How and When to Use Natural Stone

uses for natural stone

How and When to Use Natural Stone

Stone is an excellent building material, classic in its nature and symbolizing constancy and durability.

Stone is an excellent building material, classic in its nature and symbolizing constancy and durability. It has been used for thousands of years to construct buildings, such as churches and government structures, that are still standing today. Natural stone does not decay, does not rot, does not burn, and can easily be cleaned. It is the eco-friendliest of all building materials, coming from the earth, requiring little modification, and eventually returning to the earth in the same form.

It is an attractive material, coming in a range of colors and textures. Each variety of stone has its own strength and weakness, bringing with it qualities that render it best for use in special situations.

How to Choose the Right Natural Stone

When choosing the natural stone that will be right for a project, determine first the purpose for which the stone will be used. Clearly, an outside wall will be different from stone work inside a building. Ask whether it will be exposed to the outside elements throughout its life and determine which kind of stone will work best in such a situation. Will it be used for countertops, patios or walls and to what extent will it be used?

Second, decide which impression you are trying to achieve with the stone. If the stone is to be used inside a building, determine how the stone’s natural beauty will complement other features within the building. Clearly the appearance of a stone wall outside a building will be different than stone used to beautify a wall inside a building.

Third, consider the strength and weakness of the stone that you will select for a project.

Granite and quartz probably work best for countertops as they are both resistant to scratching and stains. They also come in a variety of colors to complement the decor in a home.

Marble would be the stone of choice were the purpose to decorate a wall, a floor, or perhaps a bathroom. It also comes in a wide variety of colors and can be treated to provide a matte or gloss finish, depending on where the stone will be used and the purpose to which it will be put.

Travertine is available in a variety of colors and is one of the most widely used stones in building, particularly for tiles and patios. Because it is limestone, it is porous and can have holes. It can be polished to a high finish.

Onyx gives designers the opportunity to create something different. No two pieces are exactly alike, giving designers the chance to develop one-of-a-kind displays. Because it is translucent, it can be backlit, for example, to create impressive effects.

Benefits and Applications of Natural Stone

All natural stone is strong and durable. It can survive fire to extremely high degrees. It cannot easily be broken down or destroyed. It never needs maintenance, does not need to be painted or repainted and seldom needs to be reinstalled unless a different color or texture is required. Tests have shown that granite and quartz do not harbor germs when used as countertops and are easily cleaned.

Natural stone can also add a touch of old world charm to a fireplace or to a wall in a house.

By contrast, other materials do not have the qualities of natural stone. Wood can burn and rot. Most wood needs to be repainted over time. Metal can rust and will break down. Porcelain is less eco-friendly than stone, is harder to match with existing products, and is more difficult to cut and shape than travertine.

As a result, natural stone is the product of choice wherever the qualities that it brings with it are required.

Difference Between Stone Slabs and Engineered Slabs

Manufacturing – Stone slabs are cut from real natural stone, whereas engineered slabs are manufactured using a process that crushes the natural stone and then mixes resigns and other materials to produce a substance that is harder and more flexible than many kinds of natural stone. It also can be more resistant to mildew and mold that many natural stone varieties.

Because engineered slabs are less stable in sunlight, they are usually regarded as unsuitable for use outdoors.

Quality – Engineered stone is more subject to the effect of heat than natural stone. It contains resins that can melt around 400 degrees, whereas natural stone can withstand temperatures as high as 4,000 degrees.

When used as countertops, engineered slabs can be damaged by the sudden application of high temperatures and manufacturers suggest that hot pots should be placed on trivets rather than directly on the surface itself. Natural stone can be polished to a higher gloss finish than engineered stone, but natural stone can be more brittle.

Cost – The price difference between engineered stone and real stone is about equal in the middle ranges. Some granite colors are more costly than engineered stone.

The Different Types of Jerusalem Stone

The most popular material used for building in Israel, Jerusalem stone has a religious and symbolic meaning that goes beyond the stone itself. The Western Wall, which is visited by people around the world, and which dates back to Bible times, is built of the stone. Buildings that use Jerusalem stone go back some 3,000 years or more. Because the law requires all buildings in Jerusalem, including large stores and offices, to use the stone, it gives the city an impressive and uniform look, setting it apart from all other major cities. Jerusalem stone is mined from the mountains and hilltops of the city and the adjacent areas. It is found in three varieties, limestone, dolomite and dolomitic limestone, which are turned into stone that is fit for building. They are found in a range of colors, from white to pink to beige. Numerous Jewish institutions in other parts of the world incorporate Jerusalem stone into their synagogues as a reminder of their identity with the city and Israel.

Carmel Stone Imports is a major West Coast Importer and Wholesaler of unique and exotic first-rate quality natural stone. We are located along the Central Coast of California in Sand City next to Monterey, Carmel and Pebble Beach, and are approximately two hours south of San Francisco, one hour north of San Jose and four hours north of Santa Barbara.