How Do Granite and Marble Slab Get to the GTA?

Back to Home

Granite and Marble Slab: to the GTA from Around the World

 
Greater Toronto Area contractors and homeowners love the luxury of kitchen and bathroom countertops made of natural stone. Both granite and marble are popular choices due to their beauty and durability. But have you ever wondered how granite and marble slabs get to the GTA? The process of quarrying, finishing and shipping natural stone is fascinating.
 
For centuries, fine stone such as marble and granite were available only to the very rich. Quarrying stone was a backbreaking, arduous process, and very little stone could be extracted in any given year. This meant that granite and marble were both prohibitively expensive. However, in recent decades, new technologies have arisen that have streamlined the process. While extracting stone is still a work-intensive and specialized activity, these new ways of quarrying and finishing stone have greatly increased output and made natural stone an affordable option.
 

Quarrying Stone

 
Quarries are established in countries around the world, wherever deposits of material with desirable color, pattern and composition are found. Geologists most often look for stone outcrops and then obtain samples by boring into the earth with diamond-tipped drill bits.
 
The process of extracting blocks of stone starts by taking down "bench walls”, large chunks of rock that are then cut into smaller blocks. Bench walls are cut with diamond wire cables, drills and even high temperature torches that can melt the stone. Small dynamite charges are often used to loosen the bench wall, and workers create a bed of earth for the stone to land on. Quarrymen then cut blocks from the bench wall. These blocks usually have a fairly uniform size that’s based on the size of the processing equipment. Stone blocks are extremely heavy, with some granite blocks weighing 40,000 pounds or more!
 
Next, the blocks are transported to a processing facility. Sometimes these facilities are in the same country as the quarry. Other times, they’re shipped thousands of miles for processing.
 

Processing and Shipping Slabs

 
Once at the processing facility, slabs are cut from the block with a gang saw. The gang saw can cut the entire block of stone into slabs at once, like a giant bread slicer. Some delicate types of stone need to be cut with diamond-wire saws. New technology such as multi-wire gang saws have speeded the process of processing these materials.
 
Next comes polishing. Slabs are laid horizontally on a large conveyer called a polishing line. First, they pass under very coarse polishing heads, and then they progress through finer and finer grit polishers. At some point in this process, most fine stone is coated with resin, which fills in tiny fissures and makes the slab easier to clean.
 
Workers bundle together and brace them with wooden frames so that they will stay upright during shipping. If the stone originates overseas, it will be loaded into standard 20-foot shipping containers to a maximum weight limit of twenty tons.
 
It takes massive cranes to load these containers onto ships that will bring them to Canada.

 

From port, slabs make their way to GTA stone importer-distributors by train. Visit a showroom today and discover the beauty of granite and marble slab!