7 Useful Tips for the Technical Characteristics of marble you need to know
Technical Specifications of marble & Why they are Important for every Construction or Architectural project
For most, the word “marble” brings to mind something stable, compact and reliable. This is also one of the reasons why marble, as a material, has always been the preferred material of choice in construction or decorative applications. Especially in demanding and difficult times such as today’s, particular emphasis is given to construction safety, durability and low maintenance costs of building materials, among which marble holds a prominent position for architects, designers and consumers.
The role of technical specifications for marble in its selection as material in a project
The choice of the appropriate marble for each project, be it for commercial or private use, clearly depends on the expected aesthetic outcome of the architect or the end user. However, safety and suitability issues related to the technical characteristics of the material should not be overlooked. Absorbency, density, compressive strength, etc., in many cases, may act as deterrents or can even be prohibitive for specific projects. For example, a soft, vulnerable material may be unsuitable for use on the floor of a shopping mall and its choice in construction may mean additional costs for its maintenance and repair. Further, it could also present a potential risk to everyday multiple users in the event of slippage or wear. Ensuring the suitability of the marble used, with specific criteria and specifications, is considered more than necessary in order to protect individual construction or architectural companies, the construction materials industry as a whole and, of course, the end users.
Factors to be taken into account when selecting the appropriate marble for a project
There are many factors related to quality and technical characteristics that the builder, architect or decorator should have in mind when choosing the appropriate marble for a project.
For example, external use applications present the greatest challenges. The behavior of the material in freeze/thaw conditions and its possible discoloration under the influence of ultraviolet radiation are just a few examples that need to be controlled. Reinforcement of marble with various sealants is a common practice when intended for external uses.
Of course, environmental conditions are the ones that pose the greatest risks to marble used in outdoor construction. Rain, snow, hail and very high or low temperatures directly affect the material and accelerate its deterioration. It is important to choose construction materials that are able to withstand extreme conditions without compromising their quality and stability.
The selection specifications also take into account the petrographic and mineralogical characteristics of the marble, which must be thoroughly monitored, as they are important factors, influencing its behavior. More specifically, the petrographic characteristics reveal information about elasticity, absorbency, strength and power, while the mineralogical ones are related to the content of metals that can lead to oxidation, flaking and decomposition. The behavior of a mineral, after all, is directly related to its composition, which plays a key role in the final selection of the most suitable material.
Useful Tips & Descriptions of the Basic Technical Characteristics of Marble
The people involved in selecting the right marble in each project certainly have a very responsible role. In order to provide them with initial training and assistance in their work, we have gathered, in this article, some basic technical features, along with some useful tips that we believe will help.
The selection, but also the analysis of the characteristics we have chosen, does not cover all of them, but is an introductory guide which needs further research for anyone who wants to go deeper.
• Porosity is the ratio of small holes (pores) to the total solid volume. Igneous rocks have small porosity, in contrast to the metamorphic and sedimentary ones.
Tip! Marble with porosity greater than 0.3% is not suitable for areas with high humidity such as swimming pools, bathrooms and exteriors.
• Absorbency is the ability of the material to absorb and retain water in its pores. It is defined as the percentage of mass, saturated with water, to the same mass in a completely dry state.
Tip! Marbles with absorbency greater than 0.6% are not suitable for areas with high humidity such as swimming pools, bathrooms and exteriors.
• Compressive strength is the maximum load per surface unit area that the material can withstand without breaking.
Tip! Marble with a compressive strength greater than 50MPa is suitable as a building material, especially when intended to withstand high pressure loads, such as on sidewalks or floors.
• Flexural strength is the resistance that the marble exhibits in a tension test before bending. Higher flex resistance means that the material can withstand greater loads without bending.
Tip! As a general rule, tension greater than 7 indicates suitability for construction.
• Abrasion resistance is the ability of a material to resist the damage that can be caused when something abrasive comes in contact with its surface.
Tip! Marbles with high abrasion resistance are selected as raw material for exterior floors, as well as floors with high traffic (foot traffic).
• Resistance to aging due to thermal shock is a technical characteristic that refers to the constant conversions in dimensions that take place inside the marble volume due to changes in cooling and heating.
Tip! Loss of marble mass of more than 20% indicates that this specific variety is unsuitable for predominately hot, sunny climates.
• Resistance to freeze/thaw is the method that evaluates the effect of “freezing” and “thawing” cycles on natural rocks, both in air and in water.
Tip! Marbles with a cooling/thawing resistance of less than -30% up to 40 test cycles are not suitable in areas with a wide temperature range.
Technical Specifications & Certifications
A valid certification process includes the petrographic analysis of the material, its technical characteristics, the declared values or classes, the test method and the reference standards. The purpose of all this information is to ensure the suitability of the material for each use.
The existence of detailed specifications and standards for marbles intended for construction or decorative applications, is of utmost importance for every marble company and should under no circumstances be overlooked.
At Stone Group International, we work with the most reliable laboratories from Greece and abroad that apply strict & internationally recognized quality certification standards and technical specifications. Our guiding criterion is the protection of our customers, the end users of each project, but also the marble industry in general.
In the marble pages presented on our website, you can find all the technical features that are of interest to you.