Learn how Natural Stone Tile is Made

Nature's Art

Discover the Story of Natural Stone.

 

How Natural Stone is Made

Natural stone isn't made by man, it's formed over time by water, minerals and lava. Some stones like travertine, are created by the slow accumulation and layering of materials. Other stones, like marble, are formed when rock is transformed by extreme pressure and temperature. Finally, stones like granite are created when rock is melted by magma and reformed into stone when cooled.

The beauty of natural stone comes from the unique variations in color and veining.

Extraction

Giant blocks are cut from quarries using diamond coated saws. Large cuts are great for efficiency and making large unbroken slab surfaces. Saws are used for clean and consistent cuts, with diamonds providing the needed strength to cut through stone.

Removal

Getting the blocks out of the quarry is no trivial matter. These blocks can weigh as much as 40,000 pounds, about the same weight as 4 African elephants! Blocks are carefully rolled down with heavy machinery until they leave the quarry.

Transportation

Extra care is needed to load and secure these enormous blocks into trucks to be transported to the factory. Getting to the factory isn't always easy. Some quarries are located in remote areas, far away from developed roads.

Cutting

Once at the factory, the blocks are cut into the dimensions of the final product.

Types of Cuts

How the stone block is cut can dramatically alter how the resulting stone looks. Stone is formed over thousands of years as layers of sediment gather and solidify. Cutting across or along these layers will result in very different patterns.

 

Cross-Cut

A cross-cut slices across the layers, exposing large swatches of colorful variation.

Vein-Cut

Vein-cut is sliced along the layers, exposing the long veins of color.

Bookmatching

When the stones are cut into slices, the order is carefully preserved. This allows customers to buy sequential cuts from one block of stone. These cuts can be arranged side by side, creating a mirrored look with a seamless transition, a practice known as bookmatching. Not all natural stone providers offer bookmatched slabs, Bedrosians is proud to offer a large range of bookmatched slabs.

Finish

The stone surface is finished for different effects. Commonly, the surface is finely sanded, creating a smooth polished look. If the surface is sanded slightly less, it creates a smooth matte look, known as honed. Stone can also be finished to achieve more dramatic textures, such as tumbled, split faced, hammered, or brushed.

Care and Maintenance


Stone can last a lifetime, but it needs a little bit of help to maintain it's beauty. Stone naturally contains numerous microscopic holes, also known as pores, allowing spills to seep in, staining or damaging the stone. Sealers fill in the holes, keeping liquids out.

In the pictures below, you can see how sealer can prevent water from being absorbed into the stone.

Types of Stone




Marble

Marble is among the most elegant and luxurious of stones. Marble is a softer stone and can be scratched or damaged by acids used in cooking. Consider using this stone for a floor, backsplash, bathroom, or fireplace but avoid areas like kitchen countertops.

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Travertine

Travertine’s comfortable and neutral color tones along with its various textures compliment any space. Travertine is a softer stone that is suitable for a floor, backsplash, bathroom, or fireplace. The more textured travertines are also appropriate for outdoor use.

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Limestone

Limestone has been quarried for centuries and is popular in architecture and many landmarks around the world. Limestone has been commonly used on a floor, backsplash, bathroom, or fireplace.

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Onyx

Onyx has a naturally beautiful translucence that is truly unique. Due to this characteristic, it is commonly installed with a light behind it to show off the beautiful colors and patterns. Because it is easily scratched, Onyx is most suitable for wall applications like a backsplash, fireplace, or wainscot.

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Schist

Schist tends to have a unique sparkle due to the minerals found in it. Schist is hard, but fragile, so installation may be tricky. However, the final results are beautiful. It is most commonly cut to slab size making it most suitable for countertops.

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Dolomite

Dolomite is great for a lighter grey or white look. It's a stone that is harder than marble, but not as durable as granite. Dolomite makes a great substitute for marble as a kitchen countertop.

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