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Stone Flooring Lifecycle

The lifecycle of stone floors involves an energy–intensive quarrying and shaping process. These things, in combination with the weight of stone in transportation, often result in a high greenhouse gas output that in turn contributes to global warming. In order to gain some understanding of your stone flooring's carbon footprint (i.e. its impact on the environment in terms of CO2), as well as other ways it may negatively impact the environment, it's essential that you familiarize yourself with the lifecycle of the product. In this section you will learn how stone floors are transported, processed and installed, as well as the origin of the resources used.

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Origin of stone flooring:

Globe or Earth image representing Origin

Stone is a naturally occurring aggregate of minerals, part of the Earth's crust. It is quarried all over the world, most commonly in Italy, China, Spain, India, Canada, Mexico and the United States.

How stone flooring is transported:

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Depending on the location of the quarry, stone may be transported by ships, trains, trucks, or a combination of any of these. Since stone can be very heavy, high–intensive machines are often needed to move it from place to place, resulting in a larger carbon footprint.

How stone flooring is processed:

Factory illustration representing the production process

Stone is cut from the earth, using heavy and high–speed machinery. Once the stone is quarried, it's shaped into block form and taken to a plant where it's sawn into slabs. Most stone blocks are extremely unyielding and can take a gang saw a couple days to cut through. The stone slabs are then polished with one of the stone finishing methods (e.g. acid–washed, tumbled and brushed). During this time, each stone slab is also calibrated, or worked down until it has a uniform width. In some cases the slabs are cut into tiles.

How stone flooring is installed:

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Installation methods slightly vary according to type, but for the most part installing stone is similar to installing tile. It is laid over a substrate, set in mortar. Grout is often used to fill spaces between stones. Floor joists and framing sometimes need to be reinforced in order to support the weight of stone. Stone trims and transitions can also be used to help adjoin stone floors and another type of flooring, as well as hide expansion spacing in doorways. For more information on how to install stone flooring, see the Complete and Quick Stone Flooring Installation Guide on™.

Disposing of stone flooring:

Green Recycle Symbol

Stone floors have been known to outlast the buildings in which they were installed. However, if it is removed, stone can be reused in other buildings or broken up to be used as construction fill or sub–base material. Stone can also be discarded in landfills without consequence to the environment.