The use of natural stone in the building industry has been popularised in recent times by modern minimalist designs. Architects, interior decorators and building contractors are coming up with amazing ways to showcase the natural stone patterns and texture as a unique feature in modern homes. However, there are several things you should take into account if you want to build with natural stone.
Marble Floor Tiles
The marble stone market has grown considerably in recent years with more people investing in the marble floor, wall and kitchen tiles. In the past, marble was very expensive and was only used in luxury homes and high-end hotels. Apart from its quality, the rarity of marble was a key contributing factor to its price.
Cost of Marble Stone
For a long time, the skills and equipment necessary to cut marble stone for construction purposes were only found in Italy and Greece. Raw marble would be mined and shipped to Italy from countries like Brazil and Afghanistan to be cut and processed into construction grade slabs. The cost of transport and labour would automatically trickle down to the final consumer’s bill.
Now, countries have invested in the marble processing technology and infrastructure allowing production facilities to be built nearer to the quarries. As a result, several quarries and marble production centres have been established all over the world, effectively reducing the cost of marble. Today, besides Italy, the leading producers of marble in the world include China, Brazil, Turkey and India.
Characteristics of Marble
Marble is suitable for floors, bathrooms, kitchen countertops and a wide range of applications due to its special characteristics. Here are a couple of marble’s defining features.
- Durability & Strength: Since marble is formed under extreme pressure, its molecules are densely packed together making it one of the hardest luxury construction materials available. The combination of its elegant surface and robust structure make it a dream material for designers and contractors all over the world.
- Water Resistance: Marble has low porosity; this means that it is not easy for water to get under its surface. This makes marble easy to clean and safe from water damage. It’s no wonder the stone is famous for long lasting kitchen countertops and bathrooms.
Travertine is a special rock that was originally discovered in Italy. This natural stone, like marble, originates from limestone. Travertine is formed under immense heat and pressure in hot springs and limestone caves.
Characteristics of Travertine
While some people think Travertine and Marble are different names for the same stone, they couldn’t be further from the truth.
- Porosity: Travertine has tiny holes or pores in its structure caused by the escape of carbon dioxide molecules during its formation. These make natural travertine susceptible to water and acid corrosion. If you use Travertine for your floors, you will need to apply sealant layers to protect it.
- Soft Colours: Unlike marble, Travertine does not have a natural shine. The presence of impurities in its formation such as iron creates unique patterns and soft colour combinations. Travertine can range in colour from ivory to gold depending on the amounts of impurities the stone has.
Natural stones have unique characteristics that can only be brought out with the touch of well-trained craftsmen. If you use the natural material well, it can give your home the perfect balance of art and structural integrity.