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Q: How can Architectural Systems develop my custom mosaic design?

A: 'Mosaic' refers to the ancient art of decoration with small pieces of stone or glass material. Adhered to a variety of interior surfaces, mosaics are used to create pictures, patterns or even three-dimensional, geometric illusions called tessellations.

Barneys Nat Stone Mosaic

In Barneys, an iconic mosaic stone pattern is installed on the main floor of their flagship locations. While the intricate mosaics vary in colorations for each store, the process and effect remain the same. It's an integral part of their design strategy. 

Many ASI materials can be cut to create mosaic effects. For more information on how you can incorporate mosaic materials into your project, contact your ASI representative today. Our knowledgeable staff looks forward to assisting you with your design vision and advising you on product possibilities.

Q: How does stone meet the Coefficient of Friction testing criteria?

A: Static Coefficient of Friction (also referred to as COF) is used to measure the slip resistance of a particular flooring surface in order to determine whether the material is suitable for public areas under American Disabilities Act and OSHA guidelines. Most often, the surface is tile or stone. The standard test used is ASTM c1028 with results reported as a number between 0.00 and 1.00 (or higher in some cases). The higher the number, the greater the slip resistance; basically, the higher the better.

Testing is usually done by the manufacturer, but can be done independently if needed. The materials are normally tested under both wet and dry conditions. There is not a set standard for every project, but typical guidelines call for a value of 0.50 (or higher) for dry areas, and 0.60 (or higher) for areas exposed to water or liquids. Request a specification sheet for the COF of a specific stone product.

Of course, not all products tested provide the desired slip resistance. But some types of materials with a low coefficient of friction may be available--or can be treated--with finishes or products that increase slip resistance. There are several good commercial products available that can be applied on site after installation. Please ask an ASI representative for more details.

Q: What is the best way to maintain natural and engineered stone surfaces?

A: The long-term maintenance of flooring products is a primary factor in material selection, along with budget, aesthetic and life cycle.

Hard surface flooring types such as wood, resilient and stone, each have their own general maintenance requirements. Here are a few general guidelines and specific maintenance information for stone flooring.

The use of invisible penetrating stone sealers is required on most natural stones. Sealers will help to inhibit staining of the porous stone surface. Stone Sealers are typically reapplied every year (sometimes sooner depending on the traffic) to maintain an optimum level of surface protection, as the abrasion from foot traffic or counter use will wear away the finish.

Honed, textured or unpolished stone is typically more porous than stone that is smooth and polished. When protected and maintained properly, these types of surfaces look beautiful and are very durable. A honed finish is preferred for floors, stair treads and thresholds where heavy traffic occurs.

Polished stone is typically less porous but still susceptible to staining, and requires maintenance to retain the polish. There are products in each ASI Stone collection available in a polished finish. Porcelain tile is a minimally porous material and will require less frequent cleaning and buffing than natural stone.

For all floors, the use of 'walk-off' mats or doormats is advised, protecting the floor surface - an interior material - from the grit and grime carried from the outside.

Depending on the porosity of the flooring product, water can stain and/or warp a floor. All hard surface floors become slippery when wet, and caution should always be taken with spills, on wet days and when cleaning with water to prevent accidents.

Sliding or rolling objects or furniture directly on any hard surface floor damages the finish and can sometimes cause irreparable damage to the material itself. Use of furniture protectors or hardboard when moving is always recommended.

Daily cleaning is recommended for all types of hard surface flooring. Dust mop interior floors frequently using a clean, non-treated dry dust mop. Sand, dirt, and grit do the most damage to natural stone surfaces due to their abrasiveness. Mats or area rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimize the sand, dirt, and grit that will scratch the stone floor. Be sure that the underside of the mat or rug is a non-slip surface. Normally, it will take a person about eight steps  on a floor surface to remove sand or dirt from the bottom of their shoes. Normal maintenance involves periodic washing with clean, potable water and neutral (pH 7) cleaners. Sapless cleaners are preferred because they minimize streaks and film. Mild, phosphate-free, biodegradable liquid dishwashing soaps or powders or stone soaps are acceptable if rinsing is thorough. Wet the stone surface with clean water. Using the cleaning solution (following manufacturer’s directions), wash in small, overlapping sweeps. Work from the bottom up if it is a vertical surface. Rinse thoroughly with clean, potable water to remove all traces of soap or cleaner solution. Change the water in the rinse pail frequently. Dry with soft cloth and allow to thoroughly air dry.

The goal for flooring specification, installation and maintenance is to take into consideration the life cycle of the material, and develop a strategic program for care that will retain the design aesthetic of the project. To ensure that the right ASI Stone product is used for your project, care and maintenance requirements should be taken into consideration during the specification process. Contact for a consultation on the appropriate flooring, finishes and maintenance program for your ASI Stone.

Q: Is it possible to value engineer with ASI Stone, if necessary?

A: Value-engineering, by definition, is engineering a product to better match its function, thus creating a desirable ratio of value to cost. It is of primary importance that quality and aesthetic not be compromised as a consequence. Value engineering can reduce costs and maintain quality when introduced throughout the phases of a project. Timely evaluation of design decisions - as well as communication with your supplier - ultimately results in the protection of your design intent through the use of material alternates.

Engineered Porcelain tile is the closest alternative to natural stone, with many of the products simulating the veining and textures, with the look and feel of stone. Luxury vinyls, such as ASI Magnetic Floor System in Stone Planks and ASI Concrete Vinyl Collection, are another durable, easy to maintain option.

Q: Would ASI Natural Stone be considered a sustainable product?

A: Natural Stone is quarried from the earth, not produced in a factory or bonded with resins, which makes it inherently sustainable.It is also naturally low-emitting and can be recycled back into other stone-based products, which can contribute to LEED® MR Credit 3: Material Reuse –the use of salvaged, refurbished or reused materials to reduce demand for virgin materials and reduce waste. Another important aspect is its enduring life cycle, as it stands up to weathering and time, surpassing any other building material. Select from a distinctive collection of Limestone, Travertine, Basalt, Marble and Onyx.