Learn about Stone
In the quarrying of stone dynamite is carefully placed in the natural crevasses of the mountain. It is exploded causing large segments of the quarry to separate. These separations are then drilled so that wire cutters can be used to cut these blocks into more maneuverable block sizes. Liquids, airbags and other preparations are used to separate the block from the mountain. This process usually takes 2 days.

The separate block is on average 8 feet wide by 4 1/2 feet high by 3 feet deep. It is numbered and then transported to fabrication centers, sometimes, many miles away. At the fabrication centers these blocks are cut into slabs by gang saws and water.
These slabs are usually cut into multiple thickness from 3/4" and up depending on the job. Cutting blocks into slabs can take anywhere from 7 hours for limestone and marble and up to 2 days for some very dense granite.

These slabs are then polishes, honed, flamed, bush hammered or sand blasted. Slab uses include kitchen counters, vanity tops, tables, fireplaces, fascias of buildings, walkways and so forth. These slabs are often cut into smaller slabs called billets, which are used for tile. These billets, usually 1 or 1 1/4" thick, are then split in half thickness wise forming two 1/2" or 3/8" thick billets. These pieces are then cut into tile, beveled, dried, packed, palletized and shipped. (This complete process takes one complete day)

It is indeed a miracle that a piece of stone can be cut from quarry, trucked or railed miles away to a fabrication center and be cut into slabs, sliced, split and polished, packed, transported over the oceans and reaches its final destination at such a remarkably low cost.
Stone is a natural solid formation of many minerals. There are thousands of stones quarried throughout the centuries from around the world.

The minerals in stone were formed, as earth itself, from liquid gasses, which cooled, hardened and formed a solid core. Through pressure, the earth's crust began to form. As the earth's crust began to expand and erode, heat and pressure pushed the solid materials up to the earth's surface, which formed colossal rock beds. It took up to 100 million years for some of these beds to form. Many of these beds are now used for quarries.

Ideal Tile imports stone from many of these quarries in Italy, Spain, Brazil, India, Turkey, Mexico, China, Greece, Taiwan, France, Tunisia, and Portugal for you, the customer.
Scratch Resistance MOHS Rating (Method Of Hardness Scale)

Scratch resistance of glazes is measured by scatching the glaze with a mineral of known hardness. Hardness of minerals is classified by MOH's Scale which lists 10 minerals according to their hardness. The higher the number the harder the glaze.

The scale is as follows:
1.  Almost all stone can stain.
2.  Almost all stones can wear.
3.  Sand plays havoc on all stones. (Stones should be protected from outside debris, grit, rock salt, ice melt, and acid rain residue from entering and eroding the stone.)
4.  All stains should be wiped up immediately. The longer the stain stays on top of the stone, the greater the damage of permanent stain.
5.  Some stains can never be removed.
6.  Stones can be ground and refinished and restored to their natural beauty.
7.  Almost all stones should be sealed with penetrating sealant.
8.  Water will darken stone whether sealed or not, however, it will return to original color when dry.

Knowing all these negatives about stone, then why stone? Why has the consumption of stone in the United States doubled over the past 10 years?

The answer is simple:
1.  Stone is beauty.
2.  Stone is sophistication.
3.  Stone is tradition.
4.  Stone enhances.
5.  Stone is internationally accepted.
6.  Stone is forever. (Like a diamond, the hardest of all stones is "forever". Once stone is installed in your home it will remain there forever, as the ancient palaces of Europe, so too, should your stone be carefully selected, installed, maintained, and preserved.)
Granite  Proportions of the chemical components of the continental crust are such that, they were melted down, mixed thoroughly, and slowly cooled, the result would be granite. Although a favorite for commercial use, it has shown a resurgence recently for use in residential applications due to it's superior hardness and durability.
Limestone  Composed wholly or part of calcium carbonate. Certain limestones, when examined closely, are seen to consist almost entirely of fragments of fossil shells. The size of the fragments and the method of cementation can determine the porosity and the abrasion resistance and whether the stone is suitable for commercial and/or residential applications. In some markets, hone (matte finish) limestone paving has surpassed marble in popularity.
Marble  A compact, granular, partially or wholly crystallized (metamorphosed) limestone. Commonly produced with a polished finish, its decorative and occasional vivid nature has made it the stone of choice for centuries.

NOTE: the boundary between crystalline marble and limestone is ill-defined. A few characteristics make it possible to distinguish marble from limestone which frequently appears similar to it.
Sandstone  A rock consisting primarily of quartz sand and cemented together by silica rich waters seeping through its mass. Iron oxides give the stone its yellow and rosy colors in some instances. Although more commonly used as an exterior paving stone in cut shapes and random (flagging), it is gaining acceptance for use as a interior paving.
Quartzite  A compact, granular, partially or wholly crystallized (metamorphosed) sandstone. Contains at least 95% silica (quartz sand) in its matrix and often appears more textural with higher concentrations of mica which gives it a shiny or platy appearance.
Slate  A primarily clay-based (argillaceous), fine grained rock that readily splits into thin and even laminae. Many are formed in deep oceans, or they may form in river beds, estuaries and deltas.
Travertine  A porous, crystalline calcium carbonate mud deposited layers from ground or surface water. Trapped organics later dissolved give the stone its characteristics pockets or holes.
Volcanic Ash Stone  Known as canters, adoquin, Kirkstone, these stones are formed from sedimentation and eventual consolidation of volcanic ash. In some instances, metamorphic events recrystallize ash into harder, more dense stones (Kirkstone).
Natural Color Variations  All stones (travertine, slate, marble, limestone, granite, etc.) are from nature making it impossible to insure that every color and marking in one piece will be present in the next piece. It is this individuality of each piece gives a natural stone floor its inherent natural beauty.
Finishes  Natural stones come in an array of finishes. These finishes can add to the characteristics of the stone as well as dictate the type of sealing that will be needed to protect the floor once it is installed. Please refer to the care & maintenance section for sealing information.
Honed  The surfaces is buffed to a smooth matte finish.
Polished  The surface has been buffed to a smooth shiny finish.
Saw cut/Flamed cut  The surface has not been buffed. The rough saw cuts are left creating an irregular rough matte finish.
Flame cut  Is hit with a torch creating a clefted finish.
Filled  Natural stones that have a pitted surface are filled at the factory.
Unfilled  Natural stones that have a pitted surface are not filled at the factory. This allows the customer the option to fill the pits with a colored grout to add to the appearance of the stone.
Installation  The thickness of natural stone creates the need for a mud set installation to insure stability and adhesion.
NOTE:  Green marble must be installed with a 100% solid epoxy to insure that warpage will not occur.