Marble and granite, two of the most popular stones among homeowners, are quarried in the form of huge blocks, some weighing up to 35 tons. These blocks are cut into slabs generally ¾” or 1 ¼” thick and the faces are polished to the specified finish. The slabs are then carefully crated and shipped to fabricators worldwide who process them into the final product.
Because stone is a natural, not manufactured, product, no two pieces are exactly alike, which means each finished countertop, wall, floor, mantle, or sill in your home is distinctive and matchless.
Natural stones are available in a beautiful spectrum of colors. Colors in granite and marble, for instance, can range from soft beiges and pinks and classic black-and-whites to rich corals, greens, and multi-colors. Marble traditionally features swirls and “veins” of colors, while granite has a flecked or pebbled appearance.
Unlike the repetitive sameness of materials produced by machine or assembly line, natural stone’s naturally varied appearance has wonderful character and creates a one-of-a-kind effect everywhere it is used.
Natural stone can be polished, honed, or flamed for a distinct appearance:
A polished finish has a glossy surface that reflects light and emphasizes the color and marking of the stone. This finish is typically used on walls, furniture tops, and floor tiles.
A honed finish is a satin-smooth surface with relatively little light reflection. It is generally preferred for floors, stair treads, thresholds, and other areas where heavy traffic will wear off a polished finish. A flamed finish is a rough-textured surface used frequently on granite floor tiles.
Types of Natural Stone
Ideal for foyers, bathrooms floors, and hearths.
Marble is found in the mountainous regions of Canada, Italy, Germany, Spain, the US, and other countries worldwide. Because of its beauty and elegance, marble is a popular choice for the countertops, floors, foyers, fireplace facings and hearths, walls and windowsills.
Marble adds a sophisticated element to your home, and its wonderful appearance, superior engineering characteristics, and ease of maintenance make it a natural choice for floors, wall coverings, table tops, and bathroom walls, floors, vanity tops, tub decks, and showers.
Marble should be cared for as you would a fine wood finish. Using coasters on table tops and cleaning up spills immediately will preserve marble’s natural beauty.
Another option for marble-loving homeowners is using another natural stone – serpentine – for kitchen counters. Sometimes called the “green” marble, serpentine is not a true marble but offers a marble-like look. And, because it is magnesium-silicate based, it is not sensitive to citric acid and other kitchen spills.
An excellent choice for kitchen countertops, floors, and other heavily used surfaces
Granite, quarried from the mountains of Italy, Brazil, the US, and dozens of other countries around the world, is one of the most popular natural stones on the market.
Available in a striking array of colors, granite’s durability and longevity make it ideal for kitchen countertops and other heavily used, including table tops and floors. While some synthetic surfaces scratch easily and melt under hot cookware, granite resists heat. Granite is also one of the most bacteria-resistant kitchen surfaces, and it’s not affected by citric acid, coffee, tea, alcohol, or wine. It is also nearly impossible to scratch, and with proper cleaning, will not stain under normal use (ask your professional contractor about sealants available to further improve resistance to staining).
A leading consumer magazine recently compared granite with engineered stone, ceramic tile, laminate, butcher block, and other manufactured surfaces. Granite received the highest overall performance rating as a kitchen countertop material.
Because of its exceptional strength, granite is well suited for exterior applications such as cladding, paving, and curbing.
Beautiful enhancements for your home, inside and out
Travertine, Limestone, sandstone, and slate are other examples of natural stone frequently used in residential applications.
Travertine is a type of limestone and one of the most popular natural stones for interior and exterior wall cladding, interior and exterior paving, statuary, and curbing.
Limestone is widely used as a building stone because it is readily available and easy to handle. Popular applications include countertops, flooring, interior and exterior wall cladding, and exterior paving.
Slate is a popular flooring material and sandstone and slate are often used for exterior paving stones, or pavers. Others slate applications include kitchen countertops, fireplace facings, table tops, and roofing. Sandstone is frequently used for fireplace facings, chimneys, garden walls, patio benches, and at poolside.