Marble Floor Tiles - From Nature To Your Homes (Part 1 out of 3)
I had to write this article. With the number or users having marble tiles in their home at Toorak, Malvern, Armadale and almost all of Melbourne's inner and outer suburbs ever increasing, it will be good to know how the process bring to your homes and buildings beautifully cut, polished or honed natural marble tiles which have originated from Europe, South America, The Middle East, South East Asia, Asia, etc... Marble is mined above ground and is part of a mountain's formation. [caption id="attachment_48" align="alignleft" width="214"] A typical marble mountain[/caption] [caption id="attachment_50" align="alignright" width="222"] Another marble mountain / hill[/caption] Marble hills are often blasted with dynamites while the use of diamond wires have become a popular option today. With careful planning by quarrying experts, marble blocks are extracted and is sent out to get processed. Blocks could be as high as 3 meters with a width and length averaging 2 meters. [caption id="attachment_59" align="alignleft" width="240"] Marble Blocks - Pure White Marble[/caption] [caption id="attachment_58" align="alignright" width="240"] Pure White Marble Blocks[/caption] These blocks will first face a process where they get sliced just like a loaf of bread using a gang saw which has adjustable blades which sets the thickness of the required tiles. The common thickness varies from 10 - 20mm. [caption id="attachment_60" align="alignleft" width="180"] A Gang Saw[/caption] [caption id="attachment_61" align="alignright" width="240"] A Single Blade Saw[/caption] These large slices are sold as random slabs which offers the best commercial value for the producer. This can only happen if the slabs are beautiful to look at which will then have an average size of 2 x 2 x 3m. The bigger the slab, the higher the value. Consistency in one slab will also determine it's faith. If there are too much variations, impurities, etc.. the producer will that send the slabs to process them further. The sliced slabs will have to be calibrated and then go through to a polishing process. A line polished will achieve this in a quick manner. It will go through a series of abrasive hits from rough to smooth resulting in the surfaces being perfectly honed. The slabs maybe polished if a polished finish is required. From a rough saw cut surface, the marble slab surfaces now become beautifully smooth and all the features of the stone is now visually present. [caption id="attachment_62" align="alignleft" width="240"] A Line Polisher[/caption] [caption id="attachment_63" align="alignright" width="240"] Line Polisher, Another View[/caption] [caption id="attachment_65" align="alignleft" width="240"] Processed Slabs[/caption] [caption id="attachment_64" align="alignright" width="240"] A typical polished slabs.[/caption] The next step is for the slabs to get cut to the required sizes with a Bridge Cutter. Common sizes are 300mm x 300mm, 300mm x 600mm and 600mm x 600mm. 900mm x 900mm tiles can be produced but it is not a common size. Sometimes the edges go through a mitring / chamfering process as required to make edges more appealing and smooth. These marble cut tiles then get packed in wooden pallets and is ready to be shipped. [caption id="attachment_73" align="alignleft" width="240"] A bridge cutter cut slabs into tiles[/caption] [caption id="attachment_74" align="alignright" width="240"] A worker packs a wooden crate with marble tiles[/caption] This is the end of Part 1. Look out for Part 2. Part 2 will focus on material selection, logistics, installation & post installation care.