THE ADVANTAGES OF THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF NATURAL STONE
Anywhere in the home, natural stone is a beauty to behold. Having a countertop made out of high quality, properly installed and polished natural stone gives the room an elegant, highly stylistic look that would rightfully belong on the cover page of any home decoration magazine.
Still, there are different types of natural stone and each of them has a distinct advantage that makes it fit into a different environment within the home. Whether it’s heat resistance that makes a stone type good for a kitchen, or non-porousness that makes it a perfect fit for a bathroom, it’s always good to know in advance which type belongs where.
Prized for its luxurious look, granite is the perfect choice when it comes to conveying a sense of high status and stability. Since it is inherently compact in structure, granite is extremely tough and can endure both shocks and heat with equal ease, making it well-suited for kitchen countertops. Granite slabs also come in a variety of colors, such as African Ivory, and patterns, which means there is a perfect slab for every kitchen.
Perhaps one of the oldest building materials ever, limestone is what the Ancient Egyptians used for the Great Pyramid in Giza. The fact that it still stands today, some 4,500 years after it was built, is an awesome testament to the amazing durability of limestone. In home decoration, limestone is best used in places where its durability can be put to good use, such as wall and floor tiles. Limestone is also very suitable for carving.
Soapstone has had a surprising number of uses throughout history, since it was being used for making things such as pots, stoves, smoking pipes, reusable ice cubes, and floor tiles. Named after its relative softness, soapstone comes in different grades, with the hardest ones being used in kitchen countertops and other home locations. Soapstone doesn’t conduct heat nor electricity, which makes it a very good insulator and a versatile natural stone.
Rather than being formed over thousands of years in the crust of the Earth, travertine is created by a hot spring’s water splashing against a surface and gradually forming a mineral deposit. This process gives travertine a distinct look with pitted holes. Each variety of travertine has a different look, depending on the composition of the water. In home construction, travertine is best used in facades and to pave garden paths.
Used since time immemorial to create gorgeous statues and other historical artifacts, marble is another highly valued type of natural stone. Different materials present during its formation will create the characteristic veined look, while its natural shininess makes all of its home decoration applications look glamorous.
HOW TO CLEAN NATURAL STONE FLOORS
Stone tiles are often associated with outdoor patios. However, with the advent of modern production techniques, natural stone tiles have made their way indoors as a great alternative to hardwood floors. Stone tiles are durable, beautiful, and easy to maintain, as long as the proper care is provided. Here is the natural stone floor maintenance checklist:
Cleaning: Dust particles are everywhere. Floating in the air, they inevitably end up on the floor and accumulate in the minute pores on the surface of the stone. Over time, these particles will act as an abrasive and gradually grind the stone floor down whenever it’s being walked on. This dirt should be removed by using any of the following methods:
Mopping – Use a dry and soft mop to sweep the natural stone floor every day. Once a week, use a damp mop soaked with the special detergent that is suitable for your stone floor.
Vacuuming – A vacuum may be used, provided it operates without a rotating brush. If there are any carpets or mats, they should be vacuumed as well.
Prevention: The best way to increase the lifespan of a stone floor is to minimize its exposure to dirt and other corrosive agents in the first place, which is done by creating a clean interior. Doing so also reduces cleaning costs, creates a healthy working environment, and helps the floor tremendously. This can be done with the help of:
Mats – Installing mats at key locations and making sure all foot traffic goes over them will benefit the stone floor over the long run. It takes around 10 steps for a walking person to shed the dirt that is being carried on its footwear, which means mats should be spaced evenly at this distance.
Air conditioning – Even something as simple as a properly functioning AC unit will help the stone floor retain its original look and texture long after installation. The key is in having a controlled environment so that the moisture and dirt particles are always kept under control.
Sealing – If a spill occurs, the stone floor will quickly absorb any liquids, possibly leading to permanent staining. The solution is to use a stone sealing agent, which will form a firm bond with the surface of the stone floor and prevent liquids from seeping into the stone.