Agate (pronounced ['ægət]) is a microcrystalline variety of quartz (silica), chiefly chalcedony, characterised by its fineness of grain and brightness of color. Although agates may be found in various kinds of rock, they are classically associated with volcanic rocks but can be common in certain metamorphic rocks.
Colorful agates and other chalcedonies were obtained over 3,000 years ago from the Achates River, now called Dirillo, in Sicily.
The stone was given its name by Theophrastus, a Greek philosopher and naturalist, who discovered the stone along the shore line of the river Achates (Greek: Αχάτης) sometime between the 4th and 3rd centuries BC. The agate has been recovered at a number of ancient sites, indicating its widespread use in the ancient world; for example, archaeological recovery at the Knossos site on Crete illustrates its role in Bronze Age Minoan culture.
Abrasive finish – A flat and nonreflective surface finish.
Abrasive hardness – (Ha) A measure of the wearing qualities of stone for floors, stair treads, and other areas subjected to abrasion by foot traffic. Refer to ASTM C241.
Antique finish – A finish that replicates rusticated or distressed textures. Produced through mechanical or chemical means to simulate the naturally occurring effects of the aging process.
Anchor – A metal fastener used for securing dimension stone to a structure. Anchor types for stonework include those made of flat stock (strap, cramps, dovetails, dowel, strap and dowel, and two-way anchors) and round stock (rod cramp, rod anchor, eyebolt and dowel, flat-hood wall tie and dowel, dowel and wire toggle bolts).
Apron – A trim piece under a projecting stone top, stool, etc.
Arch – The curved or pointed construction over a doorway or opening. Arch shapes range from flat to semicircular or semielliptical to acutely pointed.
Arris – An edge or angle where two surfaces meet; for example, moldings and raised edges.
ASI (Allied Stone Industries) – The Allied Stone Industries is made up of stone quarriers, fabricators, and the suppliers of natural building materials and related machinery and tools.
Back-buttering – The process of slathering the back of a stone tile with thinset material in order to ensure proper mortar coverage. This prevents hollow areas and subsequent future cracking of tiles. Also helpful to ensure a level installation.
Backsplash – The area located between the countertop and lower cabinet. Normally 16- 18 inches in height.
Base – The bottom course of a stone wall, or the vertical first member above grade of a finished floor.
Bevel – A sloped surface contiguous with a vertical or horizontal surface.
Bluestone – A fine- to medium-grain, metamorphic, quartz-based stone of the U.S. Appalachian Plateau and other regions of the world. Formed in the Devonian Period, the upper stone is green and lilac in color, while the middle stone is dark gray and blue.
Bond – 1. Overlapping of joints in successive courses. 2. To stick or adhere.
Book match pattern – A layout in pairs of all stone elements to confirm that the design matches.
Brushed finish – Obtained by brushing a stone with a coarse rotary-type wire brush.
BSI (Building Stone Institute) – A trade association, founded in 1919, of quarriers, fabricators, dealers, and others working with natural stone. Sponsor of the Tucker Architectural Awards.
Bullnose – Convex rounding of a stone member, such as a stair tread.
Bush hammering – A mechanical process which produces textured surfaces that vary from subtle to rough.
Countertops can be made from a very wide range of materials and the cost of the completed countertop can vary very widely depending on the material chosen. The durability and ease of use of the material often rises with the increasing cost of the material but this is not necessarily so; some very expensive materials are neither particularly durable nor easy to use, just stylish. Some common materials are as follows:
Pre- and postformed high-pressure decorative laminates such as Wilsonart Laminate, Formica (plastic) and Arborite
Quartz Surfacing or Engineered Stone is 99.9% solid @ 93% aggregate / 7% polyester resin, colors and binders (Hanstone, Technistone, Silestone, Caesarstone, Avanza, Cambria Quartz, Zodiaq etc.)
Solid-surface acrylic plastic materials such as Corian, Meganite, Avonite, and Wilsonart Solid Surface
Solid-surface Polyester acrylic plastic materials such as Velstone
Cast-in-place materials such as Shirestone (resin plus natural stone)
CaesarStone – Comprised of 93% natural quartz, CaesarStone Quartz Surfaces and Countertops offer the ultimate combination of form and function, allowing for a more diverse, durable, and
practical countertop surfacing material than either granite or marble. With its stain, scratch,
and heat-resistant properties, CaesarStone is the ideal choice for care-free countertops.
Caulking – Closing a joint by sealing with an elastic, adhesive compound.
Chamfer – To cut away the edge where two surfaces meet in an external angle, leaving a bevel at the junction.
Cladding – Non-load-bearing stone veneer used as the facing material in exterior wall construction.
Chiseled edge – A process of mechanically chipping the tile edge, thus giving the stone a rustic, aged appearance.
cut stone – Finished, dimensioned stone ready to set in place.
Dimension stone is natural stone or rock that has been selected and fabricated (i.e., trimmed, cut, drilled, ground, or other) to specific sizes or shapes. Color, texture and pattern, and surface finish of the stone are also normal requirements. Another important selection criterion is durability, the time measure of the ability of dimension stone to endure and to maintain its essential and distinctive characteristics of strength, resistance to decay, and appearance. 
Quarries that produce dimension stone or crushed stone (used as construction aggregate) are interconvertible. Since most quarries can produce either one, a crushed stone quarry can be converted to dimension stone production. However, first the stone shattered by heavy and indiscriminate blasting must be removed. Dimension stone is separated by more precise and delicate techniques, such as diamond wire saws, diamond belt saws, burners (jet-piercers), or light and selective blasting with Primacord, a weak explosive.
Although a variety of igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks are used as dimension stone, the principal rock types are granite, limestone, marble, travertine, quartz-based stone (sandstone, quartzite) and slate. Other varieties of dimension stone that are normally considered to be special minor types include alabaster (massive gypsum), soapstone (massive talc), serpentine and various products fashioned from natural stone. 
The commonest finish mentioned below is polished. A polished finish is one having a surface with high luster and strong reflection of incident light (almost mirror-like). The rougher finishes are bush-hammered, honed, sandblasted, and thermal. A bush-hammered finish is one with a rough uniformly patterned surface produced by an impact tool. A honed finish is one with a superfine, smooth, satinlike, nonreflective surface. A sandblasted surface is one with an irregular pitted surface produced by impacting sand particles at high velocity against a stone surface. A thermal (or flamed) finish is one with a rough nonreflective surface with only a few reflections from cleavage faces, produced by applying a high-temperature flame. This finish may change the natural color of the stone. 
The most easily-accessible general references are the latest (2007) Minerals Yearbook Chapter (production and foreign trade, with statistics), and the latest (Issue 31) Dimension Stone Advocate News (new “building green” developments and demand statistics)
Diamond (from the ancient Greek ἀδάμας, adámas) is the allotrope of carbon where the carbon atoms are arranged in an isometric-hexoctahedral crystal lattice. After graphite, diamond is the second most stable form of carbon. Its hardness and high dispersion of light make it useful for industrial applications and jewelry. It is the hardest known naturally occurring mineral. It is possible to treat regular diamonds under a combination of high pressure and high temperature to produce diamonds that are harder than the diamonds used in hardness gauges.
Diamonds are specifically renowned as a material with superlative physical qualities; they make excellent abrasives because few substances can scratch them. As a result they hold a polish extremely well and retain their lustre. Approximately 130 million carats (26,000 kg (57,000 lb)) are mined annually, with a total value of nearly USD $9 billion, and about 100,000 kg (220,000 lb) are synthesized annually. The dominant industrial use of diamond is in cutting, drilling, grinding, and polishing. Most uses of diamonds in these technologies do not require large diamonds; in fact, most diamonds that are gem-quality except for their small size, can find an industrial use. Diamonds are embedded in drill tips or saw blades, or ground into a powder for use in grinding and polishing applications.
Engineered stone is a composite material comprising rock and resin. It is used primarily for kitchen countertops. A manmade product composed of a blend of natural minerals and manmade agents (such as polyester, glass, epoxy, and other such ingredients). This product can give the appearance of a “stonelike” surface, but it does not possess the characteristics of a natural stone. Its range of use is limited.
Engineered stone products are gaining in popularity and are sometimes preferred over granite products because engineered stone requires less maintenance and has better resistance to stains and bacterial contamination
Epoxy adhesives are a major part of the class of adhesives called “structural adhesives” or “engineering adhesives” (which also includes polyurethane, acrylic, cyanoacrylate, and other chemistries.) These high-performance adhesives are used in the construction of aircraft, automobiles, bicycles, boats, golf clubs, skis, snow boards, and other applications where high strength bonds are required. Epoxy adhesives can be developed to suit almost any application. They are exceptional adhesives for wood, metal, glass, stone, and some plastics. They can be made flexible or rigid, transparent or opaque/colored, fast setting or extremely slow setting. Epoxy adhesives are almost unmatched in heat and chemical resistance among common adhesives. In general, epoxy adhesives cured with heat will be more heat- and chemical-resistant than those cured at room temperature. The strength of epoxy adhesives is degraded at temperatures above 350°F.
Some epoxies are cured by exposure to ultraviolet light. Such epoxies are commonly used in optics, fiber optics, optoelectronics and dentistry.
In chemistry, epoxy or polyepoxide is a thermosetting epoxide polymer that cures (polymerizes and crosslinks) when mixed with a catalyzing agent or hardener. Most common epoxy resins are produced from a reaction between epichlorohydrin and bisphenol-A.
Eased edge – When referring to a slab material, the square edge profile normally has softened edges as opposed to sharp square edges for added safety.
Epoxy resin – A flexible, usually thermalsetting resin made by the polymerization of an epoxide; used as an adhesive.
etched – A decorative surface pattern created by a variety of methods, most often with abrasive chemicals or sandblasting.
Fissure (Latin fissura, Plural fissurae) is a groove, natural division, deep furrow, cleft, or tear in various parts of the body. A hairline opening in the face of stone demonstrating stones natural characteristics; a lineal or non-directional void in the face and crystalline structure of stone that typically is very thin and irregular. See:Dry Seam.
Fabricated – Used in reference to dimension stone, it means manufactured and ready for installation.
Filling – A trade expression used to indicate the filling of natural voids in stone units with cements or synthetic resins and similar materials.
Finish – Final surface applied to the face of dimension stone during fabrication.
Flamed finish – See thermal finish.
Fleuri cut – To cut quarried marble or stone parallel to the natural bedding plane.
Granite (pronounced /ˈɡrænɪt/) is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite has a medium to coarse texture, occasionally with some individual crystals larger than the groundmass forming a rock known as porphyry. Granites can be pink to dark gray or even black, depending on their chemistry and mineralogy. Outcrops of granite tend to form tors, and rounded massifs. Granites sometimes occur in circular depressions surrounded by a range of hills, formed by the metamorphic aureole or hornfels.
Granite is nearly always massive (lacking internal structures), hard and tough, and therefore it has gained widespread use as a construction stone. The average density of granite is 2.75 g/cm3 and its viscosity at standard temperature and pressure is ~4.5 • 1019 Pa·s 
The word granite comes from the Latin granum, a grain, in reference to the coarse-grained structure of such a crystalline rock.
Granite has been extensively used as a dimension stone and as flooring tiles in public and commercial buildings and monuments. Because of its abundance, granite was commonly used to build foundations for homes in New England. The Granite Railway, America’s first railroad, was built to haul granite from the quarries in Quincy, Massachusetts, to the Neponset River in the 1820s. With increasing amounts of acid rain in parts of the world, granite has begun to supplant marble as a monument material, since it is much more durable. Polished granite is also a popular choice for kitchen countertops due to its high durability and aesthetic qualities.
Engineers have traditionally used polished granite surfaces to establish a plane of reference, since they are relatively impervious and inflexible. Sandblasted concrete with a heavy aggregate content has an appearance similar to rough granite, and is often used as a substitute when use of real granite is impractical. A most unusual use of granite was in the construction of the rails for the Haytor Granite Tramway, Devon, England, in 1820. Curling stones are traditionally fashioned of Ailsa Craig granite. The first stones were made in the 1750s, the original source being Ailsa Craig in Scotland. Because of the particular rarity of the granite, the best stones can cost as much as US$1,500. Between 60–70 percent of the stones used today are made from Ailsa Craig granite, although the island is now a wildlife reserve and is no longer used for quarrying.
Granite has been extensively used as a dimension stone and as flooring tiles in public and commercial buildings and monuments. Because of its abundance, granite was commonly used to build foundations for homes in New England. The Granite Railway, America’s first railroad, was built to haul granite from the quarries in Quincy, Massachusetts, to the Neponset River in the 1820s. With increasing amounts of acid rain in parts of the world, granite has begun to supplant marble as a monument material, since it is much more durable. Polished granite is also a popular choice for kitchen countertops due to its high durability and aesthetic qualities
Grain – 1. The main direction of the mineral composition and arrangement in stone; it is also the easiest direction of cleavage. 2. A very small particle of rock, such as a sand grain.
Gauged or Gauging – A grinding process to make all pieces of material to be used together the same thickness.
Honed finish – A satin-smooth surface finish with little or no gloss, recommended for commercial floors.
Igneous rock (etymology from Latin ignis, fire) is one of the three main rock types (the others being sedimentary and metamorphic rock). Igneous rock is formed by magma (molten rock) being cooled and becoming solid . They may form with or without crystallization, either below the surface as intrusive (plutonic) rocks or on the surface as extrusive (volcanic) rocks. This magma can be derived from partial melts of pre-existing rocks in either the Earth’s mantle or crust. Typically, the melting is caused by one or more of three processes: an increase in temperature, a decrease in pressure, or a change in composition. Over 700 types of igneous rocks have been described, most of them formed beneath the surface of the Earth’s crust. These have diverse properties, depending on their composition and how they were formed.
Impregnation – Applying a chemical containing stain inhibitors that penetrates below the surface of the stone.
Incise – To cut inwardly or engrave, as in an inscription.
Jasper is an opaque, impure variety of silica, usually red, yellow or brown in color. This mineral breaks with a smooth surface, and is used for ornamentation or as a gemstone. It can be highly polished and is used for vases, seals, and at one time for snuff boxes. When the colors are in stripes or bands, it is called striped or banded jasper. Jaspilite is a banded iron formation rock that often has distinctive bands of jasper. Jasper is basically chert which owes its red color to iron(III) inclusions. The specific gravity of jasper is typically 2.5 to 2.9.
Joint – A space between installed stone units or between a dimension stone and the adjoining material.
Kerf – A slot cut into the edge of a stone with a saw blade for insertion of anchors.
Keystone – The central stone of an arch, sometimes sculpted or otherwise embellished.
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the mineral calcite (calcium carbonate: CaCO3). The deposition of limestone strata is often a by-product and indicator of biological activity in the geologic record. Calcium (along with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) is a key mineral to plant nutrition: soils overlying limestone bedrock tend to be pre-fertilized with calcium. Limestone is an important stone for masonry and architecture, vying with only granite and sandstone to be the most commonly used architectural stone. Limestone is a key ingredient of quicklime, mortar, cement, and concrete. The solubility of limestone in water and weak acid solutions leads to important phenomena. Regions overlying limestone bedrock tend to have fewer visible groundwater sources (ponds and streams), as surface water easily drains downward through cracks in the limestone. While draining, water slowly (over thousands or millions of years) enlarges these cracks; dissolving the calcium-carbonate and carrying it away in solution. Most well-known natural cave systems are through limestone bedrock.
Lamination – The gluing of two pieces of stone together to produce an edge that can be shaped to create an aesthetic appearance for countertops.
Lippage – A condition where one edge of a stone is higher than adjacent edges, giving the finished surface an uneven appearance.
Marble is a nonfoliated metamorphic rock resulting from the metamorphism of limestone, composed mostly of calcite (a crystalline form of calcium carbonate, CaCO3). It is extensively used for sculpture, as a building material, and in many other applications. The word “marble” is colloquially used to refer to many other stones that are capable of taking a high polish.
Marble is a metamorphic rock resulting from regional or rarely contact metamorphism of sedimentary carbonate rocks, either limestone or dolomite rock, or metamorphism of older marble. This metamorphic process causes a complete recrystallization of the original rock into an interlocking mosaic of calcite, aragonite and/or dolomite crystals. The temperatures and pressures necessary to form marble usually destroy any fossils and sedimentary textures present in the original rock.
Pure white marble is the result of metamorphism of very pure limestones. The characteristic swirls and veins of many colored marble varieties are usually due to various mineral impurities such as clay, silt, sand, iron oxides, or chert which were originally present as grains or layers in the limestone. Green coloration is often due to serpentine resulting from originally high magnesium limestone or dolostone with silica impurities. These various impurities have been mobilized and recrystallized by the intense pressure and heat of the metamorphism.
Metamorphic rock is the result of the transformation of an existing rock type, the protolith, in a process called metamorphism, which means “change in form”. The protolith is subjected to heat and pressure (temperatures greater than 150 to 200 °C and pressures of 1500 bars) causing profound physical and/or chemical change. The protolith may be sedimentary rock, igneous rock or another older metamorphic rock. Metamorphic rocks make up a large part of the Earth’s crust and are classified by texture and by chemical and mineral assemblage (metamorphic facies). They may be formed simply by being deep beneath the Earth’s surface, subjected to high temperatures and the great pressure of the rock layers above it. They can be formed by tectonic processes such as continental collisions which cause horizontal pressure, friction and distortion. They are also formed when rock is heated up by the intrusion of hot molten rock called magma from the Earth’s interior.
The study of metamorphic rocks (now exposed at the Earth’s surface following erosion and uplift) provides us with very valuable information about the temperatures and pressures that occur at great depths within the Earth’s crust.
Some examples of metamorphic rocks are gneiss, slate, marble, schist, and quartzite.
The Mohs scale of mineral hardness characterizes the scratch resistance of various minerals through the ability of a harder material to scratch a softer material. It was created in 1812 by the German mineralogist Friedrich Mohs and is one of several definitions of hardness in materials science. The method, however, is of great antiquity, having first been mentioned by Theophrastus in his treatise On Stones in ca 300 BC, followed by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia circa A.D. 77. Mohs based the scale on ten minerals that are all readily available. As the hardest known naturally occurring substance, diamond is at the top of the scale. The hardness of a material is measured against the scale by finding the hardest material that the given material can scratch, and/or the softest material that can scratch the given material. For example, if some material is scratched by apatite but not by fluorite, its hardness on the Mohs scale would fall between 4 and 5.
Hardness Substance or Mineral
1 Talc, graphite
2.5 to 3 Pure gold, silver, aluminium
3 Calcite, copper
4 to 4.5 Platinum
4 to 5 Steel
6.5 Iron pyrite
6 to 7 Glass, fused quartz
7 to 7.5 Garnet
7 to 8 Hardened steel
8.5 Chrysoberyl, chromium
8.5 to 9 Tungsten carbide
9 to 9.5 Carborundum
<10 Ultra-hard fullerite 10 Diamond >10 Aggregated diamond nanorods, Rhenium diboride
The Marble Institute of America (MIA) has served as the authoritative source of information on standards of natural stone workmanship and practice and the suitable application of natural stone products for over 60 years. Membership in the association is worldwide and includes nearly 2,000 natural stone producers, exporters/importers, distributors/wholesalers, fabricators, finishers, installers, and industry suppliers — all committed to the highest standards of workmanship and ethics. MIA publishes a monthly newsletter for members, markets a range of technical publications and consumer pamphlets on natural stone, sponsors business and technical meetings and seminars on industry-related topics, provides educational programming for architects and construction specification professionals, and conducts the “Rocky” Advertising Awards and the annual Pinnacle Awards competitions recognizing outstanding natural stone projects worldwide.
Miter – The junction of two units at an angle. The junction line usually bisects on a 45° angle.
Mosaic – A veneering that is generally irregular, with no definite pattern. Nearly all stone used in a mosaic pattern is irregular in shape.
NBGQA (National Building Granite Quarries Association) – A trade association whose membership is composed of granite producers in the United States. Collectively, these companies provide a major portion of the architectural granite produced in the U.S.
NTCA (National Tile Contractors Association) – A trade association whose active membership consists of contractors in the United States, with an associate membership of those who supply products and services to the industry.
Natural stone – A product of nature. A stone such as granite, marble, limestone, slate, travertine, or sandstone that is formed by nature, and is not artificial or manmade.
Niche – A recess in an interior or exterior wall usually for a statue or an urn, and typically semicircular in design.
Onyx is a cryptocrystalline form of quartz. The colors of its bands range from white to almost every color (save some shades, such as purple or blue). Commonly, specimens of onyx available contain bands of colors of white, tan, and brown. Sardonyx is a variant in which the colored bands are sard (shades of red) rather than black. Pure black onyx is common, and perhaps the most famous variety, but not as common as onyx with banded colors.
The agate-like sardonyx (banded agate). The specimen is 2.5 cm (1 inch) wide.
It is usually cut as a cabochon, or into beads, and is also used for intaglios and cameos, where the bands make the image contrast with the ground. Some onyx is natural but much is produced by the staining of agate.
The name has sometimes been used, incorrectly, to label other banded lapidary materials, such as banded calcite found in Mexico, Pakistan, and other places, and often carved, polished and sold. This material is much softer than true onyx, and much more readily available. The majority of carved items sold as ‘onyx’ today are this carbonate material.
Ogee is a shape consisting of a concave arc flowing into a convex arc, so forming an S-shaped curve with vertical ends. In architecture, an alternative name for ogee is cyma reversa; talon is also used.
Paving – Stone used as a wearng surface, as in patios, walkways, driveways, etc.
Pedestal – In classical architecture, the support for a column or statue, consisting of a base, dado, and cap.
Polished finish – A glossy surface finish that brings out the full color and character of the stone.
Producer – Company or person that quarries and supplies dimension stone to the commercial market.
Quartzite (from German Quarzit) is a hard metamorphic rock which was originally sandstone. Sandstone is converted into quartzite through heating and pressure usually related to tectonic compression within orogenic belts. Pure quartzite is usually white to grey, though quartzites often occur in various shades of pink and red due to varying amounts of iron oxide (Fe2O3). Other colors are commonly due to impurities of minor amounts of other minerals.
When sandstone is metamorphosed to quartzite, the individual quartz grains recrystallize along with the former cementing material to form an interlocking mosaic of quartz crystals. Most or all of the original texture and sedimentary structures of the sandstone are erased by the metamorphism. Minor amounts of former cementing materials, iron oxide, carbonate and clay, often migrate during recrystallization and metamorphosis. This causes streaks and lenses to form within the quartzite.
Orthoquartzite is a very pure quartz sandstone composed of usually well rounded quartz grains cemented by silica. Orthoquartzite is often 99% SiO2 with only very minor amounts of iron oxide and trace resistant minerals such as zircon, rutile and magnetite. Although few fossils are normally present, the original texture and sedimentary structures are preserved.
Quartzite is very resistant to chemical weathering and often forms ridges and resistant hilltops. The nearly pure silica content of the rock provides little to form soil from and therefore the quartzite ridges are often bare or covered only with a very thin soil and little vegetation.
Quartz (from German Quarz (help·info)) is the second most abundant mineral in the Earth’s continental crust (after feldspar). It is made up of a lattice of silica (SiO2) tetrahedra. Quartz has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale and a density of 2.65 g/cm³.
A quarry is a type of open-pit mine from which rock or minerals are extracted. Quarries are generally used for extracting building materials, such as dimension stone.
Quirk-miter – Linear edge work for corner joints.
Reinforcement – A fabrication technique, often called “rodding,” that refers to the strengthening of unsound marble and limestone by cementing rods into grooves or channels cut into the back of the stone unit. Another method of reinforcement is the lamination of fiberglass to the back of tile units.
Resin – A chemical product, clear to translucent, used in some coating processes.
Reveal – The exposed portion of a stone between its outer face and a window or door set into an opening.
Rock (pitch) faced – Similar to split faced, except that the face of the stone is pitched to a given line and plane, producing a bold appearance rather than the comparatively straight face obtained in split face.
Rodding – See reinforcement.
Sedimentary rock is one of the three main rock types (the others being igneous and metamorphic rock). Sedimentary rock is formed by deposition and consolidation of mineral and organic material and from precipitation of minerals from solution. The processes that form sedimentary rock occur at the surface of the Earth and within bodies of water. Rock formed from sediments covers 75-80% of the Earth’s land area, and includes common types such as limestone, chalk, dolostone, sandstone, conglomerate, some types of breccia, and shale.
Sedimentary rocks are classified by the source of their sediments, and are produced by one or more of:
followed by transportation of sediments, to the place of deposition;
precipitation from solution.
The sediments are then compacted and converted to rock by the process of lithification.
Slate is a fine-grained, foliated, homogeneous metamorphic rock derived from an original shale-type sedimentary rock composed of clay or volcanic ash through low grade regional metamorphism. The result is a foliated rock in which the foliation may not correspond to the original sedimentary layering. Slate is frequently grey in colour especially when seen en masse covering roofs. However, slate occurs in a variety of colours even from a single locality. For example slate from North Wales can be found in many shades of grey from pale to dark and may also be purple, green or cyan. Slate is not to be confused with shale, from which it may be formed, or schist.
Slate can be made into roofing slates, also called roofing shingles, installed by a slater. Slate has two lines of breakability: cleavage and grain. This makes it possible to split slate into thin sheets. When broken, slate produces a natural appearance while remaining relatively flat and can be easily stacked. Silicone glue adheres to slate.
Slate tiles are often used for interior and exterior flooring, stairs, walkways, and wall cladding. Tiles are installed and set on mortar and grouted along the edges. Chemical sealants are often used on tiles to improve durability and appearance, increase stain resistance, reduce efflorescence, and increase or reduce surface smoothness. Tiles are often sold gauged, meaning that the back surface is ground for ease of installation. Slate flooring can however be slippery when used in external locations subject to rain. Slate tiles were used in 19th century UK building construction (apart from roofs) and in slate quarrying areas such as Bethesda there are still many buildings wholly constructed of slate. Slates can also be set into walls to provide a rudimentary damp-proof membrane. Small offcuts are used as shims to level floor joists. In areas where slate is plentiful it is also used in pieces of various sizes for building walls and hedges, sometimes combined with other kinds of stone.
Soapstone (also known as steatite or soaprock) is a metamorphic rock, a talc-schist. It is largely composed of the mineral talc and is rich in magnesium. It is produced by dynamothermal metamorphism and metasomatism, which occurs at the areas where tectonic plates are subducted, changing rocks by heat and pressure, with influx of fluids, but without melting. It has been a medium for carving for thousands of years.
Silestone® is naturally beautiful, durable quartz. Silestone is the world’s leading natural quartz surface – a superior stone for myriad interior surfacing applications because of its ideal combination of beauty and practicality. Silestone® features a range of more than 65 unique colors. Silestone is a dense, non-porous stone that delivers unsurpassed reliability and performance – scratch-resistance and stain-resistance with no sealing required in a large variety of naturally beautiful colors. Silestone’s non-porous surface protects your countertops from staining and prevents liquids from penetrating the surface.
Silestone is also the only countertop with Microban™ anti-microbial protection included in every slab. Microban is built-in during manufacturing to provide continuous antimicrobial product protection. While Microban protection does not protect users from food-borne illness and is not a substitute for normal cleaning practices, it does result in countertops that are easier to clean and stay clean.
In plumbing, a sink or basin is a bowl-shaped fixture that is used for washing hands or small objects. In American plumbing parlance, a bathroom sink is known as a lavatory. You can use it to wash your hands.
Sinks generally have taps (faucets) that supply hot and cold water and may include a spray feature to be used for faster rinsing. They also include a drain to remove used water; this drain may itself include a strainer and/or shut-off device and an overflow-prevention device. Sinks may also have an integrated soap dispenser.
Stainless steel is defined as a steel alloy with a minimum of 10% chromium content by mass. Stainless steel does not stain, corrode, or rust as easily as ordinary steel (it stains less), but it is not stain-proof. It is also called corrosion-resistant steel or CRES when the alloy type and grade are not detailed, particularly in the aviation industry. There are different grades and surface finishes of stainless steel to suit the environment to which the material will be subjected in its lifetime. Common uses of stainless steel are cutlery, watch straps, and plumbing sinks & fixtures.
A Stove, cooker or cookstove is a kitchen appliance designed for the purpose of cooking food. Kitchen stoves rely on the application of direct heat for the cooking process and may also contain an oven, used for baking.
Silicones are largely inert, man-made compounds with a wide variety of forms and uses. Typically heat-resistant, nonstick, and rubberlike, they are commonly used in cookware, medical applications, sealants, adhesives, lubricants, and insulation.
Sandstone is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-size mineral or rock grains. Most sandstone is composed of quartz and/or feldspar because these are the most common minerals in the Earth’s crust. Like sand, sandstone may be any color, but the most common colors are tan, brown, yellow, red, gray and white. Since sandstone beds often form highly visible cliffs and other topographic features, certain colors of sandstone have been strongly identified with certain regions.
Saddles – See thresholds.
Sample – A piece of dimension stone, usually 12″ x 12″, showing the general range of color, markings, and finish of a given variety of stone.
Sandblasted – A matte-textured surface finish with no gloss, finished by application of a steady flow of sand and water under pressure.
Sawed edge – A clean-cut edge generally achieved by cutting with a diamond blade, gang saw, or wire saw.
Sculpture – The work of a sculptor cutting a three-dimensional form from a block of stone.
Sealing – 1. To make a veneer joint watertight with an elastic adhesive compound. 2. Application of a treatment to retard staining.
Setter – An experienced journeyman who installs dimension stone.
Setting – The trade of installing dimension stone.
Shim – A piece of plastic or other noncorrosive, nonstaining material used to hold joints to size.
Shop drawing – A detailed fabrication and installation drawing showing dimensions and methods of anchorage.
Slab – A lengthwise-cut piece sawn or split from a quarry block prior to fabrication.
Spall – A chip or splinter separated from the main mass of a stone.
Split – faced stone -Stone on which the face has been broken to an approximate plane.
Travertine is a sedimentary rock. It is a natural chemical precipitate of carbonate minerals; typically aragonite, but often recrystallized to, or primarily, calcite. Travertine forms as calcium carbonate is deposited from the water of mineral springs or rivulets that are saturated with dissolved calcium bicarbonate. The spring water from which the calcium carbonate precipitates can be hot, warm or cold. The rate of deposition increases with the temperature of the water, or alternatively, when biotic material accelerates the process of precipitation. The ornate columns of travertine in caves are an example of an inorganic chemical sedimentary rock.
Terrazzo is a faux-marble flooring or countertopping material. Terrazzo workers create walkways, floors, patios, and panels by exposing marble chips and other fine aggregates on the surface of finished concrete or epoxy-resin. Much of the preliminary work of terrazzo workers is similar to that of cement masons. Marble-chip, cementitious terrazzo requires three layers of materials. First, cement masons or terrazzo workers build a solid, level concrete foundation that is 3 to 4 inches deep. After the forms are removed from the foundation, workers add a 1-inch layer of sandy concrete. Before this layer sets, terrazzo workers partially embed metal divider strips in the concrete wherever there is to be a joint or change of color in the terrazzo. For the final layer, terrazzo workers blend and place into each of the panels a fine marble chip mixture that may be color-pigmented. While the mixture is still wet, workers toss additional marble chips of various colors into each panel and roll a lightweight roller over the entire surface.
A tile is a manufactured piece of hard-wearing material such as ceramic, stone, metal, or even glass. Tiles are generally used for covering roofs, floors, and walls, showers, or other objects such as tabletops. Alternatively, tile can sometimes refer to similar units made from lightweight materials such as perlite, wood, and mineral wool, typically used for wall and ceiling applications. Less precisely, the modern term can refer to any sort of construction tile or similar object, such as rectangular counters used in playing games (see tile-based game). The word is derived from the French word tuile, which is, in turn, from the Latin word tegula, meaning a roof tile composed of baked clay.
Tiles are often used to form wall and floor coverings, and can range from simple square tiles to complex mosaics. Tiles are most often made from ceramic, with a hard glaze finish, but other materials are also commonly used, such as glass, marble, granite, slate, and reformed ceramic slurry, which is cast in a mould and fired.
Technistone is a stone product enhanced by technological innovation to create a surface with the beauty and charm of natural stone and yet one that is more durable, requires less maintenance, and is a safer more hygienic surface. Technistone carries a 10-year warranty against manufacturer defects, beginning at the date of installation.
TCA (Tile Council Of America) – An organization of manufacturers serving the ceramic tile industry. Its programs include promotion of the uses of tile, improvement of product standards and quality, development of new installation methods and techniques, and publication of the annual Installation Handbook. Many of the installation techniques detailed in the handbook can be used to set stone tile.
Template – A pattern for a repetitive marking or fabricating operation.
Texture – Surface quality of stone independent of color.
Textured finish – A rough surface finish.
Thermal finish – A surface treatment applied by intense heat flaming.
Threshold – A flat strip of stone projecting above the floor between the jambs of a door. Also known as a “saddle.”
Tile – A thin modular stone unit, generally less than ¾” thick.
Tolerance – Dimensional allowance in the fabrication process.
Translucence – The ability of many lighter-colored marbles to transmit light.
Tread – A flat stone used as the top walking surface on steps.
Tumbled finish – A weathered, aging finished created when the stone is tumbled with sand, pebbles, or steel bearings.
Unit – A piece of fabricated cubic or thin dimension stone.
Undercut – Cut so as to present an overhanging part.
Vein – A layer, seam, or narrow irregular body of mineral material different from the surrounding formation.
Vein cut – A cut into quarried stone perpendicular to the natural bedding plane.
Veneer – An interior or exterior stone wall covering layer.
Wainscot – An interior veneer of stone covering the lower portion of an interior wall.
Water – jet finish – A surface treatment performed by using water under extreme high pressure.
Waxing – The practice of filling minor surface imperfections such as voids or sand holes with melted shellac, cabinetmaker’s wax, or certain polyester compounds. In the dimension stone industry, it does not refer to the application of paste wax to make surfaces shinier.
Zodiaq is an engineered stone made by DuPont comprised of 93% quartz crystal and 7% acrylic resin, colors and binders. The product is manufactured in DuPont’s Granirex plant in Thetford Mines, Canada. It is used most often as kitchen countertops but also as walls. Its primary advantage is that unlike natural stone products (marble, granite, limestone, wood), Zodiaq is non-porous and does not require a sealant that must be periodically reapplied. Porous products, like granite, are prone to growing molds and staining. The color of Zodiaq is consistent throughout. DuPont offers a 10 year warranty on the installation, (as well as the product itself) if the job is done by a certified fabricator/installer.