Natural Stone 2016-12-06T12:14:48+00:00

Natural Stone

In addition to selecting a stone color and pattern, the suitability of its properties for the intended use must be considered. Stone being chosen for countertops or vanities should be nonabsorptive, resist stains, and be heat and impact resistant. Stone being used in tiles should be sealed in order to resist staining by spilled liquids. Stone being used for flooring, paving, or surfaces subject to foot or vehicular traffic ought to have a semiabrasive finish for slip resistance, such as bush-hammered or thermal. A glossy polished finish will be slick. Most flagstone surfaces are rough enough to be naturally slip-resistant.

Dimension stone requires some specialized methods for cleaning and maintenance. Abrasive cleaners should not be used on a polished stone finish because it will wear the polish off. Acidic cleaners can not be used on marble or limestone because it will remove (i.e. dissolve) the finish. Textured finishes (thermal, bush-hammered) can be treated with some mildly abrasive cleaners but not bleach or an acidic cleaner (if marble or limestone). Stains are another consideration; stains can be organic (food, grease, or oil) or metallic (iron, copper). Stains require some special removal techniques, such as the poultice method. A new method of cleaning stone on ancient buildings (medieval and renaissance) has been developed in Europe: sulfur-reducing bacteria are used on the black gypsum-containing crusts that form on such buildings to convert the sulfur to a gas that dissipates, thus destroying the crust while leaving the patina produced by aging on the underlying stone. This method is still in development and not yet commercially available.

Stone finishes

The surface of a stone may be finished in a variety of ways. Below are some typical terms:

  • Polished finish – a glossy surface which brings out the full color and character of the stone.
  • Hone finish – a satin smooth surface finish with little or no gloss. This is recommended for commercial floors.
  • Thermal finish – a surface treatment applied by intense heat flaming.
  • Diamond sawed – finish produced by sawing with a diamond toothed saw.
  • Rough sawn – a surface finish resulting from the gang sawing (or frame saw) process.
  • Brush-hammered – a mechanical process which produces textured surfaces. Texture varies from subtle to rough.