Natural stone tile is produced from natural materials that are quarried, slabbed, finished, and cut to size. Common types of stone used as flooring tile include granite, marble, limestone (including travertine), and slate. Among these types of natural stone are thousands of varieties with characteristics that depend on where and when the stone was quarried.
Granite is a type of igneous rock that is very dense and hard. Its distinctive appearance is due speckled minerals found within the rock, its unique veining, and the thousands of available colors. Granite is nearly impervious and, once it is polished, resists scratching. It is an excellent choice for flooring in kitchens and high-traffic areas.
Marble is a type of metamorphic rock that has rich veining and is available in a variety of colors. Marble is more porous than granite and is not recommended for kitchen flooring unless honed and then sealed on a regular basis.
Limestone is a type of sedimentary rock that offers an earthy appearance in both light and dark shades. The surface can be textured or polished smooth. Limestone is less dense than granite and marble. It can be easily stained and is also prone to scratching. It is not recommended for kitchen or high-traffic flooring applications.
Travertine is a type of limestone that offers an unusual crystallized appearance with an earthy tone. Travertine is a soft, porous stone with a natural surface that has pitting or divots. A honed or polished surface can be achieved after filling the surface voids. Travertine is not recommended for kitchen floors, as it can be easily scratched and stained. Special care and surface sealing is required to maintain travertine.
Slate is a type of metamorphic rock that is extremely dense and very durable. Slate is available in darker earthy tones. The surface of slate is naturally textured unless a smooth, honed finish is achieved. Slate is an excellent choice for kitchen and high-traffic area flooring.