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Glossary of Terms

  • Absorption
  • The relative porosity of the material. Materials with low absorption will be less prone to staining. Materials with high-absorption may not be suitable for all applications, specifically kitchen countertops that come into regular contact with oils or pigmented acidic liquids such as wine or balsamic vinegar.

  • Acid Etching
  • Materials that contain calcium or magnesium carbonate (marble, travertine, limestone and onyx) will react to acidic foods such as lemons or tomatoes. This reaction will result in a change in surface sheen, otherwise referred to as “acid etching”. Lighter stones and honed surfaces will typically diminish the appearance of acid etching.

  • Antiqued Finish
  • A finish with a worn aged appearance, achieved by mechanically rubber-brushing the tile.

  • Buttering / Back Buttering
  • The process of slathering the back of a stone tile with thinset material to ensure proper mortar coverage. This prevents hollow areas and subsequent future cracking of tiles. It also helps ensure a level installation.

  • Backsplash
  • The area located between the countertop and lower cabinet. Normally 16-18" in height.

  • Basalt
  • A volcanic (igneous) stone that has been used in architecture for centuries and is thought to be one of the main components of oceanic crust. The fissures and small holes in the surface are evidence of the earth’s natural gasses flowing through and escaping from the stone. Basalts are rich in magnesium, feldspar, pyroxene and iron, with hints of olivine and amphibole; all of which are siliceous materials similar to those in a granite.

  • Bleed
  • Staining caused by corrosive metals, oil-based putties, mastics, caulking, or sealing compounds.

  • Book Matched
  • Layout wherein slabs are cut to create a mirror image of each other.

  • Brushed Finish
  • A smooth finish achieved by brushing a stone with a coarse rotary-type wire brush.

  • Bush Hammered
  • A textured finish achieved by mechanically hammering the surface with a small metal round. This process produces regular contiguous hollows in the surface of the stone.

  • Chemical Resistance
  • Material resistance to physical or chemical reactions as a result of contact with or immersion in various solvents, acids, alkalies, salts, etc.

  • Chiseled Finish
  • A finish achieved by mechanically chipping the tile, thus giving the stone a rustic, aged appearance.

  • Cladding
  • Non-load-bearing stone veneer used as the facing material in exterior wall construction.

  • Coping
  • A flat stone used as a cap on a freestanding wall to help shield the wall from the effects of weather.

  • Cross-Cut
  • Refers to a stone block that is cut parallel to the natural bedding plane, resulting in slabs with a mottled or cloud-like appearance.

  • Efflorescence
  • Tiles or slabs that are exposed to moisture, may over time, develop a white or dark film on the surface. It is caused by caused by water carrying mineral salts from below the surface of the stone rising to the exterior of the stone. When the water evaporates, it leaves the powdery substance, or film.

  • Face
  • The exposed surface of stone on a structure.

  • Face Matched
  • Layout wherein slabs are cut and finished in consecutive order.

  • Finish
  • Final surface treatment applied to the face of a stone during fabrication.

  • Honed Finish
  • A finish achieved by using diamond abrasives to give the surface a smooth, matte finish.

  • Honed + Filled Finish
  • A finish achieved when naturally-occurring holes in the material are filled with cement or resin prior to honing.

  • Impregnator
  • A maintenance product containing stain inhibitors that penetrate below the surface of the stone.

  • Limestone
  • A sedimentary rock composed primarily of calcite or dolomite. The varieties of limestone used as dimensional stone are usually well consolidated and exhibit a minimum of graining or bedding direction.

  • Quarry
  • Any location where stone is extracted from the earth through an open pit or underground mine.

  • Quarry Block
  • Generally refers to a rectangular piece of rough stone as it is extracted from a quarry. Quarry blocks are frequently dressed (scabbed) or wire-sawed prior to shipment.

  • Quartz
  • A silicon dioxide mineral that is one of the most abundant minerals in the earth’s crust; quartz appears in sedimentary (limestone), metamorphic (marble) and igneous (basalt) rocks.

  • Quartzite
  • A metamorphic rock formed by the alteration of sandstone due to heat, pressure and chemical activity. The layers found within quartzite materials are very hard.

  • Sandstone
  • A clastic sedimentary stone, comprised mainly of quartz or feldspar.

  • Schist
  • A loose term applying to foliated metamorphic (recrystallized) rock.

  • Sealant
  • An elastic adhesive compound used to seal stone veneer joints, or

    a maintenance product used to protect the stone from staining.

  • Sealing
  • To make a veneer joint watertight using an elastic adhesive compound. Application of a treatment to to protect the stone from staining.

  • Sedimentary
  • A rock formed from the accumulation and consolidation of sediment, usually in layered deposits.

  • Slate
  • A foliated metamorphic rock that is formed through the metamorphism of shale. It is a low-grade metamorphic rock that splits into thin pieces.

  • Split Chiseled Finish
  • A finish achieved when mechanically-cut grooves are applied to the face of a material. The high points of the grooves are then chipped off using a chisel.

  • Tile
  • A thin modular stone unit, generally less than ¾” thick.

  • Travertine
  • A variety of limestone that tends to form in caves or around hot springs where carbonate-bearing water is exposed to air. When the water evaporates, a small deposit of calcium carbonate is left behind.

  • Vein
  • A layer, seam, or narrow irregular body of mineral material that is different from the surrounding formation. Veins are formed when there is a fracture in the body that has been filled with mineral material.

  • Vein Cut
  • Refers to a stone block that is cut perpendicular to the natural bedding plane, resulting in slabs that have a linear veining structure.

  • Veneer
  • An interior or exterior stone wall covering layer.