About Stone

What are the different types of stones?
There are various types of stones that are used for flooring and decorative purposes. The most well known ones are marble, granite, travertine, limestone, and slate.

Where do stones come from?
Mountains are the largest source of natural stone. Rriverbeds and sea are also the sources of natural stone.

What are the shinny flakes inside the stone?
Each stone type has different minerals, which gives various properties to stone.

Is one stone better than other? What is the best stone?
Each type of natural stone has unique characteristics that make them harder, softer or shinier. Depending on your application, there are some design preferences of some type over another. For example, limestone tiles are not suitable for high traffic areas but will be perfect for wall applications. Marble Systems only carries stone tiles and decorative natural stone products, which are suitable for interior or exterior floors and walls.

Are some countrie’s stones better than others?
There is a general misconception that some countries produces better stones than other. Natural stones come from the nature itself; they are raw materials for tiles and slabs industry. The manufacturing processes will bring out the beauty of the natural stone. Marble Systems manufacturers have state of the art manufacturing facilities capable of producing high quality natural stone products.

What are the different finishes? What are the differences between?
Finishing stone is similar to sanding process: smaller grit and longer sanding gives stone more shinny polished look, whereas less will make it look more natural. Finish is a design preference. Usually polished surfaces are used where a modern look is sought. They require more delicate care and handling compared to antiqued or tumbled surfaces which have a natural patina and will take a better wear and tear over time. Some stones like travertine have natural holes as a result of sedimentary minerals. These voids or holes can be left unfilled to give even more natural look to the floor. They are also available as filled travertine or you can grout the holes when you grout your joints.

The most common edge types are:
From rough to fine in increasing order: Natural Cleft
Chiseled ( Big Chiseled)
Pave Real ( Fine Chiselled)
Honed With Bevel
Polished With Bevel

What are the different types of edges? What are the differences between them?
As for the type of finishes, the edge finish is also a design preference. Below are the type of edge finishes generally preferred: Straight cut or SC: Tiles are sawn and has a sharp edge. Preferred by customer in Southeast and Southwest for seamless floors without any grout joints. Bevelled: Also called Chamfered, the bevel is used to make installation easier and to eliminate sharp leveling differences on the floor between tiles when grout is used.

What makes an exotic stone “exotic”?
Exotic stones come from very remote parts of the world; they require extra care in production and handling. Due to the weather conditions, seasonal limitations, transportation restrictions, those stones are available in small quantities, therefore they are exotic.

What are the advantages of natural stone over man-made stones?
Do you know a plastic surface that looks fascinating after couple of years? Natural stone is natural and creates a unique atmosphere everywhere it is used. They will not let go of their beauty even after thousands years. Man-made stones are esthetically repetitive and have artificial look. They can wear easily over time and will quickly loose their appeal. In addition natural stones might not need constant maintenance: Take a look at the Lincoln Memorial, or The Pyramids they still look good after all these years, don’t they?

What are the standard sizes for a tile floor? What is the standard thickness of a tile?
Commonly used tiles are 4×4 to 24×24. The tile size is also a design preference however, larger the area you want to cover you might consider using larger dimensions. Most of the interior stone tiles are 12X12 or 18X18, standard thickness is 3/8” on 12X12 and ½” on 18X18. We do not recommend tiles thicker than ½ “ unless you have a concrete floor and have a cement mud installation. Please consult your installer for more information.

What are the decorative stones? What are they used for?
Decorative stones tiles are used for accentuate various surface covering forms. You can use mouldings to frame an art work on your wall. You can use borders to clarify the distinction between your living room and kitchen. The possibilities are immense with mosaics, mouldings, and borders.

What is the temperature of the stone? What are my options on heating floors?
In general natural stone retains heat and cold. It is cooler than room temperature. If you prefer heated floors, please consult your installer for your options.

Choosing the right stone

Are more expensive stones better?
Not exactly. The price of natural stone depends on the capacity of its quarry and its production volume. The higher the production, the less expensive the price is. On the other hand, some of the World’s best stones like carrara or travertines are less expensive due to their enormous reserves.

Is it better to get a lighter color than darker color?
This is strictly a matter of taste. Generally, it is better to use lighter color stones where you don’t have a lot of natural light exposure.

Why would I want to use a porous travertine?
Travertine is a wonderful natural material that gives warm, old world look at affordable prices. Also it is easy to maintain. If you don’t like holes, you can have your tiles grouted by your installer.

Design your space

Would a darker color darken the room?
Generally, it is better to use lighter color stones where you don’t have a lot of natural light exposure.

Why do I want to use natural stone on the wall? Can I use slabs for my wall?
Stone tiles can also be used for bathrooms, showers, and backsplashes where your walls are exposed to a lot of wet and slippery elements. It is also easy to clean and repent water.

Can I mix different stones with different textures in the same room?
Yes, you can. However, it is recommended that you use materials from the same parts of the world to keep some similar characteristics. You can still use different colors.

Where do I use decos?
Decorative natural stones are mostly used to accentuate your tiles, floor and walls.

Stone Care

Will my stone stain? What type of stones are resistant to stain?
We recommend sealing all natural stone with a good sealer like Miracle Sealants. Once sealed, all stone will be stain resistant. Please see your sealers instructions for recommended sealing procedures.

Will my stone change colors or degrade in quality when sealed?
Different sealers have different degrees of changing the stone color. However, sealing the stone will give a slight wet and cleaner look to it. There are sealers without color enhancers and it will almost retain the original look of the stone.

How often do I need to seal my stone?
Depending on the usage, you might seal your stone tiles once a year. See your sealer’s instructions.

You can check out the Marble Institute of America for stone care information. stone care information.

Care & Maintenance

The Importance of Cleaning
The secret to beautiful marble is merely keeping it clean. The cleaning and care of natural stone is different than that of ceramic or porcelain. Proper care of this porous material will allow for durability and beauty year after year. The daily removal of ordinary dirt and soil is a necessary step in caring for natural stone. Sweeping compounds containing oil must never be used on natural stone because they will eventually discolor the surface. Cleaners containing acid or bleach will scratch the surface and ruin natural stone; therefore neutral cleaners should be used. If floor is heavily trafficked it should be cleaned daily and rinsed with clean water until all traces of dirt solution are removed. Natural stone should then be allowed to dry.

Complicated cleaning agents and maintenance procedures will never be needed if the marble surfaces are regularly cleaned. When natural stone is neglected dirt and grease are allowed to accumulate, therefore the surface can be damaged almost beyond repair and cracks can be caused by general deterioration. Improper cleaning materials such as those containing alkali, acid metallic salts or other strong ingredients actually attach the natural stone itself and increase and enlarge dirt catching pores. Soap or abrasive type cleaners should never be used on marble surfaces. This type of cleaner reacts with the natural stone compound to build a soapy scum which destroys the beauty of natural stone and forms a greasy or slippery film that will catch or hold dirt. The use of an abrasive cleaner will result in unsightly scratches on the surface. Abrasive cleaners are almost impossible to remove by rinsing and normal foot traffic will grind the left over abrasive particles into the surface, thus ruining the floor. The ideal cleaner should be first of all, effective in removing soil. Secondly, it should not develop any damaging discoloration or surface film. It should be rinsed free even in hard water

Natural Stone Maintenance Procedures
The care and cleaning of natural stone is quite simple. If the proper procedures are followed, products will maintain their innate beauty and durability for a lifetime. To ensure the best service from natural stone, clean the product thoroughly after installation, and follow up with a regular maintenance program. Immediately after completing installation, wash the floor clean of loose debris, dirt and foreign material. Use clean, soft cloths, sponges or mops and fresh warm water. Allow to dry. A second rinse application may be required to remove any additional film. Apply a thin, even coat of sealer and allow it to dry for 3-5 minutes, removing excess sealer before it dries. If too much sealer is applied, it may be removed by re-applying the sealer to re-activate residue. Make sure to buff it off before it dries. Within 3-5 hours, the finished area can be used for normal foot traffic, but must be kept dry and free of staining agents for 72 hours. It is strongly recommended that the aforementioned procedures be completed immediately after installation and repeated in a regular maintenance program.

Natural Stone Maintenance Products
There are many natural stone maintenance products on the market that can be found in local home improvement stores, floor covering dealer showrooms, and online. Only cleaners designated for natural stone should be used. Products available for natural stone maintenance range from every day cleaning to heavy-duty cleaning and anything in between. Deep cleaners are used for heavy-duty cleaning. These products penetrate the stone to get any unwanted dirt or residue out without damaging it. Other products available include stain removers, etch removers, grout cleaners, polishes and color enhancers. Products may vary by manufacturer.

Natural Stone Sealers
All natural stone should be sealed prior to installation as well as incorporated in your maintenance plan. Because natural stone is porous, it is necessary to use a penetrating sealer. Such penetrating products fill the pits and voids and actually become an integral part of the floor itself. The primary purpose of sealing is to provide protection to the natural stone itself. Ordinary dirt and soil are sealed out of the floor as if all pits and voids have been filled and sealed. They are held on the surface where they can easily be removed. Natural stone floors properly sealed and finished are easy to clean and maintain. Marble floor should not be sealed until the surface is thoroughly cleaned and dried.

After installation, the entire application (grout included) should be sealed again, thus protecting both the stone and grout from color damage. Depending on the sealer, location and use, how often the area should be sealed may vary. It is very important to seal your natural stone to protect against dirt penetration and stains.

There are many different sealers available on the market. Penetrating/Impregnating sealers are generally used on all natural stone, however stone enhancers can be used if a richer color is preferred. Consult your manufacturer for specific product information and instructions.