Q. What is Granite?
A. Granite is the most popular stone type used in countertop applications today. Granites are some of the hardest of the common countertop stones, offering high levels of resistance to abrasion and scratching. Granites are made up of several different minerals, each mineral having a different hardness. Granites contain quartz, feldspars, biotite, amphibole, ferrous titanium oxides, and other mineral combinations. Limestone is a sedimentary stone with at least 50% calcite or calcium carbonate content. Almost all limestone is composed of grains or fragments of biologic origin, ranging from fossils to dinosaur bones. Most limestone is marine in origin, composed of micro-sized fossils of marine organisms like the shells found on most beaches. It is very common to find pieces of shells in limestone tiles.
Q. What is Slate?
A. Slate is a metamorphic rock exhibiting “slaty” cleavage, which allows it to be split in thin sheets. Slate is formed in the water of rivers and ponds from clay accumulating in thin, flat layers at the bottom of these waterbeds. Slates are softer than granite and therefore vulnerable to scratching and abrasion. Slate has a natural cleft (not a smooth surface).
Q. Slate Disclaimer
A. Please be aware that slate is a natural stone. Because of this, slate (as well as all natural stone) will have variance from piece to piece and from lot to lot. Different quarries, even though mined from the same part of a certain Country, will have high variation.
This is the natural beauty of the product.
Note that if you are trying to add to a slate job that was installed previously, it maybe difficult to get the same tones in any new batch of slate purchased.
Also note that slate is a sedimentary rock which is composed of compressed layers of stone. It is a natural occurrence of slate to “peel” or slake especially in freeze thaw areas. It is not recommended to allow water to stand on natural slate as it may cause the slate to “rust” due to the natural mineral components within the stone. It is highly recommended to place a good quality sealer on all slate products.
Q. What is a Sealer?
A sealer cures as a film on the stone surface. Since the material is actually covering the stone, the appearance of the stone surface may be altered by the application of this type of product. This material will provide somewhat of a sacrificial layer over the stone, and will absorb most of the wear on the countertop. Since the sealer is softer than the stone, normal use of the countertop will result in abrasion of the sealer surface and dictate reapplication to maintain the original luster of the surface. A properly applied topical sealer will normally reduce, although not eliminate, the vulnerability of calcareous stones to attack from mildly acidic solutions.
General Precautions. When any surface protection product is used, care must be taken to read and follow the Manufacturer's written instructions accurately. This will provide the greatest benefit from the application and will guarantee safe handling of the product.
Q. What is Travertine?
A. Travertine is a calcium-based stone. Travertine is generated by the deposit of calcium carbonate resulting from water springs and streams running through the stone. Every time a drop in pressure or change of temperature occurs, the water releases carbon dioxide as gas, much like carbonated beverages. This gas causes holes to form in the travertine. These natural pores are still going to be present once the blocks are cut into tiles. The amount of holes depends by how compact each travertine type is and it varies greatly by the type of travertine. The pores present in the tiles can be filled with a paste made of cement and pigments. However, it is important to note that these void spaces are a distinctive character of travertine tiles and they are always going to be present to a certain extent.
Q. What are some disclaimers for installing Travertine Tile?
A. Within the first 12 – 18 months of installation of a stone floor, especially filled and honed travertine, you can expect 5 – 10% of the floor, especially in high traffic areas, to experience exposure of new holes. This occurs due to the nature of travertine itself; a capillary filled stone. When the tiles go along the filling line, the machine can only fill the holes that are visible at that time. However, there are other holes/pores lurking just below a razor thin surface of stone just waiting for that first rubber heel, chair, etc. to expose them. As mentioned prior, you will notice this most frequently and visibly in high traffic areas. This is not a defect of the stone. It is a normal and expected occurrence with travertine.
To remedy this issue, it is best to wait at least 12 months, for most of the shallow pores to expose themselves and begin to fill the exposed holes/pores. At this time, clean out any loose debris in the exposed area – do not dig or stick sharp instruments into the hole as that would exaggerate the problem and could possibly open up more holes than would not occur normally with natural foot traffic. Make sure the area around the void to be repaired is sealed well as to not allow any new grout to adhere to the stone’s surface. Fill the holes with regular sanded or epoxy grout (whatever color is deemed appropriate to match the stone). After this application is fully completed, make sure these newly grouted areas are sealed with any regular non-solvent based stone sealer.
Q. What are some basic tile care instructions for Porcelain and Ceramic?
A. Porcelain and ceramic tile is resistant to germs and bacteria and it is also among the easiest of flooring materials to clean. You can clean your porcelain tile with a damp sponge mop. A solution of 1/4 cup of white vinegar to 2 gallons of water works best- allowing time for drying. You can also sweep or vacuum. Although the glaze of a tile is impervious, it is still possible for its surface to discolor from certain chemicals.
Q. What is Natural Stone?
A. Natural Stone is not manufactured; it is a product of nature. Blocks are removed from the quarry, slabs are cut from these blocks, and the slabs are further fabricated into the final stone to be installed. Each block is different; each slab is different. Skillful blending or matching of the dimension stone blocks, veneer panels, tops, etc., results in a beautiful blending of nature's variety and man's design. In contrast to the uniformity of materials produced by machine or assembly line, stone's naturally varied appearance has wonderful character. "Uniformity of material," when applied to natural stone, is a term of relative value that needs to be understood when making a selection.