Lithofinder

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The Professional Solution for Cleaning, Protecting and Maintaining

Glossary

A

Abrasion resistance: Abrasion resistance describes how much of the material’s surface is worn off due to regular use. Abrasion, also wear and tear, is the unwanted change of the surface.

Acids: In a chemical sense, acids are substances capable of transferring protons to another substance with which they react. The strength of an acid is defined by its pH-value. The pH-scale reached from 0 (highly acidic) to 14 (highly alkaline) with a value of 7 being neutral. That means anything with a value less than 7 is an acidic substance. Common acidic substances in households include: vinegar, wine, fruit juices, ketchup, bathroom cleaners and lime scale removers. Please Note: many shampoos and shower gels are described as skin neutral. This should not be confused with pH-neutral. Products that are considered neutral to the human skin have a pH-value of approx. 5.5, making them acidic and capable of etching polished marble and limestone.

Agglo-Marble: This is an artificial stone. Agglo-Marble consists of limestone pieces, which are put together with resin containing cement mortar. The characteristics depend on each component that was used in the process. The surface care is equivalent to the care of marble and limestone.

Aggressors: Aggressors are chemical components that corrode or change the natural stone surface or rather the mineral matters within the stone.

Anorganic dirt: Rust, mortar, cement residues, calcium, limescale, urine deposits and similar dirt is referred to as anorganic dirt. Anorganic dirt is mostly impervious to alkaline or solvent containing substances and can only be removed with acid based cleaning products.

Anroechter Dolomite: This natural stone is a clay bound lime sand stone, not a dolomite stone as the name suggests. Due to the mineral composition of this stone, it can not be polished - a fine hone is the maximum finish possible. Anröchter Dolomite contains calcium, and it is therefore sensitive to acids.

Artificial stone: The term artificial stone refers to stones that have been man made rather than found in nature. There are two main types of artificial stone: concrete stone and resin bound engineered stone or quartz composite materials.

B

Basalt: Basalt is a dark volcanic rock, which does not contain much quartz. Some varieties can be very dense while others are porous and soft.

Belgian Granite (Blue Stone): The name „Belgian Granite“ is only used as a trade name. This material is not granite but a limestone! The name Belgian Granite or Belgian Bluestone is used for a bituminous, dark limestone which contains many fossils.

Brushed: The brushed surface finish has become increasingly popular over the past years. The brushes have diamonds worked into them, and they are used to create a leathr-like surface structure on natural stone.

C

Capillary: Capillary is a small vessel or diameter tube. In reference to natural stone, capillaries are the gaps between the mineral elements. Water can enter the stone through these gaps and this is called capillary action.

Carrara: This town in the Italian region Tuscany is known for a large supply of different types of marble. The best known marble from the quarries of this region is Bianco Carrara.

Cement Residues: After fixing and grouting or any other building activities, cement and mortar films often remain on the surface. These films can be removed with acidic cleaners, however, before cleaning you should always check whether the surface is in fact acid resistant. Limestone such as marble for example are attacked by acids, which leaves unsightly marks and damages especially on finely honed and polished surfaces.

Cleaning: Cleaning is defined as removing any type of dirt and restoring the ceramic or stone surface to its original appearance. A clean surface can be achieved mechanically (wiping, brushing, scratching, etc.) but in most cases a suitable cleaning product will be necessary.

Colour Intensifier: Rough and absorbent surfaces often look dull and grey. Especially natural stone appears faded after having been sandblasted or flamed. Only when they are wet do these stones display the full effect of their colour structure. Special products have been developed to simulate this wet-look and make the crystalline structures of the stone appear darker and more vibrant.

Concrete Stone: Concrete stone are slabs manufactured from a cement mixture, and it is often used for floor surfaces, especially in outdoor areas like terraces. The material is sensitive to acids therefore no acid based cleaner should be used on polished or honed surfaces. Rough surfaces can be treated with a high dilution and short working times. The use of pressure washers is not recommended because with each cleaning particles are removed from the stone. The surface becomes rougher and this will lead to cleaning problems in the long term.

Cotto: The word cotto is derived from "terra cotta" (Italian for "Fired Earth"). The original cotto tiles are from the region around Impruneta (Tuscany). The clay found in this region is prepared and fired in a traditional process resulting in open pored and highly absorbent tiles. The traditional or classic method of treating cotto is to oil and then wax the surface. Today, there are alternatives methods of treatment that are easier to apply and environmentally friendlier. In order to facilitate installing cotto tiles, the manufacturers often pre-treat them in the factory.

D

Diagenesis: Diagenesis is the process where loose sediment hardens into stone.

Diorite: The term Diorite stems from the Greek word: dihorízein = disharmonious. Diorite are mostly dark grey/blackish intrusive rock. A Diorite stands between a granite and gabbro when compared with their mineral composition.

E

Efflorescence: In connection with natural stone, concrete stone, ceramics, etc. the term efflorescence refers to salt segregation. Constant moisture within the material transports easily dissolved types of salt to the surface where they crystallise once the water has evaporated. There are different types of efflorescence depending on which substances are left as a deposit on the surface. Efflorescence can be removed with acid based cleaners.

Extrusive igneous rock: Extrusive igneous rock is formed by the cooling of lava or magma on the earth’s surface. These rocks have a great structure and are robust. A well known intrusive rock is basalt.

F

Feldspar (Felspar): A group of very common silicate minerals. Feldspar is one of the main minerals making up the so called hard stones such as granite.

Flamed: This surface finish is achieved by heating quartz containing stones with a gas flame. The heat causes the quartz minerals to expand rapidly and to explode off the surface. The result is a rough surface finish.

Fossil: A fossil is the remains or trace of living things that are older than 10 000 years. Fossils of animals or plants occur in sedimentary rock.

Frost resistant: Materials that are not harmed through numerous frosts are called frost or freeze resistant.

G

Gabbro: Next to granite, gabbro is the second most common kind of plutonic rock. Most gabbros are dark grey or black. Gabbros, like most other plutonic rock, are highly resistant and hard wearing. Well-known gabbros include: Nero Impala, Nero Asoluto, Star Galaxy, Kuru Black.

Garnet: Garnet is a semiprecious stone. Due to the high iron content within the mineral, the stone is likely to rust along the edges.

Geology: The word comes from the Greek Geo „earth“ and logos „study“. Geology is the study of the earth, the rocks and the processes by which they change.

Gneiss: Gneiss is a metamorphic rock and often has a parallel structure and stratified texture. The metamorphic occurs through pressure such as earths crust dislocation. 

Granite: Granite is an igneous rock and due to its high silica content very hard. Because of this and the numerous color varieties granite is a very popular material used for veneers, floors, counter tops and much more. Granite is non-sensitive and low maintenance. Common granites include: Carmen Red(FIN), Rosa Beta(I), Bethel White(USA), Juparana(Bras.), Campascio(CH), Flossenbürg(D), Herschenberg(A), Rosa Porrino(E). Careful! Often is the name granite used for other stones such as basalts or gabbros. Especially stones from China enter the world market with numerous names. Therefore it is important to know the Chinese trade name (letter + number, e.g. G 684).

H

Hard stone: Hard stones are materials formed from plutonic igneous rocks. Hard stones are granites and gabbros for example.

Hematite: A common mineral also called iron oxide. Most red stones have there color from hematite because the high iron content.

Honed: Honing is a process in which excess material that causes an uneven surface is removed mechanically. The process leads to a fine matt surface finish and calibrates the material.

Hydrophobic treatment: The Greek word hydro (water) and phobic (fearful) are used to describe a water repelling effect. this effect can be achieved on natural stone by using either a topical sealer or an impregnator.

I

Impregnators: Impregnators are invisible protective treatments, which prevent dirt from penetrating the surface. Impregnators do not form a film or layer on the surface, but penetrate into the pores or capillaries thereby maintaining the material’s water permeability. With impregnators, surfaces can be protected against water or against water and oil.

Intrusive igneous rock: Intrusive igneous rock is formed by the cooling of lava or magma underneath the earth’s surface. These rocks have a great structure and are robust. A well known intrusive rock is granite.

J

Jura Limestone: A very popular limestone from Germany, often mistakenly called Jura-Marble. The colors vary from light yellow to a bluish grey.

L

Limestone: Limestone comes in many variations. One commonality between these different kinds is that at least 80% of the material is made up of the mineral calcite. Due to this mineral, these stones are sensitive to acids.

Lye: Lye is a corrosive alkaline solution commonly known as sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide.

M

Magma: Magma is molten rock beneath the surface of the earth.

Maintaining: Regular, every-day care cleaning removes general dirt from the surface and leaves an attractive, well-maintained appearance.

Marble: Marble is a metamorphosed limestone. The stone is composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals. Marble is lighter than limestone and has sparkling crystalline fractures.

Mica: Mica belongs to the group of sheet silicates with a basal cleavage. The main characteristic of mica is the sheet like alignment of crystals.

Mica Slate: A metamorphic stone formed from clay sediments. Due to its high biotite content are most mica slates dark. Some varieties can be polished but the result is the loss of the unique look. Most mica slate comes from Norway.

N

Nanotechnology (Nanotech): Nanotechnology is a term used to describe the matter on an atomic or molecular scale with one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometres. Nanoparticles, which are synthetically produced, are made with characteristics such as conductance, water and oil resistance.

Natural Stone: Natural stones are all sorts of stone as found in nature across the world.

Nero Assoluto: Nero Assoluto is a black fine-grained basalt from South Africa. Other names are: Zimbabwe Black or Rhodesia Black. Because of its dark black color, Nero Assoluto is popular for decorative purposes. This natural stone is very dense and absorbs little water.

Nero Impala: Another popular black Gabbro that varies in color between light, medium and dark. Nero Impala is found in South Africa.

Nylon Pad: Nylon Pad is a pad made of abrasive grain and resin. Different types vary from high abrasive to a very fine grain.

O

Oolite: The name comes from the Greek oon (egg) and lithos (stone). The reason these stones are associated with eggs is the unique structure of the minerals which look like pellets or eggs and can measure between 0.5 and 2.0mm in size. The result of this mineral structure is that the stone is soft and highly absorbent. Most limestones quarried around the Mediterranean are members of this group.

Organic dirt: Organic dirt is any kind of dirt such as grease, oil, wax and resin. To remove organic dirt we recommend any type of LITHOFIN cleaner containing alkaline or solvents.

Oxide: Oxidation is a chemical reaction in which carbon dioxide is connected with other elements. Probably the most well known oxide is iron oxide = rust, which is responsible for color changes within the stone.

P

Padang: Padang is the trade name of numerous natural stones from China. It is a granite available in various colors. While the name Padang is used solely as a trade name, the actual stone itself is specified by its associated G-number (e.g. G684, G603)

Permeability: The surfaces permeability expresses the ability of gaseous substances. The natural permeability of stone allows water to pass through it. This characteristic is especially important on terraces and other outdoor surfaces where moisture is constantly present in the ground.

Polish: A process where irregularities are removed with a abrasive block leaving a smooth and shiny surface.

Pressure washer: A pressure washer is a high-pressure sprayer that uses its own power to create the velocity of the water into pressure. The pressure is anywhere between 80-1000 bar. Very high pressure can be abrasive and damage the surface of soft natural and concrete stones.

Protecting: Protective treatments are formulated to improve the properties as well as the appearance of the surface. There are many different types of treatments available, which achieve different effects. Generally speaking, there are two main categories of protective treatments: layer forming (please see sealants) and non-layer forming (please see impregnators).

Pyrite: Pyrite is a sulfide mineral, also called iron pyrite and "fools gold“ because of its brass yellow color. When pyrite oxidizes it can lead to a dust explosion.

Q

Quartz: Quartz is a main component of granite and other igneous rocks. It is also found in sedimentary rocks such as sandstone. Common colours are yellowish, rose and milky. Quartz is very resistant to erosion.

Quartz Composite: Quartz Composite (also called engineered stone) consists of 93% quartz and 7% artificial resin. Nearly any colour variation is possible in this mechanical made stone. Quartz Composite is very stain resistant due to its non-porous surface but should still be protected with a special treatment.

Quartzite: Quartzites are created through a process of metamorphosis of sandstone, and they therefore consist mainly of merged quartz particles. This stone is easily cleavable and highly suitable for rough finishes.

R

Rust and rust discolouration: The word rust is used to describe yellow/red or yellow/brown iron oxide. Rust discoloration in natural stone may be the result of metal being left on the surface for too long. Often garden furniture or tool that are left outside for the winter lead to yellowish brown stains. Another reason for rust stains is that some stones (for example Serrizzo or Kashmir White) contain iron. These stones are likely to rust when left wet for long periods of time. Rust discoloration can be removed with Lithofin MN Builders’ Clean (acid resistant surfaces) or Lithofin Rust-EX (acid sensitive surfaces).

S

Sandblasting: Sandblasting is a work method in which an abrasive is blasted onto a surface. Small layers are removed from the surface through this process. The abrasive can be sand, glass and even dry ice.

Slip resistance: Building codes require that floors must be slip-resistant. Nearly all types of flooring are tested on how slip resistant they are. They are two types of tests (ASTM and Pendulum) to test pedestrian slip resistance on floors.

Soft stone: These are soft stones such as marble and limestone. The proper tools and care should be used when handling soft stones.

Solnhofener: Solnhofen is a very popular fine grained limestone with a beige colour from Bavaria, Germany. It is one of the most dense limestones.

Solution: In chemistry, a solution is a homogenous mixture made of at least two components.

Star Galaxy: This gabbro has a dark black colour with golden specks in it. Gabbro can almost be used for anything because it is a robust material.

T

Travertine: Travertine is a porous limestone formed by a process of fast precipitation of calcium carbonate found in mineral springs.