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Stone Geology

What is Granite?

Granite is an igneous rock formed due to the slow crystallization of molten magma deep in the earth's crust. Uplift and erosion have resulted in this material outcropping to the surface over millions of years. The minerals, which make up granite, are generally quartz, feldspars, and other minerals. These materials' size, distribution, and precise chemistry give granite its color. Granite can be worked to achieve finishes such as hand-tooled, flame textured, shot blasted, acid washed, honed, or polished to a mirror finish—an excellent choice for kitchen countertops.

What is Marble?

Geologically this is a limestone that has re-crystallized through the action of heat and pressure (metamorphism) while still retaining properties of the original material (i.e., its chemistry and possibly its relic sedimentary structures). Marble takes on an excellent polish and is available in various colors, patterns, and veining characteristics. Composed essentially of calcite, natural weathering processes will cause the marble to lose its color and polish more quickly than granite. Because of this, it is primarily used on indoor applications. Marble is ideal for bathroom and fireplace applications.

What is Limestone?

This material was initially deposited as soft sediments being laid down as beds underwater by various chemical, biological, and physical processes. Over millions of years, the sediments were buried, compressed, and became cemented by precipitation from mineral waters contained therein. The majority of limestones are composed of calcium carbonate. Dolomite limestones are chemically magnesium carbonate. Limestone with a porosity of 5% and takes a full polish is called hard limestone (i.e., travertine) and is primarily used for flooring and bathroom vanities.

What is Slate?

A slate originates as sediment, usually a fine-grained mudstone. Through the action of burial, compression, and heat, a mudstone will develop progressively from shale and then to a slate. The definitive characteristic of slate is its slatey cleavage, which enables the material to be split into parallel sheets. Certain English green slates originated as volcanic ash deposits deposited in water. As a roofing material, the slate should last well over 100 years. It is suitable for flooring, fireplaces, and walling and can be flamed and honed. It is the most durable natural stone in extreme atmospheric conditions and is used for swimming pool surrounds, flooring, and bathroom shower installations.

What is Travertine?

Travertine is a natural stone material from the limestone family. It is made of calcium carbonate and is usually found in deposits near warm or hot springs that were frequently used in ancient times as a building material. Because travertine is such a porous material, it should be sealed before use in construction or renovation projects. It is most commonly used for countertops and flooring but may also be used in showers, tub surrounds, and exterior decor.

One might think that since stone can withstand the ravages of weather and outdoor elements, it is unlikely to be damaged when used in the home. Aside from its obvious beauty, durability is one element that leads people to choose natural stone for home building and home improvement projects. Travertine is susceptible to heat, scratching, staining, and acidity, including citric acid, so it should only be cleaned with special products designed for use on natural stone.

What is Onyx?

Onyx is a semiprecious stone often found in fine jewelry and ornaments. Its refined beauty and elegance have made it the ultimate luxurious building material. Noted for its unique translucent quality, onyx is often used in illuminated applications.

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