The very name of the marble speaks for itself (marmaros, Greek – a shiny stone). For more than one millennium, it retains the right to be considered a finishing material, brilliant in all respects. Ancient masters also noticed that this is a unique material for sculpting. Venus de Milo was created from warm white marble, the Parthenon, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the columns of the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus – one of the seven wonders of the world.
Due to its low hardness, this stone is excellently polished and gives a soft shine coming from the depths. In the rays of light penetrating deep into the stone, marble seems to come to life – a light glowing halo appears around. It shines and plays with pink, yellow, gray, blue, greenish, reddish, brown tones, strikes with the depth of black, as well as all kinds of their combinations. Colored marble usually has many veins (so-called “stone veins”), which are cracks filled with natural impurities. On slices of Jura, Rosso Verona or Fossile Marrone marbles, the attentive eye will discern the silhouettes of ancient molluscs, fossilized algae, corals, shells. Some varieties with inclusions of quartz and pyrite sparkle with crystal and gold “notes”.
The richness of textures and a colossal color palette ranging from absolutely black to milky white (the latter, by the way, idolized Michelangelo) allow to bring the most brilliant ideas to life. Depending on the chosen colors, the “stone” interior can be warm or cold, massive or airy, luxurious or modest, dark or light.
Most of the stone processing companies adhere to uniform standards and produce tiles in sizes 300 x 300, 305 x 305, 400 x 400, 600 x 300 mm. Thickness, depending on the purpose, varies from 10 to 20 mm (floor tiles) and above.
As for the texture of the facing slabs, there are not so many options for marble surface treatment: polishing, grinding, bush hammering, artificial aging (“antique”).
Polishing and grinding enhances the natural beauty of the stone. The bush hammering gives the material very useful anti-slip stripes. The “antique” is gaining more and more popularity, which is preferred by lovers of antiquity and interior styling after antiquity. It is believed that imitation of natural aging (weathering) creates a special feeling of softness and warmth. Aged marble is especially widely used for flooring in fashionable restaurants and salons, with its help designers try to bring the spirit of antiquity and authenticity into interiors. By deliberately recreating this natural phenomenon, varying degrees of aging can be obtained. The aging effect is achieved by surface treatment using a special technology, which can include both mechanical (including manual) and chemical action. For example, stone mosaics are often used for the production of countertops, wall and floor decoration. It is placed in a special drum, where pebbles, like pebbles, rub against each other, acquiring rounded shapes.
Application of marble
This finishing material is used for both indoor and outdoor use. Floors, walls, stairs, fireplaces, columns, countertops, lamps, when finished with marble, always look great.
Properties of marble
Marble is durable, strong, resistant to temperature and humidity extremes. But for all its strength, it is a soft, absorbent material. As you know, slates and marbles are sedimentary carbonate rocks, therefore they are not resistant to acids, food colors, and thermal shock. Marble surfaces should be protected from thermal effects – a cup of hot tea or coffee for the countertop can be fatal. It is possible to make steps or floor coverings out of marble, but try to avoid the possibility of abrasive particles, such as sand, getting on the surface – they will scratch the stone.
When choosing marble for wet rooms, it should be borne in mind that with prolonged contact with water, it can change color. The reason is the oxidation of inclusions of ferrous minerals. Still, for bathrooms and showers, this material is preferable to say, granite, since it has a more porous structure and therefore provides more grip..
It is very important to choose the right cementitious material for the marble installation. When using cement mortar or glue for tiles, after a while, fatal stains appear on the surface of the stone – salt and coloring additives absorbed by it. Therefore, it is recommended to use special adhesives and plasters..
If you take into account these nuances and pay due attention during operation, not only you, but also your grandchildren and great-grandchildren can admire the beauty of the selected stone.
Caring for marble
As already noted, from the point of view of operational characteristics, marble is practically eternal, however, like any “living” material, it requires maintenance and needs protection from aggressive environments – dirt, water, salts, sand and acids. For these purposes, special means are used: hardeners (hardeners) and polishes, stone impregnations, cleaning compounds, mastics, even ordinary beeswax.
This primarily applies to polished floors. The main enemy of polishing is dirt, so first of all, you should take care of a multi-stage protection system and regular surface cleaning. Wax protective coatings improve the appearance of the stone, protect it during use and allow the treated stone coatings to be washed with plain water. Also, for unprotected stone floors, there are special substances that not only wash away dirt, but also create a protective film. In addition, anti-slip formulations have been developed, even on wet stone surfaces..
If the defects of the stone are so serious that wax preparations are no longer able to help, a more radical remedy is used – grinding and subsequent polishing. Re-grinding and re-polishing of stone surfaces is carried out using special equipment. As a result, the stone gets its original appearance..
Long gone are the days when only “the mighty of this world” could afford to decorate their home with marble. Industrial methods of mining and processing have significantly reduced the cost, as a result of which marble has moved from a luxury item to the category of quite affordable goods..
The main suppliers of “shiny stone” are Italy, Greece, Turkey. In recent years, China has been increasingly actively promoting its goods on the Russian market. There are few explored deposits in Russia, mainly in the Urals, in Western and Eastern Siberia and on the Kola Peninsula. Honestly, the quality of the stone does not depend on where it came from, its natural conditions and compliance with mining and processing technologies are more important. But “registration” affects the price, since it includes the cost of labor and customs duties, and transportation costs.
When buying natural marble facing slabs, you need to pay attention to the size and quality of the front surfaces. For tiles with a polished and sanding first class texture, visible defects are generally unacceptable. The second class may have some flaws: no more than two or three tiny damage to the corners and chips along the edges of the perimeter. Colored marble of the first and second class, intended for interior decoration, may have one blind tectonic crack.
It should be borne in mind that there are stones that are difficult enough for color selection, and there are almost homogeneous ones. The discrepancy in the color of tiles of the same breed is a distinctive feature of the natural material, therefore the buyer must agree with the supplier in advance the degree of possible deviations and look at the maximum possible number of samples.
A standard 10mm polished cladding board costs between $ 15 and $ 80 / sqm. The main determining factors are non-standard, shape, color, strength, type of processing. The price for some unique breeds can significantly exceed the basic line. For example, Verde Nicolaus marble – one of the most expensive marbles, with a blue-green tone, costs up to $ 120 / sq. m. With an increase in the thickness of the slab (up to 15, 20, and sometimes up to 30 mm), its cost can increase several times.
Marble is a noble material: the right choice, competent styling, following the recommendations of professionals for care and maintenance will return a hundredfold. And then everyone who deals with him will sign under the words of the great Michelangelo: “Marble is the soul of the universe, the purest essence created by God: it is not just a symbol of God, but a reflection of His face, a means by which the Lord reveals himself. Only the Lord’s hand is capable of creating this noble beauty “.