Homeowners and construction contractors value natural stone because of its decorative attributes. Manufacturers and retailers of natural stone are always speaking of its stability and luxury look. They also point out that the material comes in various colors, textures, and attractive patterns to the eye. There’s even talk of natural stone as an eco-friendly material.
But how does natural stone perform over time? Is it just fake hype, or does the material perform after it has been installed? This article tries to find out.
The durability of Natural Stone
In general, natural stone is considered a durable substance. Nevertheless, the durability varies from one natural stone to another. At the end of the day, the durability of each natural stone variety will depend on several factors, including the appearance, strength, and composition of certain materials. Similarly, environmental factors, especially during the formation of natural stone, will affect its performance over time.
You may see a natural stone and think that it is a uniform material. Unfortunately, this will be a misconception because natural materials are formed from various substances. Each of these composite elements has its physical and chemical properties. Even the same natural stone derived from the same quarry can vary in terms of performance.
At the same time, where natural stone is used can also affect its long-term performance. Stones from companies like Saturnia Travertini, that are placed in the exterior parts of the house tend to deteriorate more quickly than stones used in the interior sections of the house. The variation also extends to the stones used in the intersections of the house.
Natural stones used in high traffic areas such as the kitchen will wear out more quickly than natural stones used in less frequented areas such as the bedroom. Even the climate and general weather conditions of the area will affect how your stone performs over time.
The layout of the natural stone is also very important. If you lay the stones in a horizontal manner, they will likely crack or wear out quickly. On the other hand, vertical natural stone installations such as walls tend to last for a very long time.
Nevertheless, you should be aware that things such as high temperature or collection of ice and flowing water will also affect the performance. If the place you stay has a higher surface temperature during the day and a very low surface temperature during the night, the stone will crack. This is because the frequency of temperature changes affects the performance.
Even seemingly insignificant factors such as color affect the durability and general performance of natural stone. It has been proven that brightly colored natural stones tend to absorb more heat during the day. As a result, they will perform poorly over a long period of time. On the other hand, dimly colored natural stone installations absorb very little light. Therefore, they will perform perfectly for many years.
The performance of natural stone over time depends on its original attributes. These are the attributes gained during the natural formation process of the natural stone. As a result, the performance can be short-lived, medium, durable, or highly durable. One of the factors that affect this durability is the structural composition of the natural stone.
If the structure of the natural stone is fine-grained, you can expect it to be strong and perform better than stones with a coarse-grain structure. That is because coarse-grained structures do not resist weather and atmospheric elements as expected due to variations in the size of internal components. Scientific studies show that there will be changes in linear expansion. These changes can be exploited by heat and water forces. The result is cracking at various parts of the natural stone.
The general texture of the natural stone will also affect how it performs. If you use natural stone with a uniform texture, you can expect it to perform perfectly for many decades. That is because the grains of the natural stone will be arranged in a uniform manner throughout the entire structure. As a result, there won’t be any cracks or weaknesses that can be exploited by external forces.
The performance will also increase if you use natural stones with an alternate arrangement of grains. If different types of grains are arranged in an alternating manner, they will create a robust structural composition. This will not only improve the quality of the natural stone but will enhance its durability. External forces will have a hard time trying to penetrate the interior structure of the natural stone.
Location and Physical Properties
The location of your natural stone materials on the building will also determine its performance over a long period of time. Nevertheless, the physical properties will play a greater role. Things such as the absorption rate, resistance to frost, fracturing, porosity, and bulk density will determine the general performance. Materials with a high porosity rate may perform better than materials that don’t let water seep through.
How a specific natural stone absorbs and retains water will have a major impact on its performance. If a large percentage of the stone contains external water, it may be damaged quickly. However, this is something that can change if the material can eliminate water from its pores in a very short time. At the same time, the general ability of the natural stone to withstand heavy loads will also determine its long-term performance. Natural stones with the ability to withstand high pressure can perform better and require little repairs.
The rate of fracturing is also a key determinant. If your ideal natural stone has a high fracture index, you can’t expect it to serve you for many years. Cracks and voids will soon appear on the material’s surface.
You need a natural stone material that will serve your house for a very long time. While several factors affect the strength and durability of natural stones, the area where you are living is a major determinant. Similarly, where you plan to use the natural stone in your house will also play an important part. We hope that you can use these tips to select the right natural stone.