Natural Stone for Home/Villa-Bhandari Marble Group
Décor Your Home/Villa with Exclusive Collection of Stone
For many centuries, marble and other types of natural stone have symbolized wealth and power when used for flooring and other surfaces in residential dwellings. In the ancient civilizations of Persia, Greece, and Italy, the hand labor involved in quarrying, cutting, and transporting natural stone meant that it was only the wealthiest citizens—or the government itself—who could afford to use these materials in their buildings. Although modern equipment and transportation systems now make it more accessible to more people, marble and other natural stone is still a building material that retains a royal mystique.
To understand why you need only consider what goes into making a typical marble floor tile.
How We Made Stone Tiles
There are slight variations in how various types of natural stone are quarried and shaped into tiles or countertops, but the process is similar for all the common types of stone, whether it is marble, granite, slate, limestone, or travertine. The example of how raw marble becomes a tile is a good example.
At an established commercial quarry, which in the case of marble is usually a mountainous site, often in a remote location, special equipment is used to drill access holes through which diamond wire cables are run. Motorized equipment draws the cutting cable through the stone, much the way a chainsaw cuts wood (although it takes much longer) until a large block of stone weighing hundreds of tons is separated from the surrounding stone in the quarry.
Still in place, this large block is now cut down into smaller blocks, each weighing thousands of pounds, which are lifted by heavy cranes onto massive trucks that transport the blocks to a cutting yard, where a gang saw with multiple cutting blades slices the block into individual slabs, much the way a bread slicer cuts a loaf into slices. At some sites, specialized saws also cut narrow strips for marble that is destined to be cut into tiles.
The slabs or strips are now passed through equipment that polishes the faces of the stone. The process begins with coarse diamond abrasives and gradually moves to very fine abrasives. Once the degree of polish is satisfactory, the slabs or strips are packed and shipped by truck to distribution facilities, which may be located near ocean ports if the stone is destined for overseas locations. When shipped overseas, the stone is shipped in massive 20-foot long shipping containers holding up to 20 tons each.
After weeks aboard ship and further transportation by truck, the slabs or strips reach wholesale distribution centers, where individual retail customers—retail stores or individual consumers—may inspect and purchase the stone. If the stone is being cut into tiles, it is usually purchased in bulk by tile manufacturers, who ship it to factories where the strips of stone are cut into individual tiles and packed for redistribution to warehouses or showroom centers. If the stone is to be used for countertops or similar applications, the hand-selected slab is shipped to a fabricator who will cut it to the specifications of specific building sites.
Give how many steps are involved and how many hands touch a slab of stone; it is no wonder that marble and other natural stone is the most expensive surface you can choose for a bathroom. Still, there are reasons why stone is among the most desired of all remodeling materials.
ADVANTAGES OF STONES
Today, the principle advantage of marble and other natural stone in a bathroom is that it makes a bold statement of elegance and style. In centuries past, stone was chosen as a building material because of its strength and durability, but in today’s construction, other building materials offer better strength and nearly equal durability—as well as lower cost. What hasn’t changed—and probably never will, since marble and other natural stone exist in limited supplies—is that natural stone symbolizes exclusivity and style.
Aesthetically, every quarry in the world has a slightly different form of stone, and even within the same quarry, individual slabs of stone will have slightly different veining and coloring. This means that a floor, countertop, or wall surface made of marble or another natural stone will always have a unique look that is different from every other bathroom in the world.
The fact that natural stone is both expensive and unique means that using marble or other natural stone in your home almost automatically improves its resale value. Real estate agents will virtually always point out the presence of natural stone when selling a home, and prospective buyers always view it as a strong positive.
Some of the disadvantages of stone (and there are many) have now been reduced or eliminated by the development of chemical sealers that allow marble, granite, and other natural stone to be sealed against water and stains. The availability and effectiveness of these synthetic sealers are largely responsible for natural stone now being a viable material for wet locations such as bathrooms. Even showers—once off-limits to marble and other natural stone—are now seeing stone surfaces installed with some regularity.