Stone 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.
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 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 and 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 business.
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 long time.
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.