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Natural Stone – Fissures vs Cracks

Fissures vs Cracks

Natural stone, granite, marble, quartzite, etc., is made by, well, nature. Man has nothing to do with it. We just quarry it, sell it, and put it where clients want it. Then we ooh and ahh and remark how pretty it looks. Yes, it is pretty and it does deserve our admiration, but it can have natural, unique occurrences in it called fissures. Fissures can give your stone project that one-of-a-kind look that people love. Natural stone can also have cracks. Cracks can be natural or unnatural occurrences. Fissures and cracks look remarkably similar, but they are not the same thing. Here we will explore the differences between them and help you know what to do about them.

What are fissures?

Fissures are defined as: A long, narrow crack or opening in the face of a rock. Fissures are often filled with minerals of a different type from those in the surrounding rock.

Basically, what this means, is that fissures are natural occurrences in the stone and normally they don’t affect the integrity of the stone itself. They are not considered to be flaws or defects. Fissures are not normally localized in stone slabs. They are usually spread out through the entire piece.

What are cracks?

Cracks are defined as: A line on the surface of granite, marble or another natural stone that has split without breaking into separate parts.

Cracks usually happen when the stone has stress or trauma applied to it, and they can run almost all the way through the depth of the stone. However, by the time the stone gets to the point of installation, cracks have generally been addressed, usually by the fabricator. As a general rule, cracks are mostly confined to one area of a slab.

How can you tell the difference between fissures and cracks?

One way is to rub your finger or fingernail over the area in question. If it is smooth, then it is a fissure. If your finger feels a bump or your fingernail gets caught or drags over the area because it’s not level, then it is a crack.

Another way to tell is to shine a light on the stone and look across the plane of the surface. A crack will have two points of reflection, one for each plane, but a fissure will only have one point of reflection as it is an even surface.

What can be done about fissures?

Nothing. They are a natural part of the stone and are not considered flaws or defects. You can just admire them for making your stone project unique.

What can be done about cracks?

If you see a crack while the stone is still at the distributor or wholesaler, think about staying away from it, no matter how much you love it. There is no guarantee that the stone will survive transport to the fabricator, and there is no guarantee that the fabricator will be able to cut around it.

If you discover a crack in the stone at the fabricator’s shop, find out if they can cut around it. If not, ask them if it is severe enough to compromise the integrity of the stone. If they say yes, then pick something else. If the fabricator says it’s minor, ask them how they intend to fix it. Then it is up to you whether you accept it or pick something else.

What if a crack forms after install?

If you notice a crack after install, you will want to have someone look at it right away. Left unattended, it could get worse. If your project was recently put in, you may want to give the business that installed it a call. They won’t warranty the stone itself, because Mother Nature made it, but a good company will warranty their own workmanship. If it has been a while or you know you did something to cause the crack, even accidently, you should contact your stone and tile restoration and repair technician. Your restoration or repair technician will know exactly what the issue is and how to repair it. They deal with these types of occurrences on a regular basis.

Natural stone is beautiful, and the projects created with it can take your breath away. In spite of its natural beauty and versatility, it is not a perfect product. We need to learn how to appreciate and work with its occasional imperfections and flaws. After all, those unique imperfections can help give your stone projects the “WOW” factor everyone loves.


By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of Surface Care PROS Partners.

Synthetic Fibers for Carpets and Area Rugs

Synthetic Carpet Fibers

Carpet and area rugs can enhance the décor of any space, but not all floor covering is made the same. Carpet and area rug materials generally fall into 2 different categories: natural fiber and synthetic fiber. They each have their pros and cons. Make sure you get the one that is right for your needs. Here we will explore synthetic floor covering.

What is synthetic carpet fiber?

Synthetic carpet fiber is created in a man-made manufacturing process. It is not as eco-friendly as natural fiber in either its creation or the manufacturing process. Synthetic carpet makes up the biggest percentage of wall-to-wall carpeting. It is much more stain and mold resistant than natural fiber carpet, making it great for both offices and homes.

What types of synthetic fiber are used in carpet?

There are 4 main types of synthetic fiber for carpets and rugs: Nylon, Polyester, Olefin and Triexta.

Nylon

Nylon is the most well known of the synthetic fiber carpets. It’s strong and resists “crushing,” making it great for high traffic areas. Nylon does have staining issues, but that can be minimized by making sure it is protected with a stain treatment. Most nylon carpeting is pretreated with stain protection, but it never hurts to double check. Nylon is great for wall-to-wall projects.

Polyester

Polyester has gotten a bad reputation in the past for not being as durable or strong as nylon, but with the advent of new technology, polyester is making great strides in that area. Polyester also has better stain resistance than nylon. Some polyester carpeting is now made with recycled material, making it a bit more eco-friendly to make, but the actual carpet itself is not recyclable. Polyester tends to have a lower price point than nylon. It does resist fading and is softer than its nylon counterpart. It is great for wall-to-wall applications.

Olefin

Olefin has a look that is similar to wool, in a manmade sort of way. As synthetics go, Olefin is considered to be inferior, as far as strength and durability are concerned. Consequently, it is considered by many to be a contractor- grade item. Before you decide against it, it should be mentioned that Olefin is good in low-traffic areas, and it is very fade and stain resistant. Olefin does not absorb liquid, making spill cleanup much easier. Possible uses would be a guest room, outdoor carpet, or basements. It is generally not recommended for wall-to-wall projects in high traffic rooms.

Triexta

Triexta has been around for just a little over a decade. It is a relative newcomer to an industry that has been around for eons. Although similar to polyester, it is softer and resists crushing better than polyester. Triexta is resistant to staining, and most water-based spills can be taken care of with cold water. Even though it is a synthetic fiber, part of the manufacturing process uses corn glucose (sugar), making it just a bit more on the eco-friendly side. The biggest drawback to Triexta is that it is relatively new on the market, and its longevity, while looking promising, is unknown at this time.

Off-gassing

All synthetic carpet off-gasses when first installed, which means that your new carpet may smell when you first get it. The smell will go away in a few days to a week. (Triexta gives off less smell due to being partially made with corn glucose.) Off-gassing shouldn’t be a reason to not get synthetic carpet. Lots of other things off-gas such as: cabinets, new furniture, cleaners, cosmetics, and a host of other items.

Carpets and area rugs can be a big investment. If you are interested in a particular material, make sure you are clear on the pros and cons of each type so that you find the floor covering that is perfect for you, your budget, and your home.

 


By Sharon Koehler. This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of Surface Care PROS Partners.