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Design matters

Design matters
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First Published: Wed, Aug 05 2009. 09 46 PM IST
Updated: Wed, Aug 05 2009. 09 46 PM IST
Surface finishes
Polished: Glossy, mirror-like shine. Granite, marble and limestone are frequently polished and require varying degrees of maintenance to preserve the finish.
Honed: Flat matte or satin finish, shows fewer scratches and requires less maintenance. Marble, limestone, travertine and slate are the best choices.
Acid washed: Shiny with tiny etching marks or pits, shows fewer scratches and has a more rustic appearance than honed. Most stones can be acid-washed, but most common are marble and limestone. Acid washing is also used to soften the shine on granite.
Flamed: Heating followed by rapid cooling causes the surface to pop and crack, creating a rough texture. Usually employed on granite for areas where non-slip properties are preferred (baths, stairs).
Split-faced: Rough texture, but not as textured as flamed. Primarily done on slate.
Tumbled: Smooth or slightly pitted surface with broken, rounded edges and corners. Marble and limestone are primary candidates.
Brushed: Simulates natural wear over time.
Maintenance
To increase the life of your stone floor and countertops:
• Frequently sweep or vacuum to prevent accumulation of dirt, which can be ground in when you walk across
• Mop with a mild soap and water solution daily. Dry with a soft cloth
• Occasionally, a good scrubbing is required to remove dirt stuck in textured surfaces
• Mop up spills immediately. Don’t wipe the area, blot, otherwise, the spilled liquid spreads across a larger area
• Avoid cleaners containing lemon, vinegar or other acids
• For stubborn stains, try a slightly stronger solution of detergent or a non-abrasive cream cleaner
• Once a year, polish and touch up stone surfaces.
Shopping tips
• When choosing hard stones such as quartzite and granite, focus on colour and the ability to take a polish. It takes greater effort to polish these stones. This is of special relevance if you are considering using a hard stone such as granite in combination with a soft one such as marble. In such cases, pre-polish the granite before installation, say experts
• Some brittle stones such as Kota are prone to chipping, so edges need to be treated
• With soft stones such as marble, check for thickness, cracks and embedded impurities. Defects such as rot-like patches, tiny holes and spots represent embedded foreign matter that may pop out on grinding. These defects should be filled with epoxy resin and polished smooth
•Cracks in stone are natural but undesirable. They are sometimes patched up using epoxy resin, but show up easily on the rear if water is poured on the front face
• Make sure stone slabs are at least 20mm thick
• Always pick up stone from the same “lot”. Pre-cut stone pieces are always made from different “lots” or leftovers
• Knock on stone with another hard stone. A good dense marble gives a clear ringing sound
• Sheet size is critical for limestone and sandstone. Such stones are usually available in sizes under a square metre. “Larger sizes can be custom-made, but delivery takes up to 30 days. Also, the larger the slab, the greater the thickness. The price varies accordingly,” says architect Navneet Malhotra. The ability to pick up a good polish isn’t a criterion for these stones, so choose higher resistance to stains
• Dholpur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer are available in various colours. Check for evenness of tone
• Never look at just one slab. Inspect each piece carefully. Carry an OHP marker and sign on the edge of each slab to avoid mix-ups
• All stones of Indian origin are billed on minimum usable area. Broken, jagged pieces come free and can be used for skirting.
Buy
Kota green (limestone): Rs18-25 per sq. ft for uncut slabs up to 2ftx4ft
Jaisalmer yellow (sandstone): Rs50-75 per sq. ft for random-sized slabs
Chittorgarh brown (sandstone): Rs50-75 per sq. ft for random-sized slabs
Katni green (marble): Rs50-75 per sq. ft for random-sized slabs
Udaipur green (marble): Rs50-75 per sq. ft for random-sized slabs
Dholpur beige (sandstone): Rs15-20 per sq. ft for slabs up to 4ftx2ft
Agra red (sandstone): Rs15-20 per sq. ft for slabs up to 4ftx2ft
Black Cuddapah (limestone): Rs25-40 per sq. ft for slabs up to 4ftx2ft
Makrana (marble): Rs200-1,500, depending on colour and clarity.
Costing inputs from Rajul Singhal of Stone Plus (India) Pvt. Ltd.
All content provided by Better Interiors
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First Published: Wed, Aug 05 2009. 09 46 PM IST
More Topics: Design | Architecture | Stones | Kota green | Agra red |