Category Archives: Learning Links

Why does stone shine (Shelby Township, MI)

When stone becomes dull and scratched, it obviously loses its shine and luster. At this time the stone needs to be refinished and polished to restore the shine it had originally. Why does stone shine, and how can a lost shine be recovered?

All stone is taken from the earth in the form of raw blocks. Explosives, large saws and specialized equipment are used to extract the stone from the earth. The stone blocks are then cut into thinner, more easily handled pieces called slabs. The slab itself is then processed, depending on the intended use of the stone. It may be given a high shine and shipped to a marble fabricator, who will ultimately turn it into a table, vanity top or whatever; or it may be transformed by some very expensive and sophisticated equipment into tiles for installation on floors or walls.

The deep shine we see on polished stone is achieved by rubbing the stone with a series of abrasive materials. The process is very similar to sanding a piece of wood. The stone is rubbed with coarse abrasive grit, followed by finer and finer grits until the stone becomes smooth. The next, creating finer and finer scratches remove the previous. The process continues until the scratches are microscopic. The shine on the stone is achieved by abrading the surface to the point at which it becomes extremely smooth and starts to develop some reflectivity. The shine on the stone is thus a product of optics. This same optical property can be observed on a pond. When the wind is blowing and the surface of the pond is wavy, it becomes difficult to see a reflection; when the air is still and the pond is calm, a deep reflection can be observed. So in order to achieve a deep shine on your stone, all that really needs to be done is to smooth it until it shines.

Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, the techniques employed to achieve this degree of smoothness require special knowledge and training. This is not friendly territory for the do-it-yourselfer. According to granite-care.org

A Smart Investment during the Global Recession – Upscale Home Improvement (Shelby Township, MI)

The recent economic crisis has caused great casualties in housing market as well as in the broader financial system, making the investment a tough task among average households in the United States. Mutual funds are on continuous devaluation; stock markets show great volatility; and business expansion is lacking directions. Indeed, investing for the future has become a beautiful dream of most middle class families. 

However, there is a seemingly small but potentially valuable area where average households could put their cash in. This area is home improvement or remodeling. Particularly, it is predictable that an investment in up-scale home improvement now can potentially yield significant returns on asset value in the near future. Let’s use natural stone, a type of traditionally luxury architectural materials, as an example to explain why. 

Natural stone supplies in the United States have been heavily relied on importations. China, India, Italy, Brazil as well as numerous nations in the middle east are major exportation countries in global stone industry. Since the crisis began in 2008, market demands for such once considered prestige building materials in world’s largest markets of the US and Europe have been shrinking in a staggering pace. This negative industrial situation nevertheless provides a great investment opportunity for the homeowners in the United States. According to amlinkmarble.com

Beware the risks of ordering marble, granite stone products directly from a source in China (Shelby Township, MI)

Granted, in the past few years, China has become an important exporting country for marble, granite and other natural stone products. It is little doubtful that China is capable of supplying high quality and low cost building and carving stones due to its low labor costs, rich natural stone resources and internationally recognized traditional workmanship.

There are many excellent marble granite fabricators and stone carvers in China. However, a large portion of stone products have been imported to the States by various exporters in China, although they claim “factory direct”. Among these exporters, some are large firms, some are one-man business and some even do not exist at all.

With fast growing of international trade, more and more stone dealers, contractors and even homeowners have been ordering or trying to order stone products directly from sources located in China. Most people believe by doing so they would get much better deals comparing to buying from a vendor in the States. That might be right to certain extent. However, this could expose a buyer to great financial risks as the buyer has very few leverages on a transaction conducted between two countries. I have heard of many undesirable experiences and disastrous stories associated with ordering stone products directly from China. According to amlinkmarble.com

Name That Granite… (Shelby Township, MI)

When it comes to granite countertops, there are a lot of color choices. In fact, there are hundreds of color options, which sometimes can be overwhelming for the consumer. To make matters worse, some suppliers, fabricators, architects, and designers rename stones given by the quarrier, so some stones have more than one name. In fact, I’ve seen stones that have as many as four names. Yikes!

You might be wondering, why is all this name changing going on? Well there are a number of reasons, but the main reason is often to try and keep some “exclusivity” to get the sale. Other times, a color may arrive from an overseas shipment and look totally different from a current lot the supplier, or fabricator may be selling under the same name and so a new name is given to the stone. There are other reasons stones are renamed, but the bottom line is that this “name game” is confusing to the consumer. It can also be a real headache for the fabricator who has to play stone detective to try and figure out what color the customer actually wants and… we almost always can. (It just costs us time and is sometimes a pain.)

I know what you are thinking…Standardization! 

Yes— standardization would be great, but don’t hold your breath. While the stone industry has come along way over the years in other ways, it has a long way to go yet in terms of standardization of color names. According to paramountgranite.com

Distinguished feature of granite (Shelby Township, MI)

Granite, the most precious natural stone used by home owners and builders for their houses, building and monuments. Granite stones come in different products like tiles, slabs, sinks, countertops. Granite stones guarantees durability, existence, resistance, long lasting beauty and long lasting stone. Most of the people prefer to install granite for their kitchen, bathrooms as well as for interiors and exteriors of the building, because of its durability. Generally, granite is said that it is next to the diamond, i.e. its hardness is compared to diamond. Nowadays, the trend has been changed and most of the people prefer to install granite stones for the homes, buildings and monuments.
 
It can also be said that granite stones satisfies the needs and requirement of the customer around the world and large number of install granite for their floors. Installation of granite plays major role in the existence and beautifulness of the stone granite. When proper installation process does not takes place for the floors, buildings, monuments and homes then the home owners and builders have to suffer. Installation of granite stone can be carried with the help of the installer or professional or experts who posses adequate knowledge and experience in the field of granite installation. Granite comes up with wide applications and features to facilitate the customers to meet their requirements.
 
Granite adds beauty to the homes and buildings for which it is installed. Granite stones are considered one of the important and essential materials of interior and exterior decorations. When proper care and maintenance is given for the natural stone granite then the home owners and builders can feel hassle free. Granite stones are imported and exported from many countries and large numbers of manufacturer are involved in the field of supply of granite stone to the people needed. Granite stones are supplied at competitive prices and it is also an expensive natural stone. Among the different natural stones such as marble, limestone, travertine, vanity, granite plays the dominant role in the market.
 
Nowadays, large number of home owners and builders started installing granite stones for their houses, monuments and buildings. From during the past days itself, granite founds its existence and for large monuments and buildings, granite stones were used. Granite stones come in different colors, designs and shades to satisfy the requirements of the customer. The customer can select any of the color and design for their houses and buildings in reasonable prices. Granite stones are resistance to stains, scratches, spills, heat, moisture and water and so on. This resistance will prevent the granite stones with everlasting beauty and everlasting existence.
 
Granite stones are the hardest material, durable, resistant, beautiful material. When people finds to be satisfied, when they install granite stones for their kitchen and bathrooms. Even scratches affects the granite stones, it can be removed using quality products. While stains or spills takes place, then quality cleaning agents can be used to remove the spills and stains from the surface. Therefore, granite stones provide excellent workmanship to the customers. According to compoundtile.com

Artistic tiling with natural slate (Shelby Township, MI)

Every slate tile in the world is unique, due to the naturally occurring chaos which creeps into its appearance during formation. This gives the material a certain amount of power, and makes every installation a one of a kind experience.
 
When putting natural slate into a floor, countertop, or backsplash, it is important to lay the tiles out first, to get a sense of the overall picture that will be formed in the final installation. Each tile is a unique portrait that will have to be coordinated with all of the others, to develop a montage which is complimentary and fits the overall ambience you are trying to achieve.
 
Like laying out a giant puzzle, where you determine what the outcome will be, you should rearrange the tiles several times to get a feel for your different options. If you are lucky, your contractor will have had the foresight to order a couple of extra tiles. This will allow you to choose the absolute best, discarding any which you don’t like, or which don’t fit in with the overall scheme the rest of them create.
 
Often slate tiles which come from the same box will have come from the same quarry, and may have even been cut from the same original slab. If this occurs, you can lay them out sequentially, and try to recreate the original appearance of the stone as it lay within the mountain.
 
Other times the tiles within a box will be erratic, each one having different colors and patterns. In this case, it is important to balance the various stones, light against dark, subdued against wild, to create an effect which has a strong center.
 
When laying out slate it is also important to dampen the tiles. This will give you an idea of what they will look like once the stone has been sealed. The moisture from the water seeps into the stones pores, much like a sealer eventually will, bringing out a variety of colors and contrasts which were invisible before.
 
Once you have decided on the layout of your tiles, it is often helpful to label them with small numbers on the back or sides, to help with laying them out. Markings should be done in pencil, so that any stray markings or exposed edges can easily be washed clean. You should also be certain to make a note of how the sequence is supposed to be laid out, whether vertically, horizontally, backward, or forward.
 
It is helpful to have a contractor or installer that has an artistic eye when dealing with natural stone. When choosing to hire someone, you should try and get a look at their portfolio to see some of the work they have created. According to compoundtile.com

Granite Countertops And Price Haggling… (Shelby Township, MI)

 

When it comes to used car dearlerships, most people are familiar with price haggling. From the time you walk in the door, look around, and see the price stickers, many people are ready “to deal” with the salesperson, until they feel like they are getting a bargain. Well I don’t know about you, but used car dealerships have always turned me off. I personally do not the like the haggling, even if it is expected. I always thought, “What’s wrong with selling something for a fair price?”

Well lately, I feel like the remodeling industry, and countertop business in general, has turned into somewhat of a haggling business, and boy am I turned off by it! What is it with people who try and nickel and dime you to death? These days, it is almost an everyday occurence. Some customers feel it is necessary to mention that they can get their granite countertops from “so and so” for “such and such” a price.  Some customers also threaten that,  ”if you can’t match the price we’ll use the other competitor,” even though the whole time they really aren’t interested. Again…”What’s wrong with selling something for a fair price?”

When is the last time you walked in to your local Cub Foods, or other grocery store, and started haggling about the cost of milk, or bread?  How about walking into your local Wal-Mart to negotiate a price on a stereo? Give me a break. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with comparison shopping, but look around please. How is Competitor A, different from Competitor B, or C? Could it be that Competitor A has better Customer Service, a better website, employee’s that are willing to help and go the extra mile, people that answer the phones, a shop full of running equipment, installers and measuring technicians, etc. ? Now let’s look at the price? Is it worth it to you to pay more for Competitor A? If so, why not pay what they are asking, as long as it is within reason, and leave the price haggling for those car dealerships! According to paramountgranite.com

Definitions of Chemical Properties of Natural Stone (Shelby Township, MI)

What is Acid Resistance?

Defines the quantity of weight loss of a natural stone when exposed to an acidic solution for a defined timespan and at a defined temperature. The result is expressed in mg cm-2.

What is Alkali Resistance?

Similar to the Acid Resistance, the Alkali Resistance of a material describes the weight loss a natural stone suffered when exposed to an alkali solution for a defined timespan and at a defined temperature. The result is expressed in mg cm-2.

What is Water Absorption?

As natural stone is not a homogeneous material, it absorbs liquids. Water Absorption is measured by submerging a natural stone in water at a defined temperature and for a defined time span. After this process, the increase in weight is quantified and expressed in percent (%).

What is Freeze-Thaw-Resistance?

Freeze-Thaw-Resistance measures the weight loss a natural stone suffers when being exposed to a defined number of freezing and thawing. Before the test, the material is submerged in water for a defined timespan. The repeated freezing and thawing will cause the absorbed water to expand and contract repeatedly. The results are measured in percent (%) of weight loss. According to graniteland.com

Definitions of Mechanical Properties of Natural Stone (Shelby Township, MI)

What is Specific Gravity

The Specific Gravity is referring to the weight of a material and is measured in grams per cubic centimetre. Assuming a natural stone has a Specific Gravity of 2.7, it means that its weight is 2.7 grams per cubic centimetre, or 2700 kg per cubic metre. The Specific Gravity of natural stones is usually around 2.5 to 3.0, depending on the density and kind of the containing material.

What is Bending Strength or Flexural Strength?

The Bending Strength (or Flexural Strength) measures the force a material can resist when bended. It is measured in N mm-2 and shows the forces applied to a material in the moment of failure.

What is the Young’s Modulus or Modulus of Elasticity?

The Young’s Modulus (or Modulus of Elasticity) describes the limit for small strains of the rate of change of stress with strain a material is able to support. Many natural stones have a Modulus of Elasticity of around 50 Gpa (which translates to 50.000 N mm-2, depending on the stone), with pure Quartz reaching a Young’s Modulus of 71.7 GPa.

What is Mohs Hardness?

The Mohs Hardness describes the scratch resistance of the surface of a natural stone (or indeed any other mineral). The Mohs Scale is not defined by forces or applied pressure, but rather by definitions. It goes from 1 (softest material) to 10 (hardest material). The surface hardness of Quartz, for example, is defined as the value 7 in the Mohs Scale. Granite usually has a value of around 6.5 on the Mohs Hardness scale, which means that is can be scratched using pure Quartz. The values and their corresponding minerals are: Talc (1); Gypsum (2); Calcite (3); Fluorite (4); Apatite (5); Orthoclase Feldspar (6); Quartz (7); Topaz (8); Corundum(9); Diamond (10). According to graniteland.com

Definitions of Thermal Properties of Natural Stone (Shelby Township, MI)

What is Coefficient of Thermal Expansion?

The Coefficient of Thermal Expansion is the rate of expansion of a natural stone (or any other material indeed) when it is exposed to a defined rise in temperature. A low Coefficient of Thermal Expansion will reduce the probability of thermal cracking in cladding materials that are exposed often to huge changes of temperature with in short timespan. The Coefficient of Thermal Expansion is usually measured in figures like this example: 6.1 x 10-6 K-1.

What is Thermal Conductivity Coefficient?

Most natural stones have a Thermal Conductivity Coefficient of above 2, and often even 3 W m-1 K-1. Glass, for example, usually has a Thermal Conductivity Coefficient of about 1 W m-1 K-1. Less thermal conductivity, of course has advantages especially when using a natural stone as outside wall cladding material as it increases insulation and thus reduces energy consumption.

What is Specific Heat Capacity?

The Specific Heat Capacity is the amount of heat (energy) required to raise the temperature of 1 kg of a substance by 1° K. The specific heat capacity of most types of granite is somewhere around 750 J kg-1 K-1, while the average specific heat capacity of marble is about 880 J kg-1 K-1.  According to graniteland.com