abrasive finish - A flat and non-reflective surface finish.

agglomerated stone – A manmade product composed of crushed stone combined with resin.

alabaster – A fine-grained and translucent variety of gypsum, generally white in colour. May be cut and carved easily with a knife or saw.  Term is often incorrectly applied to fine-grained marble.

antique finish – A finish that replicates rusticated or distressed textures.  Produced through mechanical or chemical means to simulate the naturally occurring effects of the ageing process.

arris – An edge or angle where two surfaces meet; for example, moldings and raised edges.



back-buttering – The process of slathering the back of a stone tile with thinset material in order to ensure proper mortar coverage.  This prevents hollow areas and subsequent future cracking of tiles.  Also helpful to ensure a level installation. 

basalt – A dark-coloured, igneous rock commercially known as granite when fabricated as dimension stone.

bevel – A sloped surface contiguous with a vertical or horizontal surface.

bluestone – A fine- to medium-grain, metamorphic, quartz-based stone.

book match pattern – A layout in pairs of all stone elements to confirm that the design matches.

brecciated marble – Any marble composed of angular fragments.

brushed finish – Obtained by brushing a stone with a coarse rotary-type wire brush.

bullnose – Convex rounding of a stone member, such as a stair tread.

bush hammering – A mechanical process which produces textured surfaces that vary from subtle to rough.

butt joint – An external corner formed by two stone panels with one head.



calcareous – Refers to substances containing or composed of calcium carbonate.

calcite – A crystalline variety of limestone containing not more than 5% magnesiumcarbonate.

calcite streaks – Description of a white or milky streak occurring in stone.  It is a joint plane usually wider than a glass seam which has been re-cemented by deposition of calcite in the crack.  It is structurally sound.

calibration –This process grinds the stone to a uniform and consistent thickness of +/- 1mm tolerance.

chamfer – To cut away the edge where two surfaces meet in an external angle, leaving a bevel at the junction.

cladding – An exterior veneer stone covering.

chiselled edge – A process of mechanically chipping the tile edge, thus giving the stone a rustic, aged appearance.

cobblestone – A dimension stone large enough for use in paving.

conglomerate – A coarse-grained sedimentary rock, with clast grains larger than 2mm.

control joint – A joint that allows for dimensional changes of different parts of a structure due to shrinkage, expansion, variations in temperature, or other causes.  Its purpose is to prevent development of high stresses in the structure.

cross-cut – The process of cutting the initial block of stone parallel to the natural bedding plane.  The effect is a mottled or cloudlike appearance.



dimension stone – A natural building stone that has been cut and finished to specifications.



etched – A decorative surface pattern created by a variety of methods, most often with abrasive chemicals or sandblasting.

expansion-contraction joint – A joint between stone units designed to expand or contract with temperature change or structural movement.

exposed face – The visible side of any stone element.



face – The exposed surface of stone on a structure.

filling – A trade expression used to indicate the filling of natural voids in stone units with cements or synthetic resins and similar materials, primarily related to travertine.

finish – Final surface applied to the face of dimension stone during fabrication.

fissure – A hairline opening in the face of stone demonstrating stones natural characteristics; a lineal or non-directional void in the face and crystalline structure of stone that typically is very thin and irregular.

flagstone – Thin slabs of stone used for paving surfaces such as walks, driveways, and patios.

flamed finish – A surface treatment applied by intense heat flaming.

free length – A laying format for tiles where the width of the stone is static and the length varies randomly.



gauged or gauging – A grinding process to make all pieces of material to be used together the same thickness.

glass seam – Vein fillings of coarsely crystalline calcite, which do not necessarily decrease the strength of the stone.

granite – A very hard, crystalline, igneous rock, gray to pink in colour, composed of feldspar, quartz, and lesser amounts of dark ferromagnesium materials.  Gneiss and black ‘granites’ are similar to true granites in structure and texture, but are composed of different materials.

guillotine cut – Cutting a stone tile, most often slate, by the guillotine method offers a ragged and chipped edge.



honed finish – A satin-smooth surface finish with little or no gloss.



igneous – Any of the various volcanic rocks, solidified after the molten state, such as granite.

impregnation – Applying a chemical containing stain inhibitors that penetrates below the surface of the stone.



limestone – A sedimentary rock composed primarily of calcite or dolomite. 

lippage – A condition where one edge of a stone is higher than adjacent edges, giving the finished surface an uneven appearance.



marble – A metamorphic crystalline rock composed predominantly of crystalline grains of calcite, dolomite, or serpentine, and capable of taking a polish.

metamorphic rock – Rock altered in appearance, density, crystalline structure, and in some cases, mineral composition, by high temperature or intense pressure, or both.  Includes slate derived from shale, quartz-based stone from quartzitic sand, and true marble from limestone.

mosaic – A veneering that is generally irregular, with no definite pattern.  Nearly all stone used in a mosaic pattern is irregular in shape.



onyx – A translucent, generally layered, cryptocrystalline calcite with colours in pastel shades, particularly yellow, tan and green.

opus – The stone is laid in a repeated pattern which gives a random effect.



paving – Stone used as a wearing surface, as in patios, walkways, driveways, etc.

pillowed – A tile finish that features softly rounded edges, thus giving the tile a pillowed look.

porphyry – An igneous rock characterized by distinct and contrasting sizes of coarse and fine-grained crystals.  Used as a decorative building stone.



quartz – A silicon dioxide mineral that occurs in colourless and transparent or coloured hexagonal crystals or in crystalline masses.  One of the hardest minerals that compose stones such as sandstone, granite, and quartzite.

quartzite – A metamorphic quartz-based stone formed in exceedingly hard layers.  In some deposits, intrusion of minerals during the formation process create unusual colouration.



riven – A naturally cleft or riven face, which gives a rustic appearance.

rough sawn – A surface finish resulting from the gang sawing process.



sandblasted – A matte-textured surface finish with no gloss, finished by application of a steady flow of sand and water under pressure.

sedimentary – Rocks formed of sediments laid down in successive strata or layers.  The materials of which they are formed are derived from pre-existing rocks or the skeletal remains of sea creatures.

serpentine – A hydrous magnesium silicate material; generally dark green in colour with markings of white, light green, or black.  Considered commercially as a marble because it can be polished.

slate – A very fine-grained metamorphic rock derived from sedimentary shale rock.  Characterized by an excellent parallel cleavage, and entirely independent of original bedding, slate may be split easily into relatively thin slabs.

split-faced stone – Stone on which the face has been broken to an approximate plane.



terrazzo – A flooring surface of marble or granite ships in a cementitious or resinous matrix, which is ground and finished after setting.

texture – Surface quality of stone independent of colour.

textured finish – A rough surface finish.

tolerance – Dimensional allowance in the fabrication process.

travertine – A variety of limestone that is a precipitate from hot springs.  Some varieties of travertine take a polish and are know commercially as marble.

tumbled finish – A weathered, ageing finish created when the stone is tumbled with sand, pebbles, or steel bearings.



unfilled – Relates to travertine primarily when the face of the tile has not been factory filled.



vein – A layer, seam or narrow irregular body of mineral material different from the surrounding formation.

vein cut – A cut into quarried stone perpendicular to the natural bedding plane.

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