Other Natural Products
MARBLE & LIMESTONE:
MARBLE is a metamorphic rock formed by heat and pressure applied to limestone. Limestone is a sedimentary rock formed by dripping calcium carbonate and/or from the breakdown of calcitic matter (e.g. shell, coral, and marine skeletal material). Because the white in marble is calcium carbonate rather than quartz crystals, this material is very absorbent and not well suited for high use surfaces. GX does not recommend the use of polished marble for high use surfaces such as kitchen or wet bar counters; marble should only be used for counter tops that are subjected to very light use, such as furniture or powder rooms.
Marble is a delicate surface and should be treated with great care. It is softer and more porous than granite or quartzite, which makes it susceptible to staining, scratching, and etching. Over the years the marble will begin to age or patina through absorption, and a film or discoloration may occur. A home owner installing marble should be comfortable loving the changes the stone will naturally go through over time.
The surface of marble can be finished in a polished or honed finish. Graniteworx is one of the few fabricators in the region with its own leathering and honing equipment, so a purchaser can select any marble and request GX hone the stone for an additional labour fee.
SOAPSTONE for countertops, referred to as “architectural soapstone” or “steatite,” is harder than “artistic soapstone,” which is used for carvings. Soapstone is a metamorphic rock composed of talc that has been metamorphosed with other minerals, especially magnesite, through heat and pressure. The talc within the stones give it a unique silky, smooth texture with a soapy feel.
Soapstone requires very little maintenance, is very resistant to staining, chipping, and etching, and is impervious to bacteria. It is also able to withstand extreme high temperatures without burning, and its matte surface does not show fingerprints or etch.
The naturally honed surface lends a unique, modern, rustic feel to the room. However, soapstone is only formed in a limited range of colors, and the purchaser must be comfortable with the natural changes that the surface will go through over time.
Soapstone surfaces can only be done in a naturally honed finish; you can not high polish soapstone.
QUARTZITE is a very popular natural stone option for countertops because it is harder than granite yet can have lighter hues than granites without the excessive absorption and etching issues associated with marbles. This is because the whites and light tones of quartzite are rooted in quartz crystals rather than in calcite. (N.B. quartzite is more susceptible to absorption and etching than granite)
Quartzite is a hard, non-foliated metamorphic rock that was originally pure quartz sandstone. Sandstone is converted into quartzite through heating and pressure usually related to tectonic compression within orogenic belts. When sandstone is metamorphosed to quartzite, the individual quartz grains and the silica cementing them together recrystallize, converting the material into an interlocking mosaic of quartz crystals. This process totally transforms the original sedimentary structure and sandpaper-like surface of the sandstone into a glassy surface. Minor amounts of the original cementing minerals (e.g. iron oxide, silica, carbonate and clay) migrate during the recrystallization, causing streaks and lenses to form within the quartzite and giving it the unique patterns we see today.
The surface of quartzite can be finished in a polish, matte leather, or GX finish. Graniteworx is one of the few fabricators in the region with its own leathering and honing equipment, so a purchaser can select any quartzite and request Graniteworx leather or GX the stone for an additional labour fee.