Quartz Tiles and Quartz Slabs : How to warehouse correctly.

Quartz tiles and quartz slabs should be warehoused as recommended by the manufacturer, which clearly means you should take approrpiate action or you might just damage them.
Quartz slabs if not warehoused properly may warp, especially if the temperatures are high and the slabs is warehoused in an irregular manner. To properly warehouse quartz slabs you should follow these tips:
  • use vertical warehousing racks
  • make sure the racks  have at least 2 supporting points
  • the distance between thethe two points are to 3/5 of the whole length of the slab, so in a 300 cm slab it will be 180 cm.
  • The suporting beams should be at least 90% of the slabs width
  • You should surround the support beam with plastic rubber (make sure this rubber doesn't stain the quartz) to avoid damages to your quartz
  • The base of the slab rack should have a protection like nylon or any other product, it'll avoid rusting of the rack;
  • Always keep quartz slabs warehoused indoor, it may damage with sunlight and stain with rain ... exposed to these factors during a long period of time
Some tips for tile warehousing, which are normally supplied in carton boxes:
  • Make sure to keep them indoor, avoid water and humidity;
  • Make sure all material is in an up right position;
  • Do not stack crates too high
  • Make sure you keep the tiles ID tag visible
  • Avoid hot temperatures at all times, warping can be a problem


Solid Surface: Diferent manufacturing systems

Solid surface can be manufactured in several ways, however the best and most efficient ways involve a vacuum vibrocompression technology, this guarantees that the solid surface is a perfect lookalike with natural stone. People easily can be deceived by solid surfaces when compared with some natural stones, as it weighs and it feels like natural stone.
So basically I'm going to focus on 2 systems the slab system and the block system.
  • Slab system
The slab system initiates with the raw materials loading into a mixer, these mixers are vertical, they can have more than one, especially to make special textures. The grain size is small, the Block system can use bigger stone, but when you do a slab by slab production it's technically impossible to use big stone.
The loading of the grain sized natural quartz, silica sand or other raw materials into the mixer is followed by quartz powder, polyester resin and colouring pigments.
The mixer is then transported in conveyor belts and spread on the slab mould, due to the low thickness of the slab (maximum 3 cm) it's not necessary to mix in vaccum like the block system. Next it goes into a vacuum and vibrocompression chamber,much less powerful than the one in the block system, as it only has to compress a slab at a time. After this stage the slab will follow a conveyor into a oven, this will accelerate the cure making it usable in a few hours ... I guess we can say that it's a continuous production line.
Next we have the calibrating and polishing lines. Note that these slabs will be calibrated on both sides before polishing to insure that it is correctly calibrated. The polishing is made with granite type machinery, and are also difficult to polish especially the darker colours.

  • Block system
So the block system begins in the same manner as the slabs with the loading of the  raw materials, with the block system being mainly used to work stones with lower hardness indexes, like marble, dolomite or calcites. The main reason is due to sawing, the gangsaws have problems cutting harder materials like quartz or silica sand. The other reason is that harder materials like quartz, granite and silica sand agglomerates use a different type of polishing heads than the marble agglomerate. It is technically possible to make a block out of harder material than marble, we have seen some producers present in recent fairs agglomerates made with materials with hardness above 4 Mohs.

So the raw natural materials are loaded to the mixer, where other products will be added like stone powder, polyester resin and colouring pigments. They have to be mixed thoroughly together and in vacuum to avoid air bubbles and bad mixture. Next the whole mixture is discharged into a big rectangle mould, this mould after being filled with the mixture will be compressed with a heavy duty compressing system. The whole floor of the factory will tremble during this process, just to have an idea of the power applied. After this phase the chemical reaction has attained a gel state, and in a few hours it will become solid. Although the slab production is continuous, the block needs a few days of curing. 
After these few days in resting, the block may be sawn like any ordinary marble block. It has one special characteristic, it can be sawn in thickness as low as 9 mm, which in some marbles is rather difficult not to say impossible without any resin reinforcements.
The polishing line has an initial calibrating system, all top quality agglomerate stones have small thickness tolerances, so calibrating is an important part of the production cycle. Next is polishing, polishing is rather difficult on these products due to the resin in its composition, but most manufacturers have overcome this problem with the use of the proper abrasive line.
At this point you'll have a slab ready to ship or cut to size.

Some Q&A
Can you make marble based agglomerate on slab system?
Yes you can, however the commercial value of quartz is much higher, it's economically better to make quartz. And you'll need specific polishing equipment to polish marble based material.
Can agglomerates appear with pin holes on the surface?
Yes, this means the equipment has a undetected defect, the vacuum system is not working properly.
How many block systems are producing?
It was the original technology that began around the 80s, however in the last few years almost all systems installed have been slab type. However in China their has been several block systems activated in the last few years. In Europe, you can only find them in 3/4 countries. It's more or less basic that most block systems have difficulty in giving a good return on investment.


Tips about cleaning marble.

Many people when buying marble rarely think of the product itself, cleaning marble or maintaining it can be a very tough job. While posting about cleaning marble, we can also add agglomerate marble, as they are very similar regarding cleaning and maintenance. As I've said before in several posts, the engineered stone is made up of 90-95% natural stone, so great part of it's care and maintenance are similar to the rock from which it's made from, so in this particular post we are dealing with marble.
Things to remember:
  • Marble in general is very absorbent, so it may stain easily due to the absorption of the liquid used in the spill
  • Marble is a metamorphic recrystallized stone based on carbonate minerals, so it reacts to acid. So Orange Juice, Lemon Juice, Coke, and other products we use and consume in our daily life may effect our marble if in direct contact, and during a reasonable amount of time
  • Marble is physically a soft stone, it ranges from 3-4 in Mohs scale, which means it's not scratch resistant, so those small grains of sand and gravel that you bring into your home will ruin your lovely marble floor
So after these 3 comments you are worried about that lovely natural marble floor you just paid for. Don't worry, you just have to be careful and make sure your children understand some basic things about the product. And remember we have shopping malls with marble floors, and wood floors are less resistant than marble ones ...
Cleaning and Maintaining products and tips:
  • A floor mat at the several entrances of your home, will reduce the quantity of sand and gravel
  • Avoid applying marble in kitchen counters and floors, the kitchen is the most aggressive area in your home
  • Use neutral floor cleaning detergent, avoid acid and alkali, read the label carefully and make sure it's neutral and usable on marble
  • Use a marble wax to revive your floors shine, read carefully the instructions before applying it on your floor
  • When you floor starts to look dirty, some greyish areas will appear, it may be due to the several layers of wax applied, you should apply a marble stripper to extract all the superficial dirt, and then apply a layer of wax
  • To minimize the risk of staining, use a marble sealer, it doesn't work miracles, but it will help you.