Too often, consumers walk into a Tile Showroom, are shown a small display, or small concept/design board, and are sold a natural stone tile for their bathroom, kitchen, or foyer. They may or may not have any knowledge of natural stones, such as marbles, limestone’s, travertine’s, slates, quartzites, onyx and the list goes on. Therefore, you need to educate yourselves. Know what to expect.
Variation( Webster’s definition: the extent to which or the range in which a thing varies.)
No two pieces are alike. That pretty display you fell in love with in the Tile Store, is probably not going to be exactly what you get. The colors and veining will vary, and the texture and edges may also vary. Today, we import from so many countries, so many suppliers within these countries, and with these suppliers, so many quarries. According to Britannica: quarry, place where dimension stone or aggregate (sand, gravel, crushed rock) is mined. The products of dimension stone quarries are prismatic blocks of rock such as marble, granite, limestone, sandstone, and slate). When making your selection, consider the overall look the stone brings to the space. Stand back. Love the unique nuances the stone possesses. Remember this when you begin to inspect your order before installation.
This brings me to my next point: the contractor. Hire an expert. Your contractor should have specific experience with stone installations. Open and inspect each box. An experienced contractor will select material from different boxes and different pallets. He will also lie out the material from different boxes and different pallets in order to blend the color and veining to your liking. Remember also there is a waste factor (usually 10-20% over the amount needed). Typically these pieces are factored in for breakage and or used for cuts. Review all of this with your contractor. Your participation will better ensure that you’re pleased with the end result.
Lastly, it’s important to know whether the stone you’ve purchased is gauged. Stones such as slate, may not be gauged. Your contractor needs this information, since if the material is not gauged, he’ll need to do a little extra to level the application. They’ll need to find the thickest pieces and make sure the rest meet up, so as not to cause lippage. According to the TCNA (Tile Council of North America): the variation in the height of adjoining tiles is called Lippage.
The more you know, the better the end result.