takes millions of years to create. Formed naturally, it is a
material that is unique and beautiful. Whether it is a slate
from China or a limestone from Jerusalem, you are sure to be
able to bring the comfort of the outdoors inside your home with
natural stone. Select from granite, marble, travertine, limestone,
onyx, and slate. Whichever stone you choose, make it one that
you are drawn to. This can be because of its appearance (sleek,
polished marble to rustic multi-colored slate) or because of
the country the stone comes from. And, remember that stone is
a product of nature and therefore no two pieces will be alike.
That's part of the beauty of this product.
Uses and Applications
Natural stone can be used in several different applications
much like ceramic tile - floors, countertops, backsplashes,
showers, tubs, fireplace surrounds. It is also a great choice
for exterior uses such as porches and pool areas because of
the textures and finishes that are available. Unlike ceramic,
stone is available in slabs for countertops, wall cladding,
and stairs. There are also amazing medallions and mosaics made
of stone. No need to worry about your style, stone can be used
in traditional or contemporary design.
Granite is an igneous rock formed by volcanic material. The
minerals it contains are primarily quartz and feldspar. Granite
is a fantastic choice for kitchen countertops as it is scratch-resistant,
heatproof (put your pots and pans right on it!), waterproof
and, once it is sealed, stain-resistant. It is also a great
choice for exterior cladding as it does not fade as much as
marble. It is available in several colors and looks. Beige,
blue, green, pink, speckles, swirls...the options seem endless.
And, if slab material is more than your budget allows, a lot
of the granites are available in tiles. These can be used just
like any polished tile or as a bold decorative accent. Be sure
to select all of your material at the same time as granite will
vary from piece to piece in coloration and veining.
Probably what comes to mind when thinking about marble is
the classy, luxurious grand palace that is done in a polished
marble. How stunning that look can be when in your own foyer,
dining room, living room, or bathrooms! Marble is not highly
recommended as a kitchen countertop because of its porosity,
but it makes a beautiful bathroom vanity top and tub surround.
Use polished marble for more formal areas that you want to dazzle
visitors with and that will not be receiving as much foot traffic.
Marble is also available in a variety of colors and finishes.
The most common finish other than polished is tumbled marble.
It is often used as a material for shower pans, kitchen backsplashes,
edging on steps, and for mosaics and listellos. Tumbled marble
can give you a casual cottage look when combined with similar
materials, but if combined with different materials, you can
create your own style and appearance. Be adventurous and try
it with glass, metal, granite...anything!
Travertine and Limestone
Travertine and limestone have been used for building since
the ancient days of Egypt. These stones are calcium based and
tend to be colors that blend with natural surroundings. Both
materials can be polished, but are usually found honed (the
surface is buffed to a smooth, unpolished finish) or antiqued
(mostly smooth finish with a worn appearance). Travertine and
limestone are ideal for main floors as they come in larger sizes
and the neutral colors necessary to add value to your home.
However, they should not be limited to just flooring. Use travertine
and limestone for shower walls, tub surrounds, countertops,
fireplace surrounds, exterior cladding, and pool decks. Look
at all of the finishes available to find what will suit your
needs for a particular area.
What a beautiful, fascinating material! Onyx is another calcium
based material; however, it has an almost translucent quality.
Generally found in honey, green, red, and multi-colored, onyx
is a stone that is quite unique. Its uses are much like that
of polished marble and it is most often seen as vanity tops.
Onyx is sure to wow anyone that enters your home or place of
Slate is a sedimentary stone that provides a warm, cozy feeling
in the home. It is available in a wide range of colors including
grayish-black, green, tan, violet, red, and several variations
of these colors. Slate is typically dense and soft, making it
a comfortable floor to walk on. As slate is typically found
clefted, it makes a good slip-resistant material - pool areas,
porches, shower pans, bathroom floors, etc. This natural stone
is a great choice as an affordable material that will last a
Purchasing Your Stone
Wow! What an experience you have had selecting your stone!
Now let's get it ordered so that you can begin to enjoy it in
your home. Your square footage will have to be measured for
the floor or dimensions taken for your countertop. For your
floor, there will be a waste factor of usually 12-15%, depending
on which stone and what pattern is to be used. Expect your installation
cost to be more than ceramic tile as stone installations are
more difficult. For your countertops, a lot of little details
will need to be answered such as: What type of edge do you want?
How many outlets are there and exactly where are they? What
size and type of sink do you have? What size is your cooktop?
Don't panic! Someone will come to your home to do a template
for the counter and can get some of these answers then or from
your builder. Make sure you purchase a stone sealer to be applied
after installation. This will help to protect your stone and
keep it looking new.