Even though the use of natural stone dates back to ancient times, technology has not been ignored by architects, quarry masters, fabricators, installation contractors, and interior designers who work with this timeless construction material. When you choose natural stone for your countertops, floors, panels, walls, and gardens, there is a chance some of the following technologies have been utilized.
Some of the most exquisite marble in the world comes from Marmara Island in Turkey, where numerous quarries have been in operation ever since marble extraction was commissioned by aristocratic clans who claimed allegiance to Constantine the Great in the 4th century. Back then, Roman soldiers deployed to the island knew their destiny would involve working very long hours at the quarries, a task that would later be handled by slaves. These days, marble extraction is accomplished by advanced machinery and tools such as block and cross cutters that make precise extraction easier. At these quarries, Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) machines are used to cut and polish slabs and tiles for clients who wish to purchase finished products.
Prior to sealing tiles or slabs, artists can etch intricate designs on the stone surface with modern sandblasting tools. The best effects can be obtained with dark and heavy stones such as marble and granite since sandblasting creates various shades of gray for contrasts. Sandblasting can also be applied to dark flagstone, but the designs may not last too long even with a strong finish. Your best bet for protecting the finish of a sandblasted stone is to seal it regularly with a granite sealer such as Granite Gold Sealer®.
Many of the architectural plans of palaces and churches from the Renaissance period have been lost through the ages. Still, modern blueprints have been recreated with scanners and 3D modeling software. Ancient and intricate stonework and masonry techniques are being revealed by archaeologists using this technology, which means you can replicate the travertine stonework of Roman courtyards right in your patio.
Detailed Surface Work
Many providers of natural stone are also fabricators who keep a few blocks and raw slabs in stock for custom design purposes. Modern stone fabrication involves the use of CNC machines for precision cutting and carving. Detailed surface work begins with computer-aided design (CAD) software that can be translated into CNC machine instructions. If you want a replica of the statue of David sculpted by Michelangelo in the early 1500s, a CAD specialist would start by imaging the sculpture and creating a digital file that can be interpreted by the CNC machine and its operators to carve a marble block. Fabricators keep a set of CNC instruction files as templates for popular designs they can easily produce. Custom designs generally cost more, particularly if they require CAD work or if the client chooses a very hard stone such as iron red granite, which will need frequent replacement of saws and blades.
Though the technology for designing with natural stone may seem complex, taking care of stone countertops is fairly simple. All you need to do is regularly use a safe-on-stone cleaner, sealer, and granite polish. All of the products at Granite Gold® are safe to use on all types of stone, from granite and marble to slate and travertine. Call 1-800-475-STONE today to learn more.