London builders: How to choose a natural stone. Part One.
Natural stone has been used as a material for premises interior furnishing for a long time now. It is used for walls tiling and floor tiling, wall columns, worktops, fireplaces, interior design elements. However, to provide a long term of service of all these items it is necessary to make a correct choice of stone and materials for finishing. This means to take into account service conditions of the materials used for the exterior and interior decoration.
It is rather easy to do it; you should just know inherent characteristics of the type of stone you like and the problems which you can face in the process of its usage. These problems have become fewer over the years as many centuries ago natural stone was exposed only to mechanical treatment and now there have been developed lots of means of its protection, adding to its prolonged and more comfortable maintenance.
However, house refurbishment or flat renovation demand to choose a proper natural stone for the decoration and knowledge of some useful tips would help to avoid even pinpricks in the future.
Since it is the hall that we immediately see when we enter the house, we shall start from it. In this small but important chamber natural stone is generally used for finishing of walls and floor. As a rule, walls are not exposed to aggressive influence of moisture, mud, chemicals or chafing, therefore, any type of natural stone finishing will be appropriate here. On the vertical surfaces both picturesque elements with rough chips such as limestone, and smooth tiles will make a favorable impression. Polished marble and granite look especially effective.
There are fewer options for floor making: it is unreasonable to use stone with porous structure – it won’t serve long and will need too much time for care. Granite is the undisputed leader among materials for floor tile. It is strong and wear-resistant enough; rich scale of colors of this natural stone allows not only combining it with any designer’s decisions but making an accent exactly on the floor covering.
Special consideration should be given to stone texture, since regularity of care and its complexity depend much on the surface: whether it is smooth and polished or rugged. Smooth surface is easier to clean, but with the lapse of time there appear worn-out zones in the areas of the highest usage. It is a little bit harder to clean rugged surface, because dust and street mud get into the smallest hollows.
Natural stone care and maintenance liquids allow you to simplify cleaning: mug protective liquids which are regularly applied on the tile will considerably reduce the time for cleaning and provide a perfect result. By the way, the same liquids could be applied to the wall tiles too.
If you are keen on smooth tile (well-polished dark granite reflects walls and ceiling of the lighted hall like a mirror, giving the apartment more grandeur), use the anti-slip tapes. They are easy to apply, absolutely invisible and provide a good result. Just remember to renovate protective film from time to time.
Bathrooms decoration in general deserves special attention as the object of natural stone decoration. Bathroom tiles, being constantly exposed to the influence of water and steam, with the lapse of time amasses lime scale on its surface and with very high humidity mould can appear. Certainly, there is a way out: in the first case to put filters for water purification and softening, and in the second one – to provide good ventilation. However, to provide long service of natural stone you should correctly select its type.