There are two basic types of stone used in the building industry:
* Natural stone such as marble, granite, or limestone.
* Agglomerates (Manufactured stones) that consist of natural stone chips suspended in a bonding, manufactured material.
Igneous rock is formed when molten rock (called lava or magma) cools and hardens. Granite is an example of an igneous rock.
Sedimentary rock is formed from biological deposits that have undergone consolidation and crystallization. Limestone and sandstone fall into this category.
Metamorphic rock is created when other kinds of rocks are changed by great heat and pressure inside the earth. Marble, slate and quartzite are examples of metamorphic rocks.
Here are the names and definitions of some of the more popular natural stones:
Granite is an igneous stone that is extremely hard, dense and resistant to scratches and acid etching. It is an ideal stone for use in flooring and in food preparation areas. Hundreds of varieties of granite exist.
Sandstone is a sedimentary stone that is primarily composed of loose grains of quartz sand that are rough in texture. A number of varieties are available.
Limestone is another sedimentary stone, it’s formed from calcite and sediment and comes in many earthen colors.
Marble is a derivative of limestone. It is a metamorphic stone that can be polished. Marble is characteristically soft and easily scratched or etched by acids. There are countless types of marble from around the world.
Travertine is a crystallized, partially metamorphosed limestone, which because of its structure, can be filled and honed and is dense enough to be a type of marble.
Slate is a metamorphic stone that has a sheet-like structure. It is composed of clay, quartz and shale, and comes in a multitude of colors including reds and greens.
Agglomerate Stone is a manufactured stone made from natural stone chips suspended in a binder such as cement, epoxy resins or polyester.
The most well known agglomerated stone is poured-in-place terrazzo, used in building for thousands of years.
Today, some of the most popular manufactured stone products are quartz products.
These products offer the look of natural stone but are stain and scratch resistant, offer consistency and strength, and are virtually maintenance free.