Natural stone tiles are one of the most beautiful types of materials that you can have in your home or your garden. There’s no doubt that natural stone is expensive (much more than any natural stone-effect porcelain or ceramic tiles) but will undoubtedly add real value and style to your home. But which types of natural stone are best for different uses in and around the home? Take a look at these different types and finishes so that you can make sure you choose the right materials whether it is for a kitchen worktop, for stunning floor tiles, bathroom wall tiles or even wet room tiles.
Travertine is a type of limestone with a honeycomb structure and a lot of surface indentations. These dents can be filled with resin for a smooth surface or left unfilled for a textured surface. If you are going for the filled type then make sure you check a sample of the batch that you will be getting. Some cheaper travertine tiles are often filled in a colour that is a poor match to the surrounding stone. Travertine colours range from pale creams to dark reddish browns.
Limestone is formed when seashells settle in sediment, which over time hardens to sedimentary rock – this means that fossilised shells are a typical feature of limestone tiles but they simply add to it’s charm and uniqueness. Colours range from palest ivory or cream to golden brown.
Granite is an igneous rock so is a very hard stone making it extremely durable; it comes in an enormous range of rich colours and is commonly used in the home for kitchen worktops as well as tiles for flooring. It’s exciting natural patterning is impossible to reproduce in ceramic or porcelain tiles so it is always obvious when the real thing has been installed. For many people there is simply no substitute for a granite worktop in the kitchen.
Marble is familiar to all of us from the ancient classical buildings of Rome and Greece and the many famous Italian sculptures. It comes in a variety of different colours typically with contrasting veining but the darker marbles are not suitable for wet areas because of their porosity.
Slate is composed of clay, quartz and shale and has a rustic appearance due to its natural layered look. Because it is water-resistant it is frequently used for floor tiles but is also used for roof tiles and patio tiles.
Natural Stone Finishes:
Polished for a glossy shine which may need regular maintenance to preserve the shine.
Honed for a matt or satin finish which is more resistant to scratching and needs little maintenance.
Acid-washed for an antique look which reveals the crystal structure within the stone and is highly scratch-resistant..
Flamed for a rough texture which is perfect where a non-slip surface is required – created by using a blowtorch on the stone until the surface crystals explode.
Tumbled for a smooth but slightly pitted surface with uneven edges for a raw, natural finish typically used for small tiles and decorative border tiles.
Brushed for a naturally worn look suitable for restoration work in old buildings- created by brushing the tile surface with metal brushes.