No two pieces of natural stone are ever the same, and therein lies the beauty! Each piece has natural characteristics such as color, veining and markings, as well as hardness and porosity. If you’re looking for uniqueness and authenticity, nothing can provide that better than stone!
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!
When choosing natural stone, there are several important factors to consider.
Variations: The samples you view at your retailer may have completely different veining patterns or color variations compared to the stone installed in your home. It is best give yourself enough time to allow the showroom to order a current sample. Be aware that irregular markings, lines, veins and crystallization are not cracks or imperfections, but rather a natural part of the stone’s beauty.
Hardness: Natural stone varies in hardness, which is the scratch resistance of a mineral.
Porosity: stone is extremely dense yet also porous; to prevent stains it must be sealed with a penetrating sealer. Regular maintenance and care are essential to the lifespan of your natural stone.
What is the difference between different kinds of natural stone? Weʼre glad you asked!
Marble is a crystallized limestone that comes in multiple color variations and usually has a strong veining pattern of swirls and patches of contrasting color. It is characteristically soft and easily scratched. It is most often used for ﬁreplace surrounds, furniture surfaces, interior ﬂoors and walls and bathroom vanities. Finishes used on marble are polished, honed, brushed and tumbled. Penetrative sealing is recommended.
Granite is barely porous, impossible to scratch and impervious to burns. It is the hardest of all natural stone. Popular for use as kitchen countertops and bathroom vanities, it can also be used for floors, tabletops and fireplace surrounds. Finishes used on granite include flamed, honed, polished, suede and sandblasted. Penetrative sealing in recommended.
Travertine is a variety of limestone and it most commonly has a creamy, golden or reddish color. Travertine is available with the holes filled (with synthetic resins or cements) or unfilled and is most commonly used for residential wall and flooring applications and as backsplash material. It is particularly useful around swimming pools, as it provides a strong grip, making it hard to slip. It is available in honed, polished, brushed, chiseled and tumbled finishes. Penetrative sealing is recommended.
Slate is metamorphic stone that appears to have a sheet-like structure. It is composed of clay, quartz and shale. Slate can be found in a huge variety of colors (including reds and greens). Its porosity is extremely low, which is why slate is highly stain resistant. Slate can be used for paving stones, roofing, floors and countertops. It is available in natural (cleft), suede and honed finishes. Penetrative sealing is recommended.
Quartzite is a type of sandstone. It is very fine-grained, strong, and dense. It has a rich, crystallized appearance. It is most often grey or white, but can be found in a variety of colors. Quartzite can be used for both interior and exterior flooring applications. Quartzite is available in natural (cleft) and honed finishes. Penetrative sealing is recommended.
The most common ﬁnishes for natural stone are:
Honed: Flat to low sheen gloss. Smooth, but porous. Common for high-traffic area (kitchen, living room, etc.). Colors not as vibrant as polished.
Polished: Glossy surface that wears away in time, not best high-traffic area. Polished crystals produces vibrant, brilliant color.
Flamed: A rough, very porous surface that is developed through intense heat. During fabrication, the stone is heated up and the crystals begin to pop, thus forming a rough surface.
Tumbled: A slightly rough texture that is achieved by tumbling small pieces of marble, limestone, and sometimes granite to achieve an archaic or worn appearance.
Brushed: A rough look, similar to that of antique ﬁnishing.