Ever shop a store and get the feeling that the sales person has only a superficial understanding of the product? You’ll never feel that way at a Baker Bros. showroom.
First, we answer your questions. With each member of our sales team averaging over 15 years of flooring experience, you can count on us for deep, wall-to-wall wisdom about natural stone flooring.
And we stay informed. Baker Bros. conducts monthly training sessions for our sales associates and part of those meetings is devoted to sharing the latest information on the products we offer.
The fact is, when it comes to stone flooring, Baker Bros. offers you…
More knowledge per square foot.
Then we go a step further. We ask you questions. The right questions to help us understand your exact flooring needs and wants. Questions whose answers help us define your expectations.
That’s why we say Baker Bros. is “Where Fashion meets Flooring”. In our view, a stone floor is the combination of taste and technology, the union of style and substance, elegance and performance.
And, in this section, knowing how a stone floor is manufactured can be very advantageous. It enables you to understand the product’s materials right from their birth.
Remember that these are materials you will be living with, and on, should you choose to have a Baker Bros. stone floor installed in your home.
Being familiar with stone construction also helps you understand and evaluate its performance aspects: why certain stone floors wear better and longer.
Plus, perhaps most important, understanding how a stone floor is created can make you a smarter shopper, help you better determine stone value and keep you inside the borders of your budget.
So please read on, and we’ll do our best to help you understand what makes stone such a beautiful and unique flooring possibility.
As we said in the Introducing Stone section, the formative process for natural stone began millions of years ago, deep beneath the surface of the earth.
For millions of years, a combination of heat and pressure created blocks of natural stone, including granite, marble, travertine, limestone, and slate.
As the earth's crust began to grow and erode, it pushed minerals up from its core, forming massive rock deposits, which we refer to as “quarries”.
These quarries are found in many countries throughout the world: Italy, China, Spain, India, Canada, Mexico and the United States.
There, people who have been quarrying stone for generations, work with precision and passion, with expert selection skills, and a devotion to their craft that’s second to none.
They are among the world’s last true artisans and their pride and heritage runs as deep as the stone they quarry.
We’re sure they would be honored to see their artwork showcased across the floors of your home.
However, science now plays a major role at the quarry.
Recent advances in the stone industry’s equipment and technology have greatly impacted the process of extracting stone from the quarry and installing it in a home.
Today’s modern tools can accomplish this with speed and efficiency.
At the quarry, giant blocks of stone are cut out of the earth with diamond studded, high-speed equipment.
This diamond wire cutting system has revolutionized the extraction process; a once laborious and time-consuming manual task.
The blocks of stone are then moved to a processing plant where they are cut into slabs.
High speed gang saws are used to slice the blocks into multiple slabs.
A gang saw is fitted with several blades, typically about 12 to 15 feet long, that make simultaneous parallel cuts.
If you’re wondering what happens to all the heat produced, water cools the blades while in motion and also helps control the dust.
And would you believe it takes about 2 days for a gang saw to completely cut a 20-ton block of stone?
The slabs are sent through a polishing machine that puts the desired finish on the piece.
How is this done? A polishing machine operates using spindles that rotate polishing pads at high speeds over the top of the stone.
Most of these polishing machines can produce a number of different finishes, from a rough, rustic texture to a mirrored polish. These options are another one of the beauties of natural stone.
During this stage, the slab is also calibrated, meaning its surface is worked down to a relatively uniform thickness across the length of the material.
At the fabricator’s facility the slab is customized for specific installations.
Edges are shaped and polished. This is done with a series of small saws, or router bits, which are, again, diamond studded and water-cooled.
They rotate at high speeds and pass across the edge of the slab to shape the sides into the desired edge detail.
If the slab has been designated to become tiles, the slab is cut down into smaller squares such as 12” x 12”, 16” x 16”, 18” x 18” etc.
A different, more precise machine will give the tiles their final polish after they have been cut.
The tiles are then packaged, shipped and stored uniquely: they are stored vertically, never one package on top of the other.
Also called Agglomerate Stone, this is a synthetic stone made from natural stone chips suspended in a binder such as cement, epoxy resins or polyester.
Some of the most popular types of Manufactured Stone products are those made mostly of quartz.
The natural quartz gives the product depth and radiance while at the same time strength and consistency.
It offers you the look of natural stone but also can be more cost-effective.
Today, Manufactured Stone is available in a wide array of colors ranging from subtle neutrals to dazzling bright colors.
Manufactured Stone is scratch resistant but not scratch proof. It doesn’t require sealing because it’s non-porous. That makes it highly resistant to staining, very hygienic and maintenance free.
Manufactured Stone is strong, it has four times the flexural strength of granite, so there’s less chance of chipping or cracking.
It can be used in many applications, including flooring, in all the rooms of your home.
At Baker Bros. we believe that the right knowledge can be as functional and practical as stone itself.
We also hope that the information we’ve featured here leads you to a better understanding of how this beautiful and versatile product is created, and helps you be a better, smarter, more educated customer.
And when visiting any of our seven valley showrooms, don’t hesitate to ask us more about the world of stone. At Baker Bros. you can be assured of…
More knowledge per square foot.