The first decision to be made in your new tiling project is what type of stone to use. Understanding the qualities of, and differences between, each type of stone will make this choice an easier one to make.
Granite, of course, is the most popular of stones because of its excellent durability, bold colors and textures, and affordable price relative to other natural stones. It is granite’s caliber and practicality that account for its popularity.
Marble, while more expensive and less durable than granite, is unrivaled in appearance and texture. It is the contrasts evident in marble that make it such a high-end, luxurious stone. Two main types of marble are polished and tumbled. Tumbled marble is just that; tumbled or blasted with water to provide the same array of colors as polished marble but without the glossy finish. This has the advantage of reducing the visibility of scratches and water spots so easily noticed on a polished, mirror-like finish.
Travertine, a rich but more neutral stone, is also called travertine limestone or travertine marble, although it is neither marble nor limestone. It is characterized by pitted holes in its surface which may be “filled” or “unfilled” and is usually polished and used for flooring. Travertine has the look and texture of marble or granite but comes in more subtle colors from grey to coral-red.
Slate is not only durable but also versatile. The stone’s great advantage is that almost any color or texture are available, making it a popular choice for accenting other stone types. Chemical sealants are often used with slate to improve appearance and stain resistance.
Sandstone is softer than other natural stones, making it more susceptible to staining. However, if you are willing to maintain it, sandstone’s softer texture and aesthetic appeal make it a reasonable choice.