The Stone Selection Guide
Proper care and maintenance of natural stone begins with the right stone selection. When making your selection, it’s important to do your research and consult with a fabricator. They should be able to assist you in choosing the appropriate stone for the environment. The following is a quick guide for selecting the right stone for your home.
A brief history
In 1812 a German mineralogist devised the Mohs Scale of mineral hardness, based on 10 common or most readily available minerals.
This scale can be used today to help homeowners in their stone selection. In short, Harder stones, those with a higher Mohs number, are less susceptible to scratches; whereas those on the scale with a 5 and lower can be more easily scratched by sediment and grit.
Consider the following common minerals for examples:
Softer vs Harder Stones
Calcite based stones include marbles, travertine, limestone, etc. They are commonly found in kitchens. These “softer” stones require a higher level of special care because they scratch easier and can easily etch or stain with acid. They are also more porous, and more likely to allow liquids and other contaminants to absorb into their surface. There are some basic care and maintenance strategies to combat these deficiencies. Some basic strategies include consistently keeping the area clean, using a PH-neutral cleaner, and keeping up on the stone’s seal. Learn more about how to care for and maintain marble here, and how to identify and remove etches and stains here.
Quartz-based stones include granites and sandstones, and these stones are typically used for countertops, flooring, showers, and vertical surfaces, as they are not vulnerable to acids and scratching. Harder stones are better for high traffic areas. Surfaces that will come into contact with water more often should also use a hard stone. However, if you are willing to put in the work to care for a lighter stone, then you can use a lighter stone in a high traffic area as well.
The level of care and maintenance you are willing to put into the surface is really the determining factor in which stone is best for you. Lighter stones simply require more work to care for, while harder stone need less work.
Selecting the right stone may be a difficult task if you don’t have the right information on what is most appropriate for its location. An educated, professional stone fabricator can help you in selecting the right stone for your home.