Natural Stone Slabs
Travertine is a sedimentary rock formed near springs or running water. When water rich in carbon dioxide percolates through limestone, it is actually acidic enough to dissolve the limestone, and become saturated with calcium carbonate. When there is a change in the environment (a change in temperature or a drop in pressure) that the water is running through, the water releases the carbon dioxide as a gas creating a “fizzy” solution. The dissolved calcium carbonate then precipitates out of the solution and recrystallizes. Small debris, scrub, and biotic material (moss, algae, etc) become encrusted and form the travertine. Travertine is quite porous, and contains an abundance of cavities, giving it a very coral like appearance.
Most travertine come filled and honed, though some do come polished. The most common use for travertine is flooring, though it can also be used for fireplace surrounds, vanity, and table tops. Visit our gallery to see more travertine projects.
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed mostly of the mineral Calcite. The bulk of Calcite in limestone is derived from marine organisms. As these organisms die, their shells settle on to the ocean floor and deteriorate over time forming what is known as pelagic ooze. When conditions are right the Calcite precipitates out of solution, forming Calcite crystals, thus cementing everything together.
Over the years limestone has been very popular in architecture, the most famous structures being the Great Pyramids in Egypt. Many buildings in North America and Europe have also been constructed out of limestone. However limestone is very reactive to acid rain, so many of these structures have been severely damaged. When cleaning limestone be sure to use either a neutral or slightly alkaline cleaner. Some common uses of limestone are fireplace surrounds, flooring, vanity, and table tops.
Soapstone is relatively soft because of its high talc content, talc having a definitional value of 1 on the Mohs hardness scale. Softer grades may feel similar to soap when touched, hence the name. There is no fixed hardness for soapstone because the amount of talc it contains varies widely, from as little as 30% for architectural grades such as those used on countertops, to as much as 80% for carving grades.
Currently, soapstone is most commonly used for architectural applications, such as counter tops, floor tiles, showerbases and interior surfacing.