HOW IS NATURAL STONE FORMED?
Natural stone is one of the most commonly used materials used in homes and gardens. But have you ever stopped to wonder where your particular stone tiles, bricks, or flooring has come from?
Natural stone was created thousands of years ago when the Earth was just a ball of mineral gases. As these gases began to cool down, they compressed and solidified to form the world we know today. It was during this process that natural stone was formed – the type of stone created depends on what type of minerals were combined at that time. This was a slow process that occurred over millions of years. As the Earth began to settle, many of these seams of stone were gradually pushed to the surface by heat and pressure, creating the large formations we see today.
Stone can come from anywhere in the world, and the type of stone is determined by its origins. There are quarries in America, Mexico, Canada, Italy, Turkey, Australia, and Brazil, as well as many other countries around the globe. Some countries have multiple natural stone quarries, whilst others only have a few. Let’s look in closer detail at where particular stones originate and how they were formed.
Marble is the result of limestone that has been altered through heat and pressure. It’s a versatile stone that can be used on virtually anything – statues, stairs, walls, bathrooms, counter tops, and more. Usually seen in white, marble is also common in black and grey tints, and has great weather endurance.
Quartzite originates from sandstone that has been altered through heat and compression. The stone mainly comes in whites, but can also be found with brown, grey, or greenish tints to it. It is one of the hardest natural stone types, making it an excellent choice for building facades, countertops, and other structures that require heavy duty stones.
Granite was originally an igneous stone that had been exposed to magma (lava) and altered through the exposure to different minerals. The stone is commonly found in countries that have seen high volcanic activity at some point, and is available in a huge variety of colours from black, brown, red, white, and almost all the colours in between. Granite is a great option for kitchens and bathrooms due to its antibacterial qualities.
Limestone is the result of the compression of coral, seashells, and other ocean life together. There are two types of limestone, a harder type that is full of calcium, and a softer type with more magnesium. Hard limestone is often used in the building industry, or ground up and used in mortar due to its waterproof quality.
Bluestone is sometimes referred to as basalt, and is one of the most common natural stones around the world. Bluestone forms through the alteration of lava, and because of this, is one of the closest stones to the Earth’s surface. Basalt is generally darker in colour, and is used as house roofing and floor tiles because of its hard texture.
Slate was created when shale and mudstone sediments were altered through heat and pressure. Available in colours from black, purple, blue, green, and grey, slate has become a popular choice for roofing as it can be cut thinly and withstand cold temperatures with minimal damage. Slate is also often used as floor tilingdue to its enduring nature.
Travertine is created when floodwaters wash through limestone, leaving mineral deposits throughout. As it dries out, the extra minerals solidify to gradually create a much denser material called travertine. This stone is good as a replacement for marble or granite, as it’s much lighter and easier to work with, yet still durable. For this reason travertine is often used on floors or walls, and is estimated to last around fifty years if maintained regularly.
Each type of natural stone needs specific care. When choosing your stone, make sure you know exactly what chemicals to avoid and how to maintain the stone properly. Talk to the experts at Bellstone for more information and advice on how to get the best out of your stone surface.