Which type of stone do you have?
Which type of stone do you have?
This harder limestone is also more weather resistant. A type of limestone known as fossil stone contains visible fossils including seashells and plants however this is quite porous and cannot be polished.
Limestone is used to produce benchtops, fireplaces, floors, vanities, ornamental pieces, interior and exterior wall cladding and paving. It is prone to absorbing oil, water and other liquids therefore it must be protected with a penetrating sealer. It can also scratch and is sensitive to acidic substances such as juice and wine. The softer varieties of limestone are not recommended for high stress areas. Colours are usually soft and include grey, light beige to tan, white, pastel pink, green and yellow.
Colours are usually cream, beige, brown, pink, red and gold.
Sandstone was commonly used in the construction of buildings and bridges up to the 1800’s, prior to the introduction of reinforced concrete.
Colours are usually cream, brown, red, grey and sometimes green, depending on the minerals covering and cementing the sand, for example sandstone that contains iron will be red to brown, whereas sandstone with a silica content will be more white.
White marble contains more calcite, yellow marble contains limonite, reddish marble contains hematite and green marble contains serpentine. It also has a wide variety of vein like patterns, which add to its appeal. These veins are created when minerals in the stone liquefy due to the heat in the earth’s crust, then flow through the stone and solidify as the earth cools.
Marble is a popular stone commonly used for its strength and beauty and its ability to achieve a ‘mirror like’ finish when polished. It has been used for centuries as a building material and also to create sculptures, as it is soft but strong. It is a versatile material also used for floors, furniture, vanities, bathroom tiles and ornaments. Although it is fairly resistant to erosion and fire, acidic liquids will etch the surface and grit will scratch it. It is not an ideal surface to use as a kitchen benchtop where spills and scratching are common. Its longevity will be determined by its treatment and maintenance. Sealing with a penetrating sealer is recommended, and will protect the surface from staining. Regular cleaning with recommended products will prolong the glossy look and feel of the marble.
Colours are usually white, red, black, green, yellow and various shades of these colours.
non-foliated metamorphic rock as it is not layered like slate. The pattern in the marble is said to resemble a serpent’s skin, hence its name. Its green colour is mainly due to the magnesium content.
jade. It is not a stone that weathers well and is therefore suited to indoor applications. Unlike other marble and limestone, serpentine is not affected by acidic liquids and therefore can be used for kitchen benchtops. Thin slabs of serpentine may be used for wall panelling, and stair treads. Although it will take a polish it does not have a highly reflective finish.
Colours are usually yellowy green, olive, dark green, brown, grey and black. It usually has a white vein, a soft, waxy feel and an opaque to translucent look.
Onyx is known for its opalescence or translucence, spectacular patterns and vibrant colours. It is not a stone that should be subject to hard wear as it is quite soft. It must be professionally sealed with a penetrating sealer otherwise stains can be difficult to remove. Onyx etches with acidic liquids and must be maintained with care. It can be used to make tiles, tables, hand basins, vases, bowls and ornaments that can be backlit, as the light will shine through the stone. Onyx products are usually highly polished to bring out the beautiful patterns and colours in the stone.
Colours range from earthy reds, browns and greys to a variety of pastel greens, creams, gold, amber and white.
Once installed slate is a particularly durable surface, resistant to wear, especially in areas where there is a large amount of foot traffic. It is heat, fire and weather resistant, non-porous, so spills are not absorbed and highly resistant to acidic liquids. It is slip resistant due to its surface texture and retains warmth. There are some softer slates however that can break, chip and scratch so the environment must be considered when choosing a slate. A good quality penetrating sealer will provide added protection and strength. Slate can also be coated with a wet look sealer to protect it and enhance its appearance.
Colours are usually shades of black, grey, green, brown, yellow, purple, pink and sometimes copper.
Igneous stones are exposed to extreme heat, hence the name ‘igneous’, which comes from the Latin word ‘ignius’ meaning fire. Igneous stone is either ‘intrusive’ or ‘extrusive’. ‘Intrusive’ stone is formed underground where rock located up to 40km under the earth’s surface melts at temperatures of up to 900?c and becomes magma. The magma rises and cools slowly, trapping gases and minerals, and eventually solidifying into stone that has large crystals and a coarse texture. Granite is ‘intrusive’ stone. ‘Extrusive’ stone develops above the earth’s surface. It is formed from lava that flows from volcanos on to the earth’s surface and into the sea, or from volcanos under the sea. The lava settles on the earth or on the ocean floor and cools. The faster cooling process, due to the lower temperature at the earth’s surface and under the ocean, encourages smaller crystals to form. Basalt is ‘extrusive’ stone.
The most popular igneous stones used in building are granite and basalt. Both contain large quantities of quartz and silica, but it is the heavy metals such as iron and magnesium that give the stones their dark colour.
Granite is a hard ‘intrusive’ stone, extremely durable, strong and coarse grained with large crystals, which give it a flecked look. It mainly contains the minerals potassium, feldspar and quartz with small amounts of mica. Most of the continent is made of granite.
Granite is one of the hardest, most popular building materials used in the world and is commonly used indoors for kitchen benchtops, bathroom vanities, floors and furniture.
Polished granite is hard wearing, easily maintained, heat, chip, bacteria, fire and scratch resistant and is not affected by acidic liquids such as juice, coffee, tea and wine when treated with a good quality penetrating sealer. Granite has an ageless beauty, is longer wearing than manmade stones and will retain its colour and finish longer than other stones.
Colours are usually shades of black, grey, brown, red, pink and yellow, which are determined by the minerals trapped when the stone is forming.
Colours are usually blue/grey, green/grey, grey and black.
- Uniform in colour and texture which can save time when matching tiles
- Easy to shape when requiring made to measure products
- Large range of colours and textures
- Affordable compared to natural stone
- Less choice of unique, natural textures and colours (natural stone has a unique beauty because of its natural flaws, textures and colours)
- Less resistance to bacteria after cleaning than granite (as indicated in controlled trials)
Less prestige than natural stone
- Highly resistant to scratching and staining but not totally scratch and stain resistant as often marketed and is possibly still less scratch and stain resistant than granite over time.
- Manufacturers still recommend the use of a cutting board and heat plate for hot pots.
- Some of the most popular products are described below.