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What Is Cantera Stone?

Cantera stone is a natural occurring mineral that has been formed by millions of years of compression of volcanic ash and lava. It has been used for centuries as a primary construction and ornamental material, as shown in Figure 1. Cantera stone has very high strength and durability. It is lightweight relative to other natural stones because it is a porous stone. Cantera stone is also known as kantara stone, cantara stone and lava stone.

Cantera stone cathedral
Figure 1 - Cantera stone cathedral

Cantera stone mimics the texture and porosity of sandstone with an appearance that closely resembles the traditional look of marbles and granites, and in fact many individuals who have purchased items made from cantera stone have thought they were purchasing marble.

Cantera stone comes in a host of different natural earth colors, from blacks to reds, tans and browns.

When considering a natural stone for its versatility it is hard to find any other natural stone that has the same capabilities. Cantera stone can be used in any number of home improvement and decor products as shown in Figures 2 through 7:

cantera stone floor tile
Figure 2 - Cantera stone floor tile
cantera stone trim & molding
Figure 3 - Cantera stone trim & molding
cantera stone fireplace surround & mantel
Figure 4 - Cantera stone fireplace surround & mantel
cantera stone building facade
Figure 5 - Cantera stone building facade
cantera stone furniture
Figure 6 - Cantera stone furniture
cantera stone columns, railings & balustrades
Figure 7 - Cantera stone columns, railings & balustrades

The history of cantara stone.

Europeans have been using cantera stone for thousands of years to create building facades, as shown in Figure 1, interior structures and works of arts. The Spanish brought the expertise to carve cantera stone into pieces of elegant art work to the South, Central and North America in the 1600s. Using cantera stone as the raw material to create statues and other pieces of art caught on in Mexico and the other Spanish colonies. Today, almost all of the cantera stone sculptures and art work are hand worked in Mexico and shipped to other parts of North America for sale

Where is cantara stone used?

Cantera stone is best used to enhance a residential or commercial building’s structure and décor, as shown in Figures 2 through 7. Because it is so easy to carve with intricate detail it makes dramatic interior and exterior trim moldings, fireplaces, highlights doorways and windows and railings, balustrades and columns. Cantera stone is also an excellent material to make fountains, as shown in Figure 8 and statues, as shown in Figure 9.

cantera stone fountain
Figure 8 - Cantera stone fountain
cantera stone sculpture
Figure 9 - Cantera stone sculture

Cantera as a flooring material

Cantera stone makes an excellent tile for flooring almost any room in the home. It is impervious to moisture which makes it a non-slip surface in bathrooms and laundry rooms or any other area in the home where there are high levels of moisture or where water can lay on the floor. Outdoors cantara tile is a good choice for the decking around a pool. It is installed in the same manner as any other natural stone floor tile such as marble or granite.

To avoid staining your cantera tile floor you should seal it with a high quality natural stone penetrating sealer.

Note: Because cantera stone is very porous it should not be used as a flooring in kitchens. It is nearly impossible to seal cantera stone to a point where bacteria will not grow within the tile.