What is Marble?
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals. It is composed primarily of the mineral calcite (CaCO3) and usually contains other minerals, such as clay minerals, micas, quartz, pyrite, iron oxides, and graphite.
In geology, the term “marble” refers to metamorphosed limestone, but its use in stonemasonry more broadly encompasses unmetamorphosed limestone. A related rock, dolomitic marble, is produced when dolostone is subjected to heat and pressure.
Marble is a classic architectural material and is suitable for a variety of applications from countertops to building facades.
Physical Properties and Uses of Marble
Marble occurs in large deposits that can be hundreds of feet thick and geographically extensive. This allows it to be economically mined on a large scale, with some mines and quarries producing millions of tons per year.
Most marble is made into either crushed stone or dimension stone. Crushed stone is used as an aggregate in highways, railroad beds, building foundations, and other types of construction.
Dimension stone is produced by sawing marble into pieces of specific dimensions. These are used in monuments, buildings, sculptures, paving and other projects.
Marble is usually a light-colored rock. When it is formed from a limestone with very few impurities, it will be white in color. Marble that contains impurities such as clay minerals, iron oxides, or bituminous material can be bluish, gray, pink, yellow, or black in color.
Marble of extremely high purity with a bright white color is very useful. It is often mined, crushed to a powder, and then processed to remove as many impurities as possible. The resulting product is called “whiting.” This powder is used as a coloring agent and filler in paint, whitewash, putty, plastic, grout, cosmetics, paper, and other manufactured products.
- White Marble
- Cream Marble
- Black Marble
- Red Marble
- Brown Marble
- Pink Marble
- Yellow Marble
- Green Marble
How is Marble Used?
Marble is a very hard stone with many uses. It can be polished to look very smooth, shiny, and beautiful. Most marble is made into either crushed stone or dimension stone.
Marble for Sculpture
Because the low index of refraction of calcite allows light to penetrate several millimeters into the stone before being scattered out, resulting in the characteristic waxy look which gives “life” to marble sculptures of any kind, which is why many sculptors preferred and still prefer marble for sculpting.
Marble for Construction
Construction marble is a stone which is composed of calcite, dolomite or serpentine which is capable of taking a polish. In the dimension stone trade, the term “marble” is used for any crystalline calcitic rock (and some non-calcitic rocks) useful as building stone.
Marble is a luxurious natural stone. It will add a touch of class to floors, countertops, and backsplashes throughout your home.
Like as Travertine Stone, Marble has 5 finishes. So that we explain it with pictures.
Polished: The sleek, shiny surface of polished marble makes it the most popular marble finish. Its high gloss comes from finishing the stone with diamond discs, and other buffers and polishes.
Polished marble works well in both contemporary and traditional settings. Not only is the polished finish versatile, but it also makes the marble less porous and easier to maintain than other floor finishes.
Keep in mind that polished floors do tend to show scratches, so it might not be the best finish for busy families with kids, or for homeowners whose pets have sharp nails. Plus, the sleek surface can be slippery when wet, and should therefore not be installed in wet areas, like on bathroom floors.
Marbles, granites and some of the harder, finer-grained lime stones can be polished. This gives a smooth and reflective finish and brings out all the subtleties and beauty of the stone.
Honed: Honed marble has an old-world look and an almost buttery feel, but it resists scratches and stands up to high-traffic areas.
Honed finishes are created when abrasives remove small bits of stone from slabs or tile. Scratches virtually disappear on honed finishes; however, wine spills can more easily soak into honed marble, which is more porous than other finishes.
A honed finish is created in a similar way to the polished finish above but the process stops with a coarser grade of grit.
This means that the finish is less glossy and reflective but still smooth and may have a small degree of sheen. Many of the quarries will alter the degree of honing to suit the customer’s requirements.
Tumbled: Tumbled marble is, as you might imagine, tumbled in a drum that contains rocks, sand, or other abrasives. These create small holes and chips in the surface of the stone. The result is a finish that feels smooth but looks worn, which adds warmth to any décor.
Tumbled marble gives feet a better grip when stepping out of a shower. That’s why tumbled is a great finish for marble floor tiles in bathrooms.
Brushed: A brushed finish makes marble look like it was installed ages ago, giving it a natural and antique look. To do it, manufacturers gently brush the surface of marble until it becomes textured.
The result is a warm, aged worn look. However, brushed marble is more porous than polished and must be sealed frequently to resist staining. Brushed also needs to be swept or vacuumed frequently, because dust tends to collect in the textured surface.
Flamed: A flamed finish is created by passing an oxy-acetylene torch over the surface of the stone and then following it immediately with a cold pressurized jet of water to fracture the top surface of the stone. On some types of stone, such as limestone and sandstone it gives a non-slip surface which is ideal for terraces or public paved areas. This is a specialized technique and not all quarries have this equipment in their workshops.
Sandblasted: Sandblasting is a technique that also gives a more slip-resistant surface. Suitable for outside areas or for wet areas. This is used this on shower trays and wet-rooms and also on patios. It is created by spraying the surface with sand, ceramic beads or other abrasive components at a high pressure onto the surface of the stone. This process tends to lighten the look of the stone and can mask the character by hiding the veins and shell fossils.