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Frequently asked questions in marble, limestone and slabs market.

How many natural stones exist in nature?

The production of stones is so vast today that there are an estimated 3,000 different materials available on the market on the world scale. The term "ornamental stone" indicates all the materials that can be extracted and processed with specific technologies. These materials possess technical and aesthetic characteristics that enable them to be used in many applications, including in the building construction sector, both to satisfy decorative requirements and structural needs.

What is marble and how is it distinguished from granite, travertine and stone?

All too often, the term marble is used to indicate any type of stone that is processed and used for decorative purposes, on the assumption that the functional qualities are the same. More specifically, it should be stressed that the structural differences between marble and other stones reside in the chemical make up of the material. These materials are divided into four categories: marbles, stones, granite and travertine, as stated by the National Institution of Unification – UNI in norm 8458, relative to "General Terminology and Classification".

"Marble" is a calcareous stone that has undergone a certain degree of metamorphosis, assuming a crystalline structure and a granular weave. Marbles are a single family of stone, including all materials that can be extracted, processed and used with similar techniques as exquisitely marble material.

"Granites" in general belong to the family of siliceous materials, but also include many families of stones, from the commercial standpoint (intrusive, volcanic and metamorphic). Characteristically, they have a granular, crystalline structure and a state of aggregation of particles that confer them with properties that are totally different from marbles.

The term "stones" customarily indicates types of rocks other than marbles and granites. "According to the UNI 8458 norm, the term stone is commercially understood as construction rock that cannot be polished". Stones range from sandstone to pyroclastic stones, from calcareous stone to quartzite, from slate to porphyry, gneiss and scarcely cemented sedimentary rock. These peculiarities have enabled stones to be used in construction, especially in urban, rustic and rural environments, thanks also to their versatility and economic convenience.

Are there differences in quality between stones from one country, as opposed to another?

No. It is an erroneous concept from the outset to differentiate materials according to their geographic origin. The value of a stone depends exclusively on its technical and physical properties and the final application it is used for.

What special treatment does natural stone require?

Regular cleaning with neutral and not excessively aggressive products is the first rule to bear in mind. It is a good idea to consult experts who can provide precise indications on the basis of the stone in question.

Why should you use natural stone in your home?

Natural stone has a historical and cultural value that no other product possesses. Stone is synonymous with classical construction and luxury, but this does not mean that its cost is prohibitive. Additionally, natural stone is "ecologically friendly", inasmuch as it is a completely natural product, even in its processes of transformation and production.

Is it better to prefer a light coloured stone or a dark coloured stone?

The choice of a light coloured stone rather than a dark one is an exquisitely personal choice. On the basis of the application, on the other hand, it is a good idea to know whether it is best to use a marble, stone, limestone, travertine or an onyx.

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please read the frequently asked questions on marble, limestone, onyx ...


GlossaryGuide to study the terms of the stone industry.

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