What is a Solid Surface?
Solid Surface is a man made product with color throughout, as opposed to a laminate. Solid surface products are made from natural stone, glass, recycled materials, cement or plastic. In the family of solid surface products quartz is the most durable. Quartz is a product manufactured from crushed stone. For those who prefer a more uniform look quartz is the best choice.
What are the different kinds of Natural Stones?
There are various different Natural Stones: Granite, Marble, Limestone, Travertine, Slate, Quartzite, Sandstone, Adoquin, Onyx, etc.
Granite is an important structural and ornamental stone, due to its high compressive strength and durability. It is the hardest of structural stones. Its mineral-rich colors, its hardness and density, make it an ideal choice for flooring, counter tops, vanities as well as exterior applications. A broad range of elegant patterns and colors makes granite the most versatile and durable of all stones. It is also the most “maintenance-free” of all stones. Granites get their wonderful variety of colors and patterns from minerals that are melted into the liquid mass as it is formed.
Marble has been valued for thousands of years for its rich palette of beautiful colors and appearance. It is perfect for use in almost any part of the house. Generally, calcite and dolomite marbles are of pure white color. Variations of whiteness of pure marbles are due to the mixture of foreign substances. Such impurities form bands, streaks and clouds. Black and grayish shades are due to graphite; pinks, reds are mainly due to the presence of manganese oxides or hematite.
A rock consisting mostly or entirely of serpentine, green to greenish-black in color commonly veined with calcite and dolomite magnesite or both. Serpentine is often referred to as verde antique but this term may also refer to green marble without serpentine.
A great combination of earth tone colors and the finish makes this stone one of a kind. The vibrant colors and unique textures make slates appropriate for interior as well as exterior applications. Because it is formed in layers, it can easily be split to expose beautifully textured surfaces. The usual colors of slates are earthy (various shades and mixes of browns, beiges, yellows), black, dark-grays, and greenish-gray but shades of pinks, purples and copper are also found. They usually exhibit a lot of variation in color among the pieces quarried from the same site. Slates, depending on their individual hardness, are used for flooring, cladding and landscaping.
Quartzites are very similar to slates, but with a higher content of Quartz, which gives them, a sparkling texture. They are so close in appearance to slates that usually they are referred to as quartzitic-slates. Just like slates, they are used for various applications depending on their hardness.
As the name suggests, Sandstone is made of sand cemented by silica, iron, lime etc. The color of sandstone depends on the cementing material; ferruginous (iron) sandstones are reddish, brownish; carbonaceous, black; siliceous, white and argillaceous, earthy to buff. Other than the hardness, the porosity of the sandstone is also a key factor in deciding the suitability for its applications.
The muted tones of limestone are perfect for today’s more casual and comfortable lifestyles. Generally these soft beiges and tans, either polished or honed, are appropriate for bathrooms, fireplaces, counters and less-traveled flooring, where a more informal decor is desired. Limestones are sedimentary rocks that are formed at the bottom of lakes and seas as silt and organic matter settle to the bottom. A more and more layers build up over thousands and millions of years, adding more and more weight, the heat and pressure cause chemical reactions to take place and harden the sediments into solid stone.
The cozy tones of Travertine range from the sandy beiges to shimmering gold giving a feeling of warmth and comfort. The Coliseum in Rome, having stood for over 2000 years, is perhaps the most famous travertine structure in the world. Travertine is commonly used outside as cladding and pavement, as well as inside for floors, walls and countertops. Travertine is generally filled with cement before it is honed or polished, which produces a uniform surface more like other marbles. Unfilled travertine is quite beautiful, and is often seen as exterior cladding on buildings. Travertines result from hot spring water percolating up through underground limestone. When the water evaporates, it leaves behind layers of dissolved limestone and other minerals, giving it its banded appearance. The characteristic holes in travertine are the result of trapped gas bubbles; as the gas escapes, crystals form in the cavities. Travertines are generally light-colored beiges and tans, though there are some beautiful, colored Travertines that have resulted from other minerals dissolved by hot underground water.
Translucent, generally layered, calcite with colors in pastel shades, usually yellow, brown, green, orange, and white. True onyx is nearly pure crystalline silica closely related to agate, a semi-precious stone. Onyx is formed by a slow precipitation from generally cold solutions of carbonated spring water.