Marble is a metamorphic stone, it’s formed when limestone is exposed to high temperatures and pressures. Marble has more aesthetic than granite, veins add more to marble aesthetic value. Select marble tiles and slab isn’t an easy mission, especially with the variety of choices in the market. Marble is a natural material extracted from mountains, each area in the mountain is different. It’s hard to compare marble types, because its similar in appearance but different in strength, water absorption and other properties we will discuss later in this article. For non expert who will get information from market, the flow of advice, maybe even conflicting advice, will make marble select process harder. Through this article we will go through marble properties and advice in FAQ style, try to read this article in full to get a well understanding of the process.
Palestinian stone is located at West Bank Mountains. Also it’s called Jerusalem stone and marble, with average annual sales of 600$ million. Commonly it caved in a rough texture to use in building facade cladding and for decor. The Palestinian stones and it unique rough texture is a main character of the Palestinian architecture.
As Palestinian stones are limestone extracting from different mountains. Thus stone types are various according to location. Each stone has it physical specifications, where they vary in absorption ratio, rigidity and strength of bearing, leading to price differences. Most famous stone types are Njassa, Shyoukh, Slayeb, Tafouh, Barezit and many others.
Palestinian stone types
Njassa and Shyoukh are white. However Njassa is more white and has less absorption ratio which will remain white for longer type. In other hand Shyoukh Band 160 found deep inside the mountain, which is similar to Njassa stone specifications. Slayeb is red and yellow stone, its solid with a low absorption ratio. Taffouh is that yellow stone, while Birzeit is varied from yellow to grayish green but it yellow is more hue than Tafouh. There are other types found in Palestine like Beersheba stone in Negev desert. Its light gray color stone in similar tones, this gives architecture seem like it built from one stone building.
Palestinian Stone Extracting
Stone extracted then cut in slabs then to different sizes and thickness to fit the required application. What’s makes Palestinian stone unique in facade cladding, its has a rough face where it shows architecture massive. The well-known two major sizes, the 25 cm height and 12 cm height its come in 3 cm thickness and random widths. Personally I consider 12 cm height is more beauty in scale and details, however 25 cm scale and details appear differently because it requires a different caving techniques. Increase stone thickness could be a solution to have the large size appears in nice details similar to 12 cm stone size.
Palestinian Stone and Water Absorbing Problems
Palestinian stone as limestone has a high water absorbing ration. Specially that rough Palestinian stone surface is not treated for water absorption. The stone will yellow and convert to black color that have a bad appearance and could easily noticed. There are a few tips to take in consideration to avoid yellowing.
First and most important to fix water leakage problems. Most usual problems happen in slab connection, where problems with indoor plumbing that affect the elevation stone cladding.
Also inverted beams around the building boundaries will prevent water to reach the Palestinian stone. The inverted beam has to be casting with slab to avoid water leakage. Another thing is to avoid installing water supply pipes at floor, and install the pipes in the false ceiling. In the false ceiling the problem will appear immediately, unlike floor installations. The cost of removing the false ceiling to fix the pipes is smaller than removing floor tiles for pipes maintenance.
Second tip is to temporarily connect stone together, use marble adhesive. Some craftsmen use gypsum to temporary connecting, but gypsum is organic material that wouldn’t stay for a long time. Then the place of gypsum mortar will be a gaps to collect water. The marble adhesive is better choice for traditional installing method – the casting -. Stone types, cut sizes and arrangement have various alternatives, resulting huge methods to build and design of the building facade. Here are some photos of buildings elevation designs that created by Palestinian stone.
Palestinian stone joints
Rough Palestinian stone, use a wide joints that fills with cement grout. The nice width for the rough Palestinian stone is 7 mm. Where craftsmen use grinder to wider the joints. The grinder will straight the joint and give them the same thickness. As the joints between the stone tiles are wide it requires adding sand to cement grout. Sand will make the mixture rigid, rougher also sand will color the mixture. For white stones like Njassa, Shyoukh use white sand like sea shore sand to prevent yellowing the mixture. After filling the cement grout craftsmen use steel brush to clean the joints and after use grinder steel brush to clean the stone surface. For colored Palestinian tones like Beirziet, Slayeb or Tafouh craftsmen add pigments to color the grout.
Palestinian Stone Sizes
Stone types, cut sizes and arrangement have various alternatives, resulting huge methods to build and design of the building facade. Here are some photos of buildings elevation designs that created by Palestinian stone.