by: Gardening Man
Interest in all the Natural Stone Tiles continues to escalate, for example limestone, marble, and granite. This family of natural materials requires thorough understanding, laying by a professional tiler and an adequate care and maintenance program. Having said that, it is no exaggeration to say that ceramic tile manufacturers worldwide have become passionate about replicating the look of Natural Stone Tiles. There are ceramic tiles that look like timber, slate, marble, granite and in some cases the effect is so realistic you have to bend down and actually feel the material. That is interesting, because no matter which way you look at it, nobody really spends a lot of time feeling carpet or vinyl, but tile, in whatever form, invites consumers to touch it. It is as if that will impart a better understanding of its aesthetic possibilities or true potential.
Natural Stone cannot be truly imitated. No two pieces are really the same and it is important to recognise that it is necessary to exhibit as much care in material selection at the installation stage as it is at the point of purchase.
It is important to note that maintenance is a key issue, but in spite of potential difficulties, the Natural Stone Tile family offers magnificent potential for the creation of a floor or wall finish that will remain durable and aesthetically pleasing for a lifetime.
Rock that is mainly made of calcite, a mineral form of calcium carbonate, is known as limestone. It forms when the carbonate crystallises out of solution. This can evolve in many different ways, leaving behind a different kind of limestone every time.
Most limestone is typically grey; however, almost every other colour has been found over time.
Limestone can form almost completely without the presence of acid from organisms. It is simply forced out of solution, by evaporation. More often, though, limestone is formed by the work of organisms, such as aquatic ones.
Limestone makes an excellent building material because it can be easily worked. It can even be used for the purification of waste water and gases! Most limestone tends to be of fairly uniform tonality but, as always, the exception confirms the rule – some limestones have strong markings, such as blotches or strong veins.
Marble is a metamorphic rock, formed when limestone is subjected to enormous forces inside the earth’s crust. This process, called re-crystallization, causes changes in texture and composition. Fossilized materials, along with carbonates, form large, coarse grains of calcite. Any impurities present affect the mineral composition and the colour of the marble that forms.
Marble is found in many countries and in all corners of the globe.Today, the quarrying and production of marble is a very involved and highly automated process using a variety of purpose -built machines. Nevertheless, the human eye remains the crucial factor when evaluating and classifying the product.
Marble has long been valued for its beauty and strength; it was and still is widely used in buildings, monuments and sculptures. Even the ancient Greeks used marble for just this purpose; and who has not heard of Michelangelo, the undisputed master from Carrara who used marble for his statues?
Granite is classified as an igneous rock. It is formed when hot magma from the earth’s core cools very slowly and crystallizes. The mineral grains that are formed are large enough to be clearly distinguishable; interlocked like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. This is what makes Granite very strong and durable – ideal for building and construction.
Granitic rock makes up a large part of every continent on this earth. Its main mineral ingredients – quartz, alkali and plagioclase feldspar, hornblende and biotite mica will – determine (by and large) its colour.
On rare occasions, such as volcanic eruptions, the granitic magma cools too quickly to form large crystals. The resulting rock, called rhyolite, has the same mineral composition as granite but is fine grained.
Granite is a popular material for surfaces subject to many and varied impacts, such as kitchen benches and vanities, steps and floors in ‘high traffic’ areas. Some granites have a quite spectacular appearance and are used for their visual impact, such as on facades.
To help you choose the perfect stone tiles for your project, order a free sample from the comprehensive selection at Stone Tiles.
You can also get some great tips by following the UK Tiles Blog.
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