Natural stone is a product of nature, in that no two stone tiles are exactly alike. Stone is a natural solid formation of one or many minerals formed over millions of years through preassure. As the Earth's crust began to expand and erode, heat and pressure pushed the solid minerals up to the Earth's surface, which formed colossal rock beds. There are thousand types of stone that have been quarried thought the centuries. Quarries are located all around the world. A majority of natural stone comes from Italy, Spain, Turkey, United States, Mexico, china, Taiwan, India, Greece, canada, France, and Brazil. The familiar stone types that are used today are identified through four categories
Marble tile is a natural stone material that is millions of years old. Marble is a nonfoliated metamorphic rock resulting from the metamorphism of limestone. Marble, long recognized as the most versatile choice in home décor. Marble is clean and easily maintained with unlimited workability allowing for a varied range of patterns and a multitude of colors with some type of veining running through it. The veins are usually different in color than the main color of the stone. Marble Marble is relatively soft when compared to other stones such as granite. It will scratch very easily and is also very sensitive to acidic chemicals. Marble is used to produce magnificent tile floors, kitchen Countertops, Marble Bathroom Vanities, Tile Floors, Marble Wall Tile and even columns.
Travertine is a type of limestone but differs in that it formed in a hot springs called karst. The sulphur content in the karst erodes the travertine creating holes in the stone. These holes are often filled with synthetic resins or cements that usually do not polish very well which often causes polished travertine to look inconsistent in appearance. Travertine tile is a natural material that has unique features that no other stone can offer and is commonly found in earth tones ranging from almost white and pale ivory to rich shades of red and brown, but can also be found in silver and reds. The distinctive design of Travertine creates some of the most distinguished floor tiles. Travertine is ideal for commercial and residential use. It can be used for floor tile, kitchen, bathroom wall tile, bathroom floor tile and more.
Granite tile is a perfect choice for hard surface applications where durability and low maintenance is important, such as tiles for kitchen countertops, high traffic floors and tile flooring for commercial applications. Granite is chiefly composed of 30% Quartz and 60% Feldspar. These minerals are much harder than the calcite of marbles and for this reason granite will not scratch as easily as marble. Granite is very resistant to most acids and will not etch nor leave a dull spot on the surface, as marble does. Granite is probably one of the most popular type of natural stone that is used for counter tops, floors, sinks and showers. Its smooth polish brings a classically elegant feel to your home.
Slate offers both indoor and outdoor applications with rustic earthy look and feel with vivid dark colors and lots of variation, most commonly gray in color, although you may find green, yellow, and red hues.. Slate is an excellent combination of durability and sustained beauty with distinctive surfaces, ease of installation, workability, and its natural slip-resistance. Slate is a great choice for many surfaces around the house including stair treads, wall cladding, fireplaces, flooring entryways, hallways, bathrooms, kitchens, patios, and other spaces. Slate floor tiles are available in many surface finishes, textures and colors. Slate flooring is typically more affordable then other stone tile flooring, making it a popular choice for homeowners.
Limestone tile is a natural material that is millions of years old. Limestone reveals little graining or crystalline texture, giving it a smooth, honed, granular surface or polished look. Limestone contains lime from sea water, making it a very popular choice with its fine selection of earth-tone colors suitable for a wide range of environments. Limestones are made of calcite from shells, coral and other debris. They are known as sedimentary rocks, because they are formed by the breakdown of other rocks, shells, etc. Limestones are usually loosely held together and may differ in porosity from marble. The course grain of some limestones give it excellent durability. Limestone is used to produce magnificent Kitchen Countertops, Limestone Bathroom Vanities, Tile Floors, Limestone Wall Tile and even columns.
Ceramic and Porcelain
Ceramic tiles are hard, brittle, heat-resistant products that are manufactured by firing clay and other materials. Ceramic Tile is strong, durable, long lasting, easy to clean and does not absorb odors. Standard uses for ceramic tiles are in bathroom showers or kitchen and bathroom floors. Today's ceramic tile is greatly different then years past because of the gigantic range of colors, styles, textures, and looks available. Ceramic and Porcelain Tiles also come in various sizes for most applications. Typically, the cost is less expensive than natural stone and the color range is consistent and predictable due to the man-made nature of the product.
Terracotta, from the Italian “terra” (earth) and “cotta” (cooked) means just that...cooked earth! Terracotta refers to any bisque, pot, paver, etc. that is made out of natural clay and is fired in a kiln. Terra cotta tile is made from raw clay and is usually unglazed. Terra Cotta tile has been used for many years as a durable floor tile surface. Terra cotta tiles offer an informal and somewhat rustic or even southwestern feel. The colors range from natural earthtones such as gray and brownish yellow to various shades of red. Terra Cotta is perfect for many uses such as kitchen tile, bathroom tile, patio tile and even for pool decks. It is reccommended that a dealer is used when used near sources of water.