Any natural stone tile project begins with stone tile selection. Understanding the qualities of each type of stone can help you make this decision. Personal preference is a large part of this process but, when considering budgetary concerns, remember that price is determined more by availability and supply than a particular stone’s quality or durability.
Types of Natural Stone
Granite—Granite is probably the most popular stone tile because it combines good durability and bolder colors and textures at an affordable price. Few natural stones are able to offer this kind of quality and practicality.
Marble—As great as granite is, marble is still the unparalleled champion of stone texture and appearance. Many forms of marble have contrasting vein and base colors that make this stone synonymous with high-end, chic décor. Keep in mind, though, that not only is marble more expensive, it’s also less durable.
Travertine—You may love the look and texture of natural stone, but this doesn’t always mean you want your stone tile to jump out at you. Travertine is dominated by beige, neutral colors. Travertine is part of the limestone family, making it durable but also more susceptible to staining than granite or marble.
Slate—A good durable natural stone, slate is also extremely versatile. You can find almost any color or texturing from slate. This also makes it a great choice for accent installations. In your kitchen, for example, you might have a granite counter-top and a slate wall tile.
Sandstone—Another stone susceptible to staining, sandstone’s softer texture and beautiful appearance still make it a reasonable and popular choice if you’re willing to take care of it.
Engineered Stone—A combination of quartz and resin, this stone isn’t a true natural stone, but it creates a more durable and cheaper alternative. It can offer similar appearances to natural stone but tends to lack their more definitive grains.
You might read about these natural stones and think you’re set, but once you talk to your service professional and actually see and touch your options, you might change your mind.
Mosaics and Backsplashes
For a simple, classic look, larger stone tiles are generally preferred. Mosaic tiles are most popular for wet floors, but they can also act as a nice, contrasting border for your tile. Mosaic tiles are best used with a creative design or even more elaborate murals. The most common place for a mural is the backsplash in your kitchen. Many kitchens are designed with a naturally-framed area above the range and a creative mural can create a stunning accent for your kitchen.
Natural Stone Finishes
Nearly as important as the stone itself, there are just as many finishes for stone tiling project. Honed and polished are among the more popular and will give your natural stone tile a smooth, glossy look. Other finishes also include aged, filled, rubbed, brushed, antiqued, sandblasted, tooled, broached, droved, and sparrow-pecked. Each type of stone can also be put into a tumbling machine to create a softer, more rustic texture.
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