Granite: One of the hardest and densest of all natural stone. Next to the diamond, it is the hardest of the natural stones.
- Resists staining and scratching better than any other natural stone.
- Beautiful in foyers, bathrooms, libraries or kitchens or as an accent with other natural stones.
- Made up of mainly quartz, feldspar and mica.
- Mother nature produces a variety of rich colors each with their own distinctive characteristics.
Marble: Marble is crystallized limestone that comes in many different color variations and usually displays a veining pattern that adds to its uniqueness. These veins are typically different in color from the overall color of the stone.
- A timeless addition to any home, bearing the signs and marks of history from thousands of years.
- More porous and softer than granite, making it more susceptible to staining and scratching. Therefore, marble is more suitable for bathroom countertops/walls, shower stalls, tub surrounds or fireplace surrounds.
- Marble is not recommended for use in kitchens. Marble is very sensitive to acidic chemicals such as citric acids from lemons or limes. These acids can etch or dull a marble surface creating permanent damage.
Limestone: This stone has a more subtle look and is often offered in a “honed” or matte finish. This stone will require preventative maintenance over time, as it is a softer stone and very porous.
- Created by the accumulation of organic materials such as shells and coral.
- Colors tend to be softer and more neutral ranging from cream, beige, brown, pale rust and soft blue.
- Clean and simple in appearance.
- May not be suitable for all areas in the home because it will stain easily.
Travertine: Unique looking due to the “fill process”. In its original form, Travertine has thousands of holes running through it. These holes are filled and then the stone is polished. The stone polishes to a high sheen and the fill areas remain dull creating a beautiful floor. Like Limestone, this stone will require preventative maintenance over time, due to its porosity.
- From the limestone family-so it shares some similar characteristics such as being soft and porous.
- Comprised of layers of mineral composites that cool and crystallize into travertine.
Slate: This rustic, yet elegant stone, has become increasing popular over the years. The beautiful color variations turn any countertop or surround into a work of art. Slate can be used for interiors as well as exteriors making it the perfect product to bring the outdoors in!
- All slate has a natural clefting along the surface which gives this stone its unique textural look of layers.
- The most dramatic of color variations. Rich reds, oranges and golds to black, brown and rust to mauve, lavender, green, blue, silver and grey. Colors range from warm and earthy to cool and sophisticated
- Extremely durable and stain resistant. Although slate does not require sealing, the grout surrounding it does. Ask your design consultant about a product that will enhance the slate and seal the grout at the same time.
- Resistant to cracking and chipping
- Beautiful for kitchen countertops and backsplashes, bathroom countertops, backsplash and wall surrounds and fireplaces.
Tumbled Stone: is marble, travertine and limestone that are tumbled and distressed to evoke a timeworn look of stone from centuries past.
- An old world look.
- Suitable for both the casual and formal environment.
- The perfect accent to polished granite, marble or limestone.
- Stunning on countertops, surrounds or as backsplash treatments.
- Available in many sizes and are often used in borders or decorative strips. Accent strips, mosaics, chair rails, listellos and smaller sizes such as 1×1, 4×4, 6×6.
It’s important to remember that natural stone is a product of Mother Nature. No two pieces of natural stone tile will look the same. Veining and crystallization are natural characteristics of the stone, not imperfections.
Different stones are have different levels of hardness and porosity and are best for different uses. Be sure to ask your design consultant about which stone is right for the different areas in your home depending on whether it is a wet area, like a bath or a high traffic area such as a kitchen.
12”x12” is the size typically installed on countertops.
Tumbled Stone is also available in smaller sizes such as 4”x4”and 8”x8” and even smaller in many of the intricate decorative borders.
There are two types of edges for natural stone tile.
A polished bull nose edge that has a rounded or curved appearance. A polished straight 90 degree edge.
Natural stone tile is less expensive than natural stone slab and still evokes an elegant look.
Selecting Grout for Natural Stone Tile
Natural Stone grout lines are typically done with unsanded grout and are usually much thinner than ceramic tile installations.
Design Options-grout can match, contrast or coordinate with your stone tile. Remember, grout will outline each tile creating a visual picture frame. If you want to highlight the beauty of your stone and make the grout less noticeable, select a grout that is close in color to the stone. A contrasting grout color, either darker or lighter, will enhance the appearance of the grout lines creating a checkerboard effect.
Grout darkens as it ages, so sealing is recommended. Remember that grout colors can change slightly from the sample in the design center to the grout installed in your home based on the temperature and humidity when the tile is installed.
What About Sealing?
It is highly recommended that you seal your stone tile or slab after it is installed to provide additional stain resistance and to protect the stone’s original beauty. There are different types of sealers depending on the type of stone. Scratches, stains, etching and dulling of the surface are all permanent damage and forever alter the appearance of your stone. Ask your design consultant for information about sealing.
The Value of Upgrading
You will have a wider selection of types, sizes and colors.
You will have access to more durable types of stones.
Decorative options such as accent strips, mosaics, patterns, etc.
A timeless finish that brings value to any home.