Types of Stone

Dolomite

A Marble-type stone that contains high amounts of magnesium and is harder and more brittle than pure marble.

 

Granite

A very hard, crystalline, platonic rock (formed far below the surface of the earth by slowly cooling magmatic bodies) of various colors consisting of feldspar, quartz (crystalline -2-silica) and smaller amounts of other minerals. Granite is very hard and more resistant to damage than marble, making granite more difficult to harm and correspondingly more difficult to restore than marble. Care of granite is similar to marble except more work is required, however the work is required less often. As a practical matter, a final high gloss finish on granite is generally achieved by using power driven Polishing tools and fine Grit diamonds.

 

Limestone

A highly porous rock consisting of calcite mainly from marine sedimentary origin that has not been re-crystallized by metamorphic conditions or precipitated from mineral springs. Some very compact limestone’s may be polished to a high luster.

 

Marble

A commercially applied term to any marble, limestone, or dolomite that can take a polish. The term marble is also commonly used by those unfamiliar with different stones to refer to any polished natural stone. Pure marble contains 99% calcium carbonate (CaCO3) and is formed by re-crystallization of sedimentary limestone when subjected to metamorphic conditions. Metamorphic conditions occur in the presence of heat and pressure below the earth’s surface. The limestone melts and crystallizes into marble, a highly compacted crystalline structure with uniformity of grain and hardness which can be polished to a high luster. During this process, minor impurities such as chlorides, sulfur, silicates, iron and organic residues mix into the limestone producing varying colors and veining in the stone.

 

Onyx

An agate-like stone often translucent with a layered appearance. It is formed in cold mineral springs by calcite precipitatio.

 

Industry Terms

 

Acidity and Alkalinity

Opposite terms designating a reactive condition at which substances exist. Acidity in its simplest definition is the term applied to a solution with a pH of less than 7. The lower the pH, the stronger the acidity and the higher the pH, the stronger the alkalinity. A neutral pH (i.e. neither acidic or alkaline) is, strictly speaking, 7; but the neutral zone, with regard to stone, is approximately 6 to 8. Another term for alkalinity is basic and substances which are basic are called bases. Acids and bases are reactive to each other. Marble and calcite stones are basic substances and therefore react with acids. Hence, acidic substances such as vinegar and carbonated beverages can cause Etching of marble. Granite and siliceous stones are not basic and, in fact, are chemically much less vulnerable to damage from either acidity or alkalinity.

 

Abrasions

A marring of the surface of marble caused by physical trauma. The marring is generally very slight and homogeneous such that there is no distinguishable border and has no perceptible depth.

 

Buffing

Using a non-abrasive pad attached to a machine which rotates the pad in a circular fashion over the stone, generally between 150-300 RPM. Polishing formulations containing micro-fine abrasive materials are used with buffing to produce a more reflective gloss on the surface of stone. Waxes are also used with buffing to enhance the gloss of polished stone.

 

Coating

Any material that clings uniformly to the outer surface of the stone. Under some circumstances acrylic, plastic, or wax materials are used as surface protectants or for cosmetic enhancement

 

Cleaning

The process by which dirt, oils, or foreign materials are removed from the surface of natural stone.

 

Dullness

A decrease in the reflective quality of the stone polish.

 

Etching

A chemically induced marring (marking) of the polished stone surface creating dullness. Depending on the severity, etching may create a tangible roughness on the stone surface. Etching is generally caused by acids; this typically occurs when food or acidic drinks contact marble or Limestone.

 

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