Stone countertops are all unique. When they are separated, each will show distinct swirling and marbling, giving every countertop an individual appearance. The uniqueness of stone is a big part of why we recommend customers come to our slab yard to decide on a specific stone that is ideal for your next project.
Stylized Stone: Quartz, Granite, Marble from the Quarry
But how does stone move from a quarry to your kitchen? What is the process for extracting, cutting, polishing, and finally installing a new stone countertop? It is a very involved process, using specialized tools for each step.
It all starts at the quarry, a site for extracting massive blocks of stone from the Earth. Depending on the type of stone being extracted they will use a variety of different extraction methods – blasting, drilling, and jet piercing. Some stones cannot withstand blasting reliably, so there are alternatives that are less destructive and more controlled.
The Methods for Extracting Stone for the Okanagan Valley
Blasting is the easiest to explain, and also the most economical option for a quarry to extract stone. It is often used in conjunction with other methods to reach the desired effect. Typically, blocks are drilled into, then explosive charges are placed into the stone itself. The resulting explosion causes the stone to collapse, where it is then pulled and cut to shape.
Drilling is used for softer stones, such as granite. Holes are drilled roughly an inch apart, and twenty feet deep. After the first set of holes are made, a second drill is used to remove the rock in-between each hole, leaving a block of rock ready for cutting, polishing, and transportation.
If it isn’t drilled or blasted, then it is pierced with torches! Using flames that reach temperatures between 300°-600°C, lines are etched into the stone. Passing back and forth, slowly flaking away rock during each pass, grooves are made in the stone. Once these grooves are clear, diamond wires or gang saws are used to separate the blocks.
Polishing Stone to a Radiant Shine
Now that we have large chunks of stone, it needs to be cleaned up to reveal the real beauty inside. Blocks are polished by rotating pads with various amounts of abrasive materials. By the end, the stone will glow, often with a mirror-like appearance. There are special finishes as well, such as honed, brushed, or flamed, all giving a distinct appearance to an already brilliant stone.
Finally, the stone is sealed and prepared for sale and installation. At this point, the work is a creative process. Deciding on a stone with the swirling or marbling you enjoy, how to shape the stone and edges, and whether to etch the stone for a bit of flair. All of these are the finishing touches for a stone that has been brought a long way to complete your kitchen or bathroom, with a style like no other.
Come on down to our slab yard, and find the stone that speaks to you! We also offer leftovers for smaller projects, so there is something for any stone lover to see. Located at #3-656 Willow Park Road, Kelowna – give Creative Stone Solutions a call at 250-765-7655 to make an appointment today!
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