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Cheshire Quartzite Overview

About Cheshire Quartzite

Despite working with other materials in the past, becoming familar with Cheshire Quartzite has benefits. Natural stone surfaces are a popular choice for homeowners because of the material's look and durability. There are fundamental guidelines for working with Quartzite surfaces. And if you are in a position to inform the home owner about caring for and maintaining Cheshire Quartzite, this info might be helpful. So let's get into the basics of Cheshire Quartzite.

The Formation of Cheshire Quartzite

One of the first things to know about Cheshire Quartzite is its make up. A stone's make up affects the way it is used. So here, we will look at what the composition of Quartzite is and its traits.

Cheshire is Quartzite, as such, it is composed of specific minerals and substances. As it forms, the material in the stone is altered means of processes. Cheshire Quartzite is mainly made up of quartz; like all Quartzite is. Why? Because Quartzite is sandstone that has been transformed into a new material by means of intense pressure and heat (metamorphasis).

Quartzite is often named by attaching a color name or perhaps a geographical area to the term describing its makeup. As a result, Cheshire Quartzite is distinguished from other Quartzite surfaces, even if they look similar. As Quartzite forms, events occur that cause the mineral content to vary. These variations are responsible for differences in grain, color, and texture. The definition that Use Natural Stone gives for Quartzite is:

Quartzite is a metamorphic rock made almost entirely of the mineral quartz. Quartzite begins its geologic life as sand grains, perhaps on a beach, desert dune, or riverbed. Over time, the sand grains become compressed and stuck together to form sandstone. If the sandstone gets buried ever more deeply underneath layers of rocks, it gets hotter and more compressed. With enough heat and pressure, the sand grains lose their original shape and fuse to their neighbors, forming a dense, durable rock. The process is similar to individual snowflakes merging into solid, glacial ice.

The same website authoratatively states:

Quartzite is usually white or light-colored because quartz sand is light colored. Additional minerals carried by groundwater can impart hues of green, blue, or iron-red. Van Gogh and Azul Macaubas quartzites are examples of vivid coloring.

As the above quote makes clear, Quartzite forms in a variety of colors that come from the mineral content that makes up a specific stone. However, that does not mean that it can contain just any amount of another material - as the article goes on to say. So what are the properties of Cheshire Quartzite? Let's look at some of them now.

Properties of Cheshire Quartzite

Cheshire Quartzite is a natural stone and will have variations in density, porosity, and texture from one stone to the next. Like all Quartzite though, Cheshire is used for a range of applications and is versatile. Some may not consider "versatility" to be a property, but if we were to view it that way this stone has that property. It also has other properties. Let's look at the other traits next.

Hardness is another characteristic of Quartzite. Cheshire Quartzite is very hard and registers 7 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. Since 10 is the top limit of the scale, Quartzite resides on the hard end of the scale. This means that a countertop made from Cheshire Quartzite is scratch resistant and holds up well under normal household use.

Fabricating Cheshire Quartzite

Quartzite fabrication practices include many of the same basic techniques used with other natural stone and man made materials. These techniques include reinforcing the countertop to prevent cracking and/or breaking and cutting and shaping the material.

Quartzite Reinforcement Techniques

One aspect of Quartzite fabrication, including fabricating Cheshire, is reinforcement. When we say "reinforce" Quartzite, we are talking about something different from using one of the various Quartzite support braces available. Rather, we are talking about various techniques that are recommended by the Marble Institute of America for strengthening natural stone countertops. Let's consider four such techniques briefly. We cover these reinforcement techniques in more depth in our article entitled: How to Reinforce Stone Countertops.

  1. Rodding - cutting a slot in the underside of the stone slab where you want to reinforce it and placing a strip of steel or fiber rodding in the slot and completely covering the rodding with epoxy.
  2. Fiberglass Mesh - applying fiberglass mesh backing to the stone for support.
  3. Linear Blocks - adding a linear block of stone (matching or non-matching) to the underneath part of the stone to support the seam.
  4. Splines - using a "spline key" such as a large washer to reinforce the stone on a seam.

Using one or more of the reinforcement techniques mentioned above along with countertop support hardware makes Cheshire Quartzite surfaces as strong as they need to be for their applications.

Cutting & Shaping Quartzite

Another aspect of fabricating Quartzite is cutting. A Cheshire Quartzite countertop requires cutting in order to be made. Diamond blades designed for cutting very hard materials are needed to accomplish this. Blades for cutting Cheshire Quartzite are designed specifically for cutting hard materials like Quartzite. The material's hardness also means that using a blade for hand cutting using an angle grinder is important. Quartzite turbo blades are available and although blades designed for general use might work, you no doubt want the best results. Getting the best results relies on having a blade designed for the material you are cutting.

Drilling holes may not come to mind right away when you think of "shaping" a countertop. Yet, core drilling is an important to making a countertop from a slab. Cutting holes for faucets and soap dispensers (if one is being installed) is quick work using the proper equipment. This is where Cheshire Quartzite core bits come in. Various bits might perform, but having one designed for the material is important if you want the most productivity and performance.

Caring for & Maintaining Cheshire Quartzite

When it comes to caring for Cheshire Quartzite, there are a few practicesthat keep your stone looking its best and performing well. Maintaining Cheshire Quartzite may include stain removal. However, removing stains may not be necessary if the material is regularly sealed and the appropriate cleaner is used for daily cleaning.

Sealing Quartzite Periodically

The pores of natural stone allow liquids to penetrate. These liquids can react with the substances in the stone or deliver a color that alters the appearance of the material. Natural stone sealer keeps oil and water based liquids out of the stone when applied periodically. Stone sealer adds a barrier to the stone that slows its ability to absorb liquids. This allows time to clean up any spills that could be stain-causing.

Daily Cleaning of Quartzite

Daily cleanig is another aspect of Cheshire Quartzite cleaning. Using whatever household cleaner is available may be tempting. But cleaners that are not formulated with the proper pH level will destroy the seal on the countertop. This would effectively cancel out any sealer treatments added to the Cheshire Quartzite surface.

Removing Stains From Quartzite

On occasion, a Cheshire Quartzite surface might get stained even if you have sealed the stone and cleaned it with the appropriate cleaner as mentioned above. In these cases, there are poultices and other stain remover products one can use to remove stains from a Cheshire Quartzite countertop.

So, to sum up our discussion, being familiar with Cheshire Quartzite is important when you work with the material. When fabricating it, reinforcing it if necessary it is helpful to know which tools are most effective for working with it. Additionally, maintaining the surface and cleaning it correctly is important so that it will prove to be a functional and strong surface for the owner in the end.

* A thirsty quartzite stone is one that quickly absorbs water resting on its surface. Simply put a tablespoon of water on the surface of the stone. The faster the water is absorbed, the "thirstier" the stone is.
Image provided by James St. John under the Creative Commons 2.0 License.
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