Christine Frantz

Stone Tiles: Modern Remains of Multi-Millennial Architectural Beauty


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An Overview

There's no denying it — natural stone is a marvelous material for making structures beautiful. They are, however, a lot more expensive and troublesome than concrete which makes them more expensive today. What is more accessible today are natural stone tiles, which are generally smaller and thinner than actual blocks of stone but are still just as appealing. Natural stone tiles are made of mined minerals instead of manufactured ones. They are awfully more convenient, especially since they come with services made possible by today's technology such as professional tile installations, tile and grout repairs, and tile and grout cleaning. In Los Angeles alone, there are already a lot of companies that provide these services. One can still see a lot of old stone buildings there, and one might not help but feel envious. People may want to have their own similarly magnificent buildings or homes, and stone tiles are just the right material for that.

A Brief History

Since ancient times, man has been using stones to build mighty structures all over the world. We see evidence of this in early civilizations, such as the Parthenon in Greece, Alhambra in Spain, the Pyramids of Cambodia, Machu Picchu of the Incan Empire, and many other places. Later on, stones also became a common material for buildings in Asia, and throughout the rest of Europe and North America. In the USA alone, people can already see plenty of old stone buildings still standing today, such as the White House and the Old Stone House in Washington, D.C., as well as the Bradbury Building in Los Angeles which has already been featured in a lot of Hollywood movies. However, natural stone is such a heavy and bulky material, so after Portland Cement was conceived during the Industrial Revolution, natural stone no longer seemed to be a practical material to work with anymore. Mankind shifted to using cement and concrete blocks for easier, faster, and more cost-effective construction of much larger buildings. And, since stone is basically for aesthetics nowadays, we can simply mount modern stone tiles — which are much thinner and lighter — onto the surfaces of concrete as a final touch instead of using bigger pieces of stone altogether.

Things to Consider

It’s really great that even humble homes can be ornamented with stone tiles, especially since they no longer have the drawbacks included in old stone architecture, such as the amount of manpower needed to transport, lift, and stack solid blocks of stone for a building. However, there are things one should think about before deciding to get stone tiles for their house or building, aside from costs.

First is the type of material. There are six main types: marble, slate, limestone, travertine, granite, and sandstone. Each kind has a different appearance, texture, and different reactions to external elements.

The second is the fact that natural stone tiles are, appearance-wise, irregular. This means that no two tiles are identical and their shades might, despite being of the same material, not always be exactly the same. This is even truer for their patterns.

The next one is grout and sealing. Grout is the material that fills the spaces between the tiles and holds them to their base. It is cement-based and may come as sanded or unsanded. The color is also an important consideration since one may choose to match or contrast it with the color of the tiles. Meanwhile, sealing is the protection for tiles and grout against stains, water, and other materials which may damage them.

The last one is service. As already mentioned above, there are services which specialize in tile and grout cleaning such as those in Los Angeles. These services must also be taken into consideration since they ensure the longevity of the tiles by keeping moss, stains, bacteria, and other damages away.

Summary

In short, stones have been used in building structures ever since we learned how to do it, and the fact that it is still a part of nature makes it really beautiful. However, humans have already said goodbye to thousands of years of utilizing huge chunks of stone in construction, and are now leaning more towards convenience and cost-effectiveness. Stone tiles are the remains of that outmoded approach and are the perfect compromise to contain both the beauty of nature and convenience of today’s technology. However, one must always consider various factors before deciding to obtain them. Do not be hasty, and do not neglect their maintenance. After all, these factors help maintain the beauty of the tiles for a long time. Do not hesitate to avail professional services such as tile and grout cleaning, whether you think you are in a dry place like Los Angeles or especially in a rainy one like London. Moss, algae, stains, and damages will always find their way into tiles. You already got convenience. Do not jeopardize beauty.

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