Glossary natural stone


Natural stones are hard, compact rocks mined from quarries, and are generally used for architecture and construction projects. They are extremely resilient and durable over time.


Sedimentary rock with varying colors, formed over many years below the surface of oceans, lakes, and rivers from fragments of quartz. Sparkling and smooth, this natural stone can be cut and polished for both interior and exterior use.


Sedimentary rock formed in warm, shallow marine waters. It often contains fossil fragments or bands of color. Used extensively for interior and exterior cladding.


Metamorphic rock formed entirely of grains of quartz, usually of a whitish color. Its hardness and resilience lend it to being used in building and decoration.


Metamorphic rock halfway between slate and schist. Its satiny luster and wavy surface make it perfect for design projects.


Coarse-grained metamorphic rock composed of the same minerals as granite (quartz, feldspar, and mica), but with alternating bands of light and dark minerals. It is used more often in exterior spaces than interior spaces.


A type of hard, compact igneous rock formed by quartz, feldspar and mica. The flecked, sparkling appearance and toughness and durability make it an ideal material for construction and decoration.


Metamorphic rock made up of calcite and dolomite. Used extensively for construction and decoration due to its compact, crystalline texture and veins in a variety of colors.


Porous, cream-colored sedimentary rock formed by deposits of calcium carbonate. Frequently used as an ornamental stone in both interior and exterior construction.



Rectangular stones or blocks used for constructing pavements. Granite and basalt are the most commonly used paving materials due to their hardness and resilience.


Rectangular or square natural stone slab or tile, available in various sizes. It is used for covering floors and walls.

Opus incertum

Construction technique using irregularly cut natural stones secured with mortar. Mostly used for exterior flooring and paving, although sometimes used for walls as well.

Opus romain

Construction technique involving the installation of square and rectangular pieces of natural stone according to a pattern. It is usually used for exterior flooring and paving.


Rectangular pieces of stone cut from the block using a blade or diamond wire saw. Sizes available for sale depend on the characteristics and origin of the material.


Bush hammered

Finish created by hitting the stone—either manually or mechanically—with a bush hammer, a serrated steel masonry tool. Uniformly distributed craters are created over the surface of the treated material, with the size of the craters varying according to the method utilized.


Finish created using a buffingsystem or radial arm polisher that abrades the stone without producing shine. It can be applied to any stone to produce a smooth, distinctly matte, somewhat dark surface.


The process for creating a sandblasted finish is similar to that of a bush hammered finish. An air gun is used to repeatedly blast the material with silica sand,creating tiny, shallow craters that highlight the color of the stone.


Continuous vibration is used to produce wear on the surface of the stone. There are various methods for creating this finish, all of which result in a worn surface that simulates the passage of time on the material.


The stone is chipped using controlled blows with traditional tools.Gives the stone a rustic appearance, with heightened texture and irregularities.


A high-temperature flame is applied directly to the stone. This process produces a slightly rough surface with a glazed appearance, protecting the stone for outdoor use.


Quarried stone is cut to the desired size, but is otherwise untreated. Its final appearance depends on the characteristics of the material and how it is mined.


Stone is treated with a series of increasingly fine-grained abrasive materials. This produces a high-gloss finish that is essentially non-porous, making the stone highly resistant to external agents. The technique also highlights the color and characteristics of the stone. Not recommended for external paving to preclude the risk of slipping.


The stone is sawed using a circular, diamond-toothed blade or a steel band saw.This creates a somewhat coarse, rough surface with slight grooves and ripples, and a lighter matte finish.


Finish produced with an aging process that involves certain specific features. The material is placed in a vibratory tumbler along with harder stones that cause significant wear to the tile. This produces stones with a worn appearance on all faces and sides.


Non-ventilated facades

The natural stone veneer is attached directly to the wall, using a suitable adhesive mortar and mechanical anchors.

Ventilated facades

The cladding is separated from the supporting wall by a ventilated air space that provides thermal insulation. Requires a supporting structure—usually made of wood or metal—on which to place the stone.

Expansion joints

It is a space that should be left between tile joints to allow for the normal movements of the natural stone caused by changes in humidity and temperature.


Horizontal base of a structure that covers the ground so it is solid and level.


Floor covering made of materials such as natural stone. When referring to vehicle transit, this is called pavement.

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