Stone Compositions- What is travertine? What is granite?

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Avid Tile located in Corona, CA installs a wide variety of natural quarried stones that are imported from around the world. This stone is available in tiles, slabs, decorative trims, listellos and more. Numerous finishes including tumbled, patina, polished and honed are also available. We now have fabrication facilities that can manufacture countertops and other specialty pieces that are custom for your design. Always use a licensed contractor!  Below is a brief overview of different stones we carry and their characteristics:

The principal mineral that composes limestone is Calcite, a testament to the sea-based life forms found many times in its structure.
Limestone formation happens when, given millions of years, layer upon layer, solidification occurs from the immense weight of laden sediment. This sediment contains many minerals which become the coloring agents of the stone. Their color is typically some shade of beige, but may be white, yellow, pink, purple, reddish brown or black. Limestone varies in form due to easy solubility and types of deposits that are found in sea beds' caves and mountains. Different limestones have different levels of hardness. Certain limestones are hard enough to maintain a polish but many more can only be honed. The texture of limestone is typically fine and often the shells that caused its formation are clearly visible. It is the softest of the quarried stones used today, but many times limits the application to only residential.

Travertine is also a sedimentary stone that was formed similar to Limestone. One of the primary differences between the two is that during the formation of Travertine, hot water percolated through the stone thus causing holes and voids that are not always seen in Limestone. Travertine is available filled or unfilled. The "filled" product has the holes filled at the factory and honed. The unfilled product can be left open or filled in the field by the installer (always use a licensed contractor). This product also comes in numerous colors due to different minerals that occurred in the formation process. Our distributors currently provide travertine tiles and slabs from several countries including Italy, Turkey, Peru, UAE and Mexico. The colors range from light crème to dark walnuts and bright golds. The tiles are available in numerous finishes including honed, brushed, tumbled, saw cut and sandblasted.

Granite is an igneous rock that was formed from the hardening of expelled magma following volcanic eruptions. The material cooled inside the earth's crust and thus created the crystalline structure that we have come to be familiar with. If a piece of granite is crushed to powder, one could easily pick out the tiny fragments of separate substances that comprise it. These tiny fragments are mainly feldspar and quartz. Feldspar is the mineral used by nature as a soldering element - to enable the various minerals to adhere to one another. Feldspar is integral to the integrity of granite by fusing the various minerals into crystals. Granite is low in calcium, metallic iron and magnesium... as a result, is it extremely hard and difficult to scratch or chip. Its mineral formation gives granite a higher resistance to the acids commonly found in everything from orange juice to common rain. The prevailing color of granite is gray; however, greens, reds and many other colors are determined by the different kinds of feldspar and minerals present. Granites can come in numerous finishes including polished, honed, flamed, sandblasted and brushed.

Marble is a metamorphic limestone. It is composed of calcite which makes it fairly soft, however easy to work with. It is formed just like limestone. The same layers of calcium carbonate and minerals that are found in the formation of limestone are also found in marble. Except these minerals have undergone additional heat and pressure causing re-crystallization, forming a much more dense and harder composition that its limestone origins. Pure marble is almost entirely white. It varies in color, from black to white, through almost every shade of the spectrum. Impurities such as silica, iron oxide and graphite give its characteristics rich veining, clouding and color. This is what makes the product have such range in denseness and hardness. Marbles are available primarily in polished, honed and brushed finishes.

Slate is a metamorphic rock. It is formed when sedimentary shale is under pressure and heated by magma. It is composed principally of muscovite and the decomposition of feldspars and quartz. Therefore it is normally softer than a marble or granite. Slate's offer a wide variety of colors and textures to choose from. Some are more durable for commercial applications than others. Also, due to the iron that present in certain slates, you must be careful when choosing slate in wet areas and exterior applications. The iron can rust and leach out of the stone and cause staining and damage to surrounding areas. Slate primarily comes in cleft finish but several are also available in honed or polished.

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