Types of Stone Tile Flooring

Travertine tile around tub and shower
Photo of travertine tile by Sitka Projects LLC/Flickr.

Natural stone is a popular choice for both indoor and outdoor tiling, because it provides a durable surface with a timeless, elegant aesthetic. Unlike ceramic or other manufactured products, stone tile flooring will differ from piece to piece. This natural variability is what gives stone tile flooring such an organic, earthy feel.

When it comes to picking a style, there’s an option for every occasion. The following are the most common forms of stone tile flooring:

Slate is a grey colored metamorphic rock with a subtle, fine grain. It’s especially durable and thus appropriate for both indoor and outdoor use. However, slate is very porous and requires frequent resealing. Slate should not be used in areas where water or grease may concentrate.

Travertine is a sedimentary rock that forms under riverbeds, giving it a uniquely textured surface. It’s patterned appearance ranges in color from whites and creams to deep earthy tones. Although it’s quite porous and requires upkeep, travertine is appropriate for both interior and exterior surfaces including walls and counter tops. However, travertine is weekly reactive to acidic substances, and thus is ill-suited for kitchen countertops.

Limestone is a calciferous stone similar to travertine, but it’s much harder and therefore much more durable. Limestone is banded and striated, giving it an almost wood-like look in myriad shades of brown and beige. Because it’s also a sedimentary rock, limestone is very porous and thus water-absorbent, so you may not want to use it outdoors.

Sandstone is a metamorphic rock, much like slate. The color of sandstone – a red-tinted tan – is much more uniform than with the other natural stone tile flooring. This leaves sandstone with less color options, but makes for a more monotone appearance, which may appeal to some. Sandstone is very durable and is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

Marble is beautiful and has always been associated with elegance and opulence. It comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns, shapes and sizes. Marble is hard, another metamorphic stone, but it’s also prone to staining and scratching. Marble can also soak up water very easily, so it’s not a good candidate for outdoor use.

Granite is a gorgeous igneous rock, with color ranging from mottled cream all the way to inky black. Granite is also the very hardest natural stone available, making it an excellent choice for countertops and other work surfaces. Granite is resilient – it can be used for both interior and exterior applications.

See? Truly, there’s a type of stone tile flooring to fit any and every bill. Find a professional tile contractor and get your stone tile started.

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