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How to Purchase Stone? (2) Differentiate Six Kinds of Stone

Updated:2007-11-14 15:18:12

Six stones and the hard facts on each. To help you shop smart for natural stone flooring, here’s a rundown on six popular stones: granite, marble, limestone, travertine, slate and tumbled stone.


granite stone

Granite is one of the hardest and densest of all natural stone.

In fact, made up of quartz, feldspar and mica, granite is one of the hardest stones next to diamond.

It also resists staining and scratching better than any other natural stone due to its density.

Granite makes a powerful impact in kitchens, entryways and bathrooms, or as an accent with other natural stone tiles.

marble stone

Marble is crystallized limestone that comes in many different color variations and usually displays a veining pattern that adds to its uniqueness.

Marble is a timeless addition to any home, bearing the signs and marks of history from thousands of years.

Marble is more porous than granite, making it more susceptible to staining and therefore is more suitable for your foyers, bathrooms, fireplaces, studies or libraries.

A note to you on marble color. It is important to know that green and black marbles are not recommended for wet areas of the home, such as a shower.

Green marbles will absorb water and then curl and warp.

Black marbles, when wet, can exhibit “spalling” at veins, which means small pieces of the stone may break away.


Limestone has a more subtle look and is often offered in a “honed” or matte finish.

Limestone is created by the accumulation of organic materials such as shells and coral.

This stone will require preventative maintenance over time, as it is very porous.

As it is a softer and more porous stone it may not be suitable for all areas in the home because it will stain easily.

You should know that this stone should be sealed to protect the stone’s natural beauty and performance. (More on sealing below.)

travertine stone

Travertineis a unique looking stone 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 offering you a unique and beautiful floor.

However, like limestone, travertine will require you to have preventative maintenance performed over time, due to its porosity.

slate stone

Slate, a rustic-looking stone, has become increasing popular over the years. It comes in various colors and shades in the warm and earthy tones.

Slate has some of the most dramatic color variations from tile to tile.

Colors range from rich reds, oranges and golds, to mauve, lavender, green, blue, black, rust and brown. Imagine the possibilities in your home!

Slate tile is extremely durable and can be used in indoor and outdoor installations.

All slate has a natural clefting along the surface that gives this stone its unique textural look of layers.

stone tumbled

Tumbled Stone has an antique look. These tiles come in numerous sizes and are many times used in borders or decorative strips.

Their Old World look is recreated through modern means. Pieces of marble, travertine and limestone are tumbled and distressed to evoke a timeworn look of stone from centuries past. Perhaps this is the look you’re after.

Tumbled Stone is often times created into accent strips, mosaics and smaller sizes such as 4” x 4” and 6” x 6”.

This type of stone is a design element that is both rustic and elegant at the same time.

(To be continued....)


source: World Floor Covering Association (WFCA)

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