For centuries, natural stone has been accepted as a symbol of wealth and power that very few had the luxury of affording. In ancient times, the demanding labor that was involved in quarrying, cutting, and transporting stone meant that only the very upper class could obtain it. But as years have gone by, and technologies have vastly improved, modern equipment and transportation systems have allowed for natural stone to be more accessible than ever. People from all around the globe can now afford stones that were once unprocurable. This is largely due to natural stones being manufactured in the form of tiles. Buyers can save on costs of transportation, installation, and scale of the stones when they are in tiles.
How are Natural Stone Tiles Made?
At an established quarry, special equipment is used to drill holes and feed diamond wire cables through them. Using motorized equipment, the cable is drawn through the stone, similar to how a chainsaw cuts wood. Once a large block of stone weighing hundreds of tons is isolated, smaller cutting can begin. The large block is reduced into smaller blocks that are lifted by cranes onto massive trucks for transport. These blocks then make their way to a cutting yard where a specialized saw will cut narrow strips bound to become tiles. Once the tiles are cut, they then get dispersed to wholesale distribution centers.
Natural Stone Tile Options
One of the most popular materials for natural stone tiles is granite. Granite is an igneous rock, so it’s the result of molten rock that has been cooled in subterranean pockets until becoming solid. Because of this geologic phenomenon, the colors of granite depend on the materials trapped and suspended inside of the molten rock during this process. These are the materials that give granite its incredible density and stability. Granite is one of the hardest materials on earth, making it a great stone to implement just about anywhere.
Granite tiles are sought after for their high-end professional look that boasts strength and longevity for whichever space it’s installed. It creates a sense of elegance and modernism. Granite in the form of tiles especially are great for smaller spaces that granite would not fit otherwise. They can be used as floor tiles, wall cladding, backsplashes, vanities, and even cutting boards. Without the correct tools, granite is very difficult to cut. It’s also quite a heavy material, so plan on hiring a professional for your granite tiles needs if you decide to incorporate these beautiful stones into your home.
Marble is a unique and gorgeous stone beloved by many across the world. It’s created in streams underground. These streams gather materials like calcite and dolomite as they flow. The build-up of these materials over time solidifies and is what ultimately will end up becoming marble. Marble is known for its smooth surface with dispersed veins of color and details of liquid-like rivers and swirls. Not only is it a great material for building, but it’s also the go-to for statues and other sculptures. It’s been used across many cultures over the course of history, and will give a timeless sense of antiquity and classic quality to any space. Marble tiles can be used for floor tiles, countertops, vanities, wall cladding, backsplashes, hearths, and mantelpieces. We do recommend being cautious when installing marble tiles in a kitchen due to their vulnerability when exposed to acidic liquids like juice and wine.
Slate is a common term to describe the product of compression and heat of coastal clay, soil, and other materials over millions of years. Slate demonstrates a raw and rough beauty like no other natural stone. As a bonus, it’s also naturally slip-resistant, making it ideal for flooring both indoors and out. If you choose to go with slate for your home, you’ll have a number of finishes to choose from depending on your personal style and lifestyle preferences. It has a rustic, naturally casual design and works well in homes with a similar vibe. Slate tiles are loved as flooring, wall cladding, patios, and pool surrounds in certain climates. This material can be pretty heavy though, so be sure to work with an expert to complete your project vision.
Natural stone tiles can come in a number of different styles and material types beyond the popular options of granite, marble, and slate. You can also purchase tiles made with sandstone, travertine, limestone, and many other materials based upon your preferred look and performance. For any questions regarding granite or marble, give our office a call. We sell full and half slabs directly from quarries and can help you get in touch with a fabricator to make your natural stone tile dreams come true!