When natural stones are discussed, the topic stretches from the depths of the earth to high-tech processing that brings them into our homes or buildings. Natural stones, due to their enthralling look, are loved by people for their kitchen countertops, bathroom slabs, and flooring material in general. But these stones are not present in the same form from the beginning, rather the stones are manually extracted from the earth and processed through heavy machinery to be finally able to play a part in constructing components of homes and commercial buildings. The journey of natural stone from the origin to the formation of tiles and slabs covers tons of underlying aspects that are an interesting topic to research upon.
Have you ever wondered about how natural stones are extracted from their origin and transformed into luxurious slabs, tiles, and countertops? If yes then the following article is going to be a mesmerizing read for you!
Let us dive into the detailed process of obtaining natural stones from Earth’s resources and their journey to our homes.
Categories Of Natural Stones (Origin Based):
Natural stones can be divided into three broad categories based on the origin or natural formation process. These categories are:
- Igneous Rocks
- Sedimentary Rocks
- Metamorphic Rocks
Igneous Rocks: Igneous rocks are formed as a result of the cooling of molten lava or magma which causes solidifying. This can occur in profound depths of the earth or even on the top surface of the earth as a result of some volcanic eruption. The Igneous rocks are common to be found and graphite is a common example of the Igneous Rock category of natural stones. Other familiar examples include rhyolite, basalt, gabbro, and dunite.
The second category is Sedimentary Rocks which are composed of the Sedimentary materials of the earth. When different types of rocks, plant materials, remains of animals, and other fragments inside the earth are compressed and eventually solidified in the form of rock due to the pressure of the earth, then Sedimentary Rocks are formed. An important sedimentary rock is a Limestone which is a common natural stone. Other types are dolomite, shale, and siltstone.
As the name indicates, Metamorphic Rocks are a combination of the first two types of rocks. When igneous and sedimentary rocks made previously are subjected to earth’s pressure or the heat of magma, they are transformed into Metamorphic Rocks. Its common example includes Marble which makes up a wide variety of countertops and slabs for homes. Soapstone, quartzite, and gneiss are some other examples of Metamorphic Rocks.
Extraction Of Natural Stones:
As these stones are naturally formed and preserved in their origins, the next step in the journey is the extraction of these stones. The critical extraction of natural stones occurs in stone quarries and it involves a complex range of procedures, extensive machinery, and skilled quarry professionals. However, as it may appear to be a simple or mediocre process, it couples tons of innovative techniques and is a very time-consuming process. Before the onset of the actual process of extraction, the samples from the quarry are tested. For this purpose, geologists strive to locate the outcrops of stones.
This is followed by intensive drilling by a diamond-head drill to yield a sample for verification and getting approval. Expert analysts examine the sample rock to find whether it can opt as a building construction material or not. After the initial examination, this sample is then subjected to obtaining further permits and official licenses by the government. The processes that might be included in this extensive journey usually depend on the rules and regulations of the government of that particular locality. These formalities might take years to get finalized.
Once the approval is handed to the team, the actual process of extraction begins. This works by clearing out the obstacles that might hinder the extraction and wiping the dirt out. Diamond-wire saws are used for detaching the stones. This also involves the use of explosives to carry out the extractions. Once the 40 tons of giant stones are obtained they are then transferred for processing to the concerned facilities.
Processing Of Natural Stones:
This step is the most crucial to determining the final outlook of natural stones. The huge stones obtained from quarries are brought to processing areas where they are cut using gang saws. At high speeds, the saw cuts these stone blocks into smaller slabs. It requires approximately 2 days for the saw to cut through 20 tons of heavy stone blocks.
The cutting is followed by polishing the slabs to achieve the desired finish. Based on the texture of the slab required, these are either leathered, honed, or brushed. Heavy machinery is used to carry out all these processes precisely. Then the slabs are cut further according to the dimensions required to be brought to homes for constructing slabs, countertops, or flooring material. The length and width of the natural stone slabs depend on the purpose of use i.e. making tiles, countertops, or bathroom slabs.
Finally, the natural stones are bought from stores or distributors to homes where further amendments can be made to adjust the tiles or slabs according to the desired finish. It is a long journey that has to be covered to bring the raw natural stones to the processing facilities and ultimately adorn your houses and buildings.
The above-explained process must have made the journey of extraction of natural stones to processing into slabs and tiles very much clear to you. Although the stones maintain their natural texture remarkably after the extraction and extensive processing, there are tons of steps involved to give them their finished look. Natural stones due to their rare appearance are precious and have been playing a part in modern civilizations for years and years. There remain far more details regarding the types and variants of natural stones available in the market. You can know more about natural stones and their characteristics by visiting our website.
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