You have probably seen a lot of beautifully done installations as well as rows of pristine marble slabs at supplier stores. Have you ever wondered how marble slabs transform from a virgin block sitting on the earth’s surface to a well-shaped countertop accurately cut for your kitchen?
In this post, we are going to give you a detailed journey explanation of how marble transforms from a shapeless stone to a beautifully installed marble countertop.
Marble is found very close to the earth’s surface and can be mined from very shallow quarries. To get marble stones in smaller transportable slabs, the technicians drill small holes that are shaped according to the desired sizes. They then plant carefully thought of explosives into these holes, and with well-calculated explosions, they are able to get full blocks of marble from the bedrock without breaking the blocks.
Before the blast, the engineers usually prepare a soft sandy bed for the marble block to fall onto to avoid cracking or splitting in an undesirable angle. They then use earth moving equipment to move the big chunks of marble into heavy-duty trucks, so that they can be transported to fabrication centers.
Most blocks of marble are gotten from Brazil since it is the largest source of marble and granite. Other big quarries are located in Italy, India, and China. These countries have big machinery and facilities meant for mining large blocks of marble and granite.
Most of the marble countertops used in the USA are mined in India or Brazil. These two countries have some of the most sophisticated fabrication technology and some of the best-qualified marble countertops fabricators. The USA also has marble quarries located in Virginia and Vermont. Marble blocks mined from the US come in one color, and can only be used for building blocks.
From Block to Granite Slab
After the stone is transported into the fabrication facility, the marble countertops fabricators get to work and cut the stone into slabs. For the blocks to be reduced to smaller slabs of 2 to 3 cm thickness, they have to be passed through giant saws that do multiple cuts on the blocks at once.
These are merely multiple round lasers or diamond wire blades that cut through the blocks like egg slicers. For the blades to go through a one foot stone, they can take as long as a whole hour, imagine how long it would take a whole 10′ x 5′ x 10′ block.
Advanced technologies such as diamond wire cutting that were recently discovered in this industry have improved both accuracy and speed of the fabrication process, which has, in turn, led to increased marble slabs in the market and less work for marble countertops fabricators.
This is also the reason why it is very rare to find installed marble countertops in older homes; they used to be very expensive a few years back. But now, any middle-class homeowner has access to the beautiful marble countertops.
Surface polishing to bring out the beauty of marble countertops
After the large blocks of marble have been cut into desirable slabs, the surfaces must be polished to bring out natural patterns and colors and to smoothen them. This can be done by individual marble countertop fabricators or by running them vertically through polishing machines.
The machines are fitted with large polishing pads that apply and buff a layer of polish on each slab. Just like the case in wooden materials, marble must be polished again with finer pads to bring out the best look, and this is where fabricators come in. The machines will just polish the top surface of the slab, leaving out the edges, and more work for the marble countertops fabricators.
From the supplier to the fabricator
After machine polishing, the slabs are packed in bundles of 6 or 7 slabs, mostly according to the order in which they were cut. This is done purposely so that there is consistent coloring and patterning of the slabs.
The bundle is then packed into individual containers and shipped to different regions in the USA. The containers are then offloaded, and the bundles divided into different stacks which are then given to the suppliers to be taken to various showrooms.
The suppliers will sell exclusively to marble countertops fabricators.
One of the fabricators is Artstone Atlanta who fabricates polishes and installs Marble and Granite countertops in Atlanta. Reach out to us if you want the beauty of installed marble countertops featured in your home.