The Ultimate Guide To Natural Stone Tiles
In our previous post we went over the various characteristics of different tile materials such as glass, ceramic/porcelain, and metal tiles. Stone tile can be a little different as it is a much more diverse material than any other. Stone tiles may include marble, travertine, granite, and come in an assortment of finishes as well.
Common Natural Stone Tile Types
There’s seems to be so many options available when searching for the right stone tile to complete your installation. The range can be quite extreme at times ranging from the lowest up to the highest of most budgets whether commercial or residential.
Granite Tile is likely the best example of this for the average consumer. It can arguably be considered the most popular stone tile due to its combination of available bold colors, textures, and excellent durability all at an affordable price. Granite is a type of hard, granular igneous rock made up of mostly quartz and feldspars with its colors ranging anywhere from pinks and reds to dark or light grays and mixes in between. While granite is resistant to things like mild acids, it is susceptible to staining from contact with oil and grease, but as we will mention further on when we touch on stone tile finishes - all natural stone tiles are susceptible to staining under different circumstances unless certain precautions are preemptively taken.
Marble Tile beautiful and elegant as you would expect it to be, tends to represent the higher end of the scale. On average it can cost anywhere between $10-$20 per square foot. This can be attributed to its status as the undisputed champion in the natural stone category in regards to its texture and overall appearance. It is commonly associated with high end or chic decor. Its most defining characteristics being the contrast between the vein and base colors commonly found in most marble pieces. Unlike granite though, marble is considerably less durable so more care and consideration must be taken when marble is chosen for any installation. This is due to being a carbonate, made from ancient shells, sand, and mud, that has been heated and squeezed until crystallized. Because it is relatively soft in terms of a natural stone, it isn’t suitable for most kitchen top counters unless the end user is going for a more rustic look. Mild acids like vinegar will easily etch marble if one is not careful.
Travertine Tile is easily considered one of the most versatile of natural stone tiles. It is one of the most widely used stones in todays modern building industry. This is because it is commonly used for both floor tile and wall tile applications, patios, countertops, outdoor pathways, and also building exteriors. Most travertine is sourced from Italy and Turkey, thus being a very popular import all over the world. You can always rely on Travertine to feature wonderfully warm earthy tones, as well as include deep browns, soft ivories, with vibrant shades of golden honey, reds, and silvery greens. One of travertines defining characteristics comes down to its physical properties. Its body has small holes and troughs through out the surface of the stone. These are naturally occurring because of the natural gas that escapes the stone as is it being formed over time throughout the caves where it is found. The “pores” give the stone an elegant weathered and aged appearance.
Natural Stone Tile Finishes
Depending on your application, the finish applied can be just as important as the tile itself. Finishes can impact the final overall appearance of your tile as well as the expected longevity of your tile.
A Natural Finish is basically the absence of any treatment. The stone in its natural state. This can be attractive to many who appreciate the appearance and final finish of their natural stone as it comes direct from its source. This however leave the tile susceptible to any elements it is naturally weaker to or prone to be affected by.
Granite Tile comes in an assortment of finishes for use. The most common granite finish can be found in most kitchen settings as polished granite. This polished finish essentially seals the pores on the stones surfaces, making it water and moisture resistant while also providing the tile with a glossy finish that enriches the tiles color and exudes elegance is any application. Honed Granite on the other hand comes in a more satin finish, this finish is suitable for use on kitchen floors as its more matte surface provides a more slip resistant surface compared to its glossy counterpart.
Marble Tile also comes in a polished finish similar to granite tile. However it is still more prone to show scratches and other markings so it is recommended to avoid use in any high traffic areas or just to use it in smaller applications. Honed marble is much more suitable for high traffic areas, however unlike polished marble, its pores are still left exposed, leaving it very susceptible to staining so extra care must be taken not to expose it to any elements which could seem in. (Wine for example, good luck getting that out.) In order to maintain the effectiveness of marble finishes they must be kept up and resealed on a regular basis - honed finishes more often than polished finishes. Tumbled Marble takes advantage of all its weaknesses and accentuates them for a more on purpose rustic look. It offers marble with a more worn and natural look, bringing out more cracks, chips, and uneven edges for a tile with more character perfect for antique or rustic interiors.
Travertine Tile of course has similar polished, honed, & tumbled finishes. However it does have one key difference when compared to the finishes of granite and marble. The pores are not always filled in - this provides a type of sub finish for each of its already available finishes - filled or unfilled. Because of this distinction, this provides travertine tile with unique combinations in each of its finishes giving it an extra level of character not found in other materials.
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