Natural Marble

Natural Marble Information

Natural Marble Information

Marble has been used in the construction of fascinating buildings. Monumental architecture is made up of this natural stone material. Perhaps that is why natural marble has made its mark on the architectural landscape over the centuries. In this post, we will delve into some natural marble information. Along the way, we will consider what makes this natural stone material unique. We will also look at is make up. Finally, we will mention some of the use cases for this natural stone.

You Look “Marbleous”

The look of natural marble is amazing. So amazing in fact, that man made materials have been developed to mimic this elegant natural stone in appearance. Let’s take a bit to discuss the characteristics of marble.

Geological Classification

Geologically, marble is defined as metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized calcite, or dolomite, or both. The important parts of that definition are the two emphasized words. These minerals have a grain ranging from fine to coarse. Additionally, marble has a generally uniform texture.

In the commercial sense, marble can be any carbonate rock that is crystallized. This would also include certain types of limestone that take a polish. Additionally, often times, onyx is classified along with marble.

Marble’s Distinguishing Characteristics

Commercially, there are other terms and phrases used to differentiate one marble form another. For example, stone names often include colors. Naming conventions also include mineral content. This often specifies or distinguishes one stone from another.

The Composition of Marble

As a general rule, marble is made up of a number of minerals with limestone being the most prominent. The general composition of most marble is as follows:

  • Lime (CaO) = 38-42%
  • Silica SiO2 = 20-25%
  • Alumina (Al2O3)
  • Oxides (NaO and MgO)
  • Carbonates (MgCO3)

The bold information above indicates the relationship between this natural stone and the need for protection against respirable crystallized silica when it is being cut, grinded, drilled, or polished.

Distinctive Colors of Marble

Specific characteristics can affect the color of marble. For example, the primary mineral that makes up marble occurs in different colors. Other substances often categorically referred to as “impurities” influence the color of marble slabs. Among these are:

  • Sand
  • Organic Matter (Varying Shades of Gray & Black)
  • Clay
  • Chlorite (Light Green to Yellowish-green; Generally Speaking)
  • Silt
  • Epidote (Also Green to Yellowish-green)

In addition to the color of the “impurities” themselves, the impurities might have already undergone a color alteration by iron oxide exposure. So, generally speaking, iron is the most common substance that affects the color of a marble slab.

What does all that minutiae mean? It all boils down to this: marble comes in all sorts of colors. However, the “purest” marble is white.

Marble’s Hardness

Marble is not a hard stone; relatively speaking. On the Mohs scale of mineral hardness is registers at about 3. This means that it requires specific tooling compatible with “soft” stone material. Some blades won’t work efficiently on soft materials because of the way they are designed.

We won’t wander off on a tangent here talking about blades. But if you are curious about the details, you can review the page entitled Marble Bridge Saw Blades on The short of it though is some blades will “clog up” if they are designed a specific way. This is because marble is a soft stone.

Marble Finishes

As is the case with other natural stone material, marble can have a variety of finishes. Each one gives the stone a particular look. Furthermore, the finish will introduce continuity into the design and/or architecture in which it is used. Some common marble finishes include:

  • Polished Finish: A finish that is glossy and shiny on its surface. This finish allows the full color of the natural marble to show.
  • Honed Finish: This finish is smooth but not glossy like the polished finish; although it could have a little bit of gloss.
  • Abrasive Finish: A finish usually used in exterior applications and is flat and non-glossy.

Each type of finish offers certain benefits and drawbacks. But it often depends on the preference of the owner and the type of project in which it is used.

Does Marble Need to Be Sealed?

Sealing natural stone is a recommendation that stone fabricators give because they understand that natural marble is porous to one degree or another. Sealing marble helps the stone to be resistant to penetration by liquids that could erode the minerals in the stone.

In fact, marble should periodically be tested to see what its absorbency rate is and if it is absorbing liquids quickly, an impregnating sealer for marble should be used. However, sealing is not the only treatment that is needed to keep marble in the best condition.

Caring For Marble

So how does marble need to be cared for on a daily basis? if you were thinking to yourself, “why does marble need to be sealed?” when we were discussing sealing, this is where you will get your answer.

Earlier, we talked about the minerals that make up a marble slab. We said that the primary mineral is calcite. Well, it turns out that calcite is very susceptible to acidic substances. In fact, acid dissolves calcite. That means if an acidic liquids gets into the pores of a natural marble surface it actually “eats” away the stone. Hence, that need to prevent liquid from being absorbed.

In addition to sealing, the proper products need to be used for cleaning natural marble. Information about what cleaners to use is plentiful o the web. So, we will simply say that pH neutral cleaners will work well. And stay away from using acidic products on marble.

Uses for Natural Marble

Throughout the centuries, marble has been used for a wide range of projects. Some of these applications include the following:

  • Statues
  • Government Buildings
  • Religous Structures
  • Landmarks
  • Fountains
  • Bathrooms
  • Kitchen Surfaces

Natural marble information is widely available through various channels; including fabricators. Additionally, you can browse many photos online simply by doing a search for “marble buildings” or something similar.

As we have seen, marble is a very distinct natural stone that has remained a staple of architecture for many centuries. Its properties make it recognizable and appealing to many people. And it is a stone that will require specific care practices along with the possible need for special tooling during fabrication.

Acid On Marble