It is interesting that we depend so much on limestone products for upper scale home building materials. Marble is a metamorphic material and is its primary constituent is limestone. Marble is used for carving and for floors and countertops. In fact, limestone and its cousins are primary building materials. Take gypsum it is chemically CaCO3 which is calcium (Ca), carbon (C) and oxygen (O) while marble is CaSO42H2O being calcium (Ca), sulfur (S), oxygen (O) and hydrogen (H). The common parts are calcium and oxygen. This is important to know when you clean you floors and counter tops. The chemistry of these materials makes them highly vulnerable to acids, even weak acids like vinegar. They will dissolve in acid. That is why with our acidic rainfall that marble monuments that have survived years, century and millennia are eroding and disintegrating. When cleaning a surface that has calcium in it be sure to note any acidity ratings on the containers holding your cleaning chemicals. This includes grout that has some limestone in it. Travertine is another limestone-based material.
Natural Stone Absorption & Likelihood of Stains
Stone materials are rated by absorption. The higher the absorption rate the more likely a material it to stain.
• Non-vitreous is the highest absorption level and should not be uses in moist environments so this rating would not be good in bathrooms or around tubs. Probably not a good idea for the kitchen.
• Semi-vitreous are less absorbent, the more they are exposed to liquids the higher the maintenance level.
• Vitreous is the standard absorption level for flooring tiles and are generally used for low to mid-traffic in both outdoor and indoor applications.
• Impervious are the materials that have the most resistance to the absorption of liquids and thus are the easiest to maintain. They are good for high traffic situations.
There is a grading system used with tiles made of natural materials.
• Grade 1 refers to high-quality, uniform materials.
• Grade 2 are those materials with minor defects, like chips, scratches or irregular surfaces.
• Grade 3 are those materials with major flaws, in size, shape, surface or chipping and are used as accent or rustic decorative applications.
Co-efficient of Friction for Natural Stone
Slippery, the measure of how slippery a surface is the coefficient of friction. This number is important for those who are going to use it in places like bathrooms and kitchens, or in high-traffic commercial areas. The US Americans with Disabilities Act requires flooring materials to have a 0.6 coefficient of friction, measured when dry.
Natural Stone Indoor-Outdoor Rating
Some natural stone can be used inside the home or outside. For those considering a non-vitreous material is should be noted that these materials will stain near the edges, they may also crack from freezing and expansion of water absorbed into the material. Low coefficient of friction will also result in slips during rain or snowstorms. Oxidation natural materials form in deep layers below the surface of the earth. If the material has any iron content it should not be considered as an outside material because the iron with oxidize in the presence of air. Oxidation of iron results in rust and can cause the material to break down over time.
Pros of Natural Stone
• Each piece is a natural creation of nature, each application can be “one of a kind.”
• Qualities that differentiate stone from synthetic materials is that they give an “organic” feel to inside of your home, that makes a connection between you and nature.
• Stones are a natural product, nonpolluting and eco-friendly material. If the stone comes from a local quarry transportation pollution can be held to a minimum.
Cons of Natural Stone
• Natural stone tends be porous and needs to be treated with a sealant to prevent staining and absorption of water. The exceptions are granite and some slates.
• Polished materials like marble can scratch easily.
• Some stone or other materials can chip easily.
Manmade Tile & Natural Stone Restoration in Aliante, Anthem, Desert Shores, Eldorado, Enterprise, Green Valley Ranch, Henderson, Inspirada, Mountain’s Edge, North LV, Peccole Ranch, Paradise, Providence, Rhodes Ranch, Seven Hills, Silverado Ranch, Spring Valley, Summerlin, Sunrise Manor, The Lakes, Tuscany Village & Las Vegas Nevada
Most flooring made of natural materials can be cleaned and refinished to bring out the beauty of the original surface. The pros at Silver State Floor Restoration can refinish the floor and restore to its natural beauty and shine. Stone flooring is a substantial investment and its maintenance and refinishing are best handled by a professional company. Call Silver State Floor Restoration for all your manmade tile and natural stone care needs.