Natural stone is a collective name for thousands of different types of stone, found and quarried throughout the world. The appearance and the characteristics of natural stone are determined by the manner in which the stone was formed: by rivers, by volcanoes, by tectonic folding (mountains). Each natural stone is unique, because no two places on earth have precisely the same geological composition or experience or precisely the same geological forces. This means that natural stone of the same type can also differ widely.
Stones come in different finishes: polished, honed or textured as well as in many varied sizes. Natural Stone is basically cut from the earth's rocks - it is a natural product that will always vary in shades, veining etc. depending on which part of the quarry the manufacturer is cutting from.
The process of quarrying Natural Stone is carried out by different methods and equipment, such as hand tools, explosives, or power saws. Channeling and wedging are also used depending on the end-purpose for which the natural stone is extracted. Hand tools alone may be used for quarrying natural stone that lies in easily accessible beds. The principal hand tools are the drill, hammer and wedge. A row of holes, several centimetres apart, is made with the drill and the hand hammer along the line at which it is desired to break the stone. Each hole is filled with three wedges, shaped so that one may be driven down through the others, the method being known as plug and feathers. By striking each plug with sharp continuous blows using a hammer, the combined splitting force of the plugs and feathers finally becomes great enough to rupture the rock. Explosives are most commonly employed for detaching large blocks of natural stone, which are then split and broken into smaller stones by wedges or by the plug-and-feathers method. These smaller stones can also be crushed using a heavy steel ball weighing several tons. In this method of quarrying, the drill holes are put down to the depth to which it is required to break the rock and are then partly filled with some explosive that is discharged by the usual methods of blasting. To obtain finely crushed stones for concrete, primary crushers of the jaw or gyratory type are used to reduce the size of the rocks. Channeling is the process of cutting long, narrow channels in the rock to free the sides of large blocks of natural stone. Channeling machines, or chandlers, are self-propelling and move a cutting edge back and forth along the line on a rock bed on which the channel cut is to be made. The channel cut is sunk deep enough to permit the insertion of wedges by which the rock is split, the cut or groove guiding the fracture. Another method of cutting is the power saw which utilises water as a lubricant and cooler. The saw cuts a narrow channel which is then either expanded by a wedge or is blasted. This method is used in slate, granite, and limestone quarries. An automatic channel burner has recently come into commercial use in dimension-stone quarrying. It resembles a handheld burner held vertically in a frame, with an electric motor moving the whole unit slowly down a track. It makes a more even cut, does not require the presence of an operator, and wastes less rock. The unit is controlled by a computer.
Any natural stone tile project begins with stone tile selection.Understanding the qualities of each type of stone combined with your personal preference will assist you in making your selection. For commercial purposes natural stone is divided into several large groups, namely, granite, marble, travertine, limestone and sandstone. These are briefly detailed on our product pages.