed to create an antique finish. Once the stone has been polished, it is washed in acid, which removes the shine and reveals the crystalline structure of the stone. With this finish, scratches rarely show.
Tumbled stone has a lovely smooth or slightly pitted surface and broken or rounded edges and corners. The tiles are usually smaller and are often used in borders or decorative strips.
A polished surface will create a mirror-like finish. Fabricators use a progressively finer polishing head to bring out the beauty of the crystals within the stone.
A flamed finish is achieved by a blowtorch being passed over the stone, heating the surface crystals until they explode. This leaves a rough, unrefined texture ideal for areas like your bathroom.
Split-faced finishing makes the texture rough but not as abrasive as a flamed finish as hand cutting chiselling at the quarry exposes the natural cleft of the stone.
Brushed stone simulates the look of wear over time. This is achieved by brushing the surfaces of the stone with hard plastic or metal brushes. This action removes the softer parts of the stone and creates a worn-down look.
If you’re looking for flooring that is beautiful, unique and timeless, then RMS™ Natural Stone and Ceramics may have the answer you have been searching for.