To give you an idea I am not just Designer, Food Truck owner, blogger, smart ass I actually do have a day job, a full time day job. Some of you may already know this. I have worked in the Stone Industry specializing in Kitchen and bath applications for the past 10 years. In those 10 years I feel I have gained much experience and expertise to share. I have seen and heard so much false information, which I still hear on a daily basis that I just want to help everyone out by sifting through what may be true and may not be true and sharing the knowledge I have gained in these 10 years. The next few days each day I will do a post on a different natural stone and or Quartz product to help you understand it and the do's and don'ts that may help you better care for what you may already have or may help you to make a decision on what you want in the future.
Marble is to me, the most beautiful natural stone out of them all. The clean backgrounds and beautiful veining, and the history of it is amazing, these combined make it the most sought after natural stone.
I think first you must understand where it comes from and what is involved in getting these beautiful slabs to you. I feel once you understand that you have a new appreciation for it.
Below you will see a Quarry, this in particular is a Quarry I have been lucky enough to visit in Italy. This type of hole in the earth is where this beautiful product and most natural stones come from.
They extract the stone from the mountain in the form of blocks.
The process starts by taking down a “bench wall,” a large dimensional chunk of rock that is then cut into smaller blocks which is what will be processed into slabs. The bench walls are cut using a combination of diamond wire cables, and drills. Dirt is pushed up against the base of the wall to cushion the fall, and small dynamite charges jar the wall loose to bring it down to a horizontal position. These block can weight up to 50,000 pounds
|One type of Gang saw|
The Blocks are then put into a huge Gang saw shown above. These can resemble a massive bread slicer with many adjustable blades which allows for the thickness of stone to be adjusted.
Then comes the polishing line, to see it in action you can click on you tube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_I9NMxpOpwE
Breton is just one of the many companies that make machinery for the stone industry, I choose it only because I have actually been to see there facility in Italy and seen many of their machines at work and boy let me tell you it's AMAZING!
Slabs are laid horizontal onto a table to begin the journey through the Polishing line. They pass under polishing heads which begin with very coarse diamond abrasives, and move to finer and finer grit abrasives. . The Natural Stone slabs receive a coating of resin which fills in any pits or micro fissures which are inherent to the stone in order to make it ready for Commercial or Residential use. Most of the excess resin is removed by further polishing, leaving a very minimal amount of resin on the finished product.
Then these beauties are photographed and shipped all over the world. I am one of those lucky people that get the pics sent to me and get to hand pick the bundles that we order in. Whether what I select is actually what is sent is an entire other story.
Here are some beautiful Marbles I have been lucky enough to see in my life some of which no longer exist and or very difficult to acquire.
Now that you have a bit of the background story behind this natural stone and everything it takes to just get the raw material here lets chat about using it for your application.
I'm sure you have seen in magazines or on TV renovation shows, someone is using Marble in their kitchen but you have googled it and or spoke with the fabricator and they say no way don't do it...I am here to tell you that is not completely the truth....well kinda maybe??
Marble is very soft and much more susceptible to staining, scratching and etching than say a Granite or a Quartz, so the fabricators who are warning against it's use in Kitchens are not completely wrong as I see both sides of the coin. It is a huge liability from a production point of View if the customer does not understand the product that they are being sold and is possibly not told exactly how to keep it and what problems can arise from having it.
However if you understand it and are ok with it and the maintenance that comes along with it then great, go for it! use that beautiful product in your kitchen I know I would.
The biggest issue can be the staining which we have now come up with products that can help prevent this and even guarantee it will not occur. There are a few options in the market now the one I am familiar with is Dupont Stone tech here is link for details http://www2.dupont.com/Stone_Tech_Professional/en_US/products/warranty_program/consumer_warranty.html
This is a 15yr stain warranty, Great check, check one problem solved however this does not solve the etching or scratching and yes it will happen.
Etching is when the polish of the marble is taken off due to usually something acidic such as Lemon/lime juice, Vinegar, champagne all the good stuff. You will end up with a dull spot that may or may not be noticeable. This is something that can happen very quickly but in most cases because it is just the surface can be fixed if you contact a stone professional to come out and take a look they may be able to re polish on site.
Scratches however can sometime be much too deep just depends each scenario is different if it is a surface scuff it may be able to be buffed out but if deeper then it cannot be fixed.
What I have recommended for some projects I have done in marble is to do a Honed , Antiqued, Brushed or leather finish. There are many different names for the matte finish this way of it does scratch or etch it is much less noticeable if you can see it at all.
The plus with natural stone is going to be it is heat resistant (as long as it is not an extreme temperature).
So all and all if you understand the problems that can arise with it and you are willing to be a bit more cautious with using it and taking care of it then I see no reason to now use this beautiful product.