Marble and granite processing, what it is and how it is done

29 Jun 2023 | News

Marble processing is among the craft activities that can be considered true art forms. With its timeless appeal and veining, marble is a material that finds a place in the most famous museums as well as within construction sites. In this sense, marble represents one of the best definitions of affordable luxury. With a view to succeeding in enhancing a residential or professional environment, marble and granite should only be processed by highly qualified personnel. Within this in-depth look at what steps are included in marble and granite processing and why to bet on a reliable partner like Lanzeni.

What marble and granite processing consists of

As raw materials that have been known since ancient times, marble and granite retain their appeal unchanged. The transformation of these extraordinary natural stones involves several steps, some of which have remained virtually unchanged over the millennia. Marble and granite processing begins, as is easy to guess, with the extraction stage.

To go from the raw material to the final result, it is essential to start from the quarries. Among the latter, some of the most renowned are still active in Italy. Here blocks are extracted through the use of appropriate equipment. Their size depends strictly on the geological nature of the lithotype and the layering, structural and geomechanical characteristics of the deposit. The blocks have a parallelepiped shape; they are then transported by truck to the sawmills to perform all subsequent cutting operations. Once the blocks arrive at the sawmill, they are cut through the use of special frames.

In marble and granite processing, a fundamental difference emerges between the two materials already at this stage, as the latter are much harder and more difficult to finish than the former. At this point you get the slabs cut in different thicknesses and depending on the specific objectives and target context , they are ready to undergo operational steps. The main surface processes include: polishing, sanding, brushing, flaming and sandblasting, bush-hammering,shotblasting, chiseling, and hammering.

The main processing techniques

Over the years, natural stone processing techniques have become more efficient due to continuous technological advances. The surface obtained by shaving a material with successions of abrasives of decreasing grit determines the degree of aesthetic and color refinement.

The first processing a sheet undergoes is calibration to give the thickness flatness and consistency (not always required). For a later degree of finish, there can be processing called “honing,” which is preferred when marble is used to furnish or decorate outdoor spaces. Thanks to this surface processing, which instead enhances the porosity and opacity achieved through the succession of abrasives with decreasing grain size, but at the same time can withstand weathering without problems. Among marble processing techniques, this is the most widely used for statues and other art objects in gardens and parks.

Among the most popular ones to enhance the intrinsic aesthetic qualities as well as increase the durability of marble, polishing stands out. This surface processing is probably the most familiar to end users as well, since it is the most common in the collective imagination. By virtue of polishing, marble is able to release its full radiance and, when used for floors, give the perception of a larger room. From a technical point of view, this practice involves closing the pores, effectively allowing the marble to become nearly impermeable. Polishing is typical in indoor environments.

A popular technique is brushing, which can give a more worn appearance during the processing of natural stones, a softer roughness of the flamed surface. With this technique, also known by the term “antiquing,” it is possible to give the impression of being in front of an object with a long history by creating a certain “patina.”

Two other popular techniques in the surface processing of marble and granite include flaming, which is ideal in order to make the marble less slippery (especially when exposed to rain), and sandblasting. Flaming is a thermal process that occupies the entire surface, thus creating a wholly characteristic roughness and color effect. Sandblasting, as well as shotblasting, creates, through the impact of abrasive such as sand (or grit) a characteristic rustic surface in which the color is erased from whitish background tones and allows to arrive at a reduction of slipperiness, this decrease the risk of accidental falls on horizontal surfaces.

Finally, in marble and granite processing it may be necessary to provide for the presence of inscriptions, as well as the insertion of plaques typical of funerary art. This is followed by the incision stage, which must be carefully designed.

The tools used during the processing steps

From a technical point of view, the choice of tools for working stone plays a central role for those who wish to arrive at an end result in line with the highest quality standards. Depending on the specific marble processing to be achieved, there are different tools to rely on.

In spite of the diametrically opposite result, polishing and sanding are carried out using abrasive products, while brushing involves the use of special brushes capable of achieving irregular and rustic surfaces. In the case of softer marbles, it is possible instead to opt for the use of acidic solutions that give antique finishes.

Regarding flaming, various oxyhydrogen flames can be used that can produce a partial detachment of the outer layer of marble. In sandblasting, on the other hand, it is necessary to use a specific tool that produces a jet of sand at variable speed. Tools for working the stone also include the pantograph, which proves indispensable when carving. With this device you can take advantage of an advanced numerical control system to get to engrave a phrase or date.

Choose Lanzeni for marble and granite processing

When choosing a reliable and, above all, competent partner in the processing and installation of marble, granite, travertine, onyx, and other stones, it is essential to give preference to realities that have long years of experience.

This is the case of Lanzeni Mario Srl, a company that has become a true benchmark in the industry. With a full range of services, every customer need is met under the banner of professionalism and courtesy. Depending on the needs of the individual client, the qualified team is able to recommend the use of materials, ranging from classic marble to more unique alternatives such as beola and quartzite. Over the years, the company has honed skills in different stone processing techniques, succeeding in enhancing handcrafted dimensions and maximum customization.

Each project is entirely tailor-made after a careful analysis of the client’s objectives. Lanzeni Mario Srl caters to private clients and professionals such as architects and designers, supporting them from the initial moment of quotation to installation.