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November 14, 2018

Quality and Selection of Natural Stone

Whether you’re an architect or interior designer working on a project, or a homeowner purchasing natural stone for your home, here are a few tips to help you understand – and make decisions regarding – the quality and selection of natural stone:

1. Carefully Choose the Selection
Many natural stones are offered in various selections, which means that the aesthetics can vary greatly. For example, these two materials may have the same name, but you’ll notice that one selection has a pure background and desirable color, while the other selection is more muddled in appearance, with less desirable color. When selecting a natural stone, make sure that the selection you choose is the right one for your project.

2. Understand the Grade of the Material
Natural stones vary when it comes to the grade of the material. The grade refers to the soundness of the stone, which is an indicator of the ease with which the material can be fabricated and installed. A Grade A material will have fewer cracks, fissures and veins, while a Grade D material will be more likely to have cracks and fissures, which will be factory-filled with resin or cement. Asking about the grade will help you – or your client – know what to expect with each material.

3. View the Stone.
If you’re purchasing slabs – especially if they are the focal point of your project – make sure you see the slabs in person. If it’s not possible to view the materials in person, ask your stone provider for photos of the slabs you’ll be buying.

4. Look for Quality Manufacturing.
A high-quality material is one that has been manufactured with care and technical expertise, and has gone through a quality control process.

a. When looking for high-quality Stone TILE look for the following:

i. Dimensional consistency – This means that the manufacturer has made the dimensions consistent from piece to piece; which is not always the case with natural materials.

ii. Squareness of tile & beveling – Some manufacturers ensure that tiles are cut at a true 90 degree angle and have a consistent, beveled edge – again, not always the case with natural materials.

iii. Range Selection – Since all natural stone varies from piece to piece, be sure to view an indicative representation of the selection you’ll be buying. You’ll want to view a range, or multiple pieces, each of which should show the inherent characteristics of the material.

b. When looking for high-quality Stone SLABS look for the following:

i. Resin & Vacuum Processed – Most natural stone has inherent cracks and fissures; this is perfectly normal. However, the stone should be properly resin & vacuum processed; this makes the stone far more stable, which will make the material more resistant to breaking and will enable the material to take on a better polish.

These tips should help you get the most out of your stone purchase. And remember; always inspect the materials at the project site prior to installation to make sure the materials meet your expectations. And always seal natural stone prior to use.



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