When selecting the perfect stone surface for your home, it’s important to look beyond the aesthetics and into the science behind the surface. Though many types of stone can look alike, each has its own character that can affect the way you use, care for and enjoy your new surface.
This stone is the hardest natural material available for countertops. It is primarily composed of quartz, feldspar, mica and various other minerals that fit tightly together. The quartz and feldspar range in color from pink to white, offering a background color that is punctuated by darker accessory minerals. This combination of minerals results in a product that is incredibly durable, scratch proof and burn proof — the only known materials that are harder than granite are diamonds, rubies and sapphires! Most commonly, granite is imported from Brazil, Italy, China and India.
Granite, an ingenious rock, is also very porous and may absorb fluids in a kitchen or bathroom. If you choose granite as your surface, be sure and ask about sealing and protecting this stone. Some granite countertops need to be sealed annually, while others can go 10-15 years without needing to be re-sealed.
Considered one of the most elegant stones, marble has been used in buildings since ancient times. For example, the original Parthenon (not Nashville’s version) is made of marble. This metamorphic rock is composed mostly of calcite, the crystalline form of calcium carbonate, and is characterized by “veining,” a design created by streams of materials that run through the stone. A majority of marble is sourced from Turkey, China and Italy.
Marble is a relatively hard stone but is susceptible to acid etching, staining and scratching over time. However, many consider this patina caused by use to add another layer of beauty and history to the stone.
This stone is a sedimentary rock composed of calcite and aragonite that is formed when calcium sediments and organic material compact overtime. Limestone is one of the most common types of stone and is a hard and durable choice for any surface in your home. Its unique, random design comes from fossils that have been compressed into the stone over thousands of years.
Limestone is a softer stone that scratches easily and absorbs liquids. It should be professionally sealed at least once a year to prevent marks and staining.
Travertine is a form of limestone created by deposits from mineral springs. It is one of the most popular stones on the market today due to its unique, swirled design and durability. Small cavities, created by escaped natural gas, add to this stone’s distinctive look.
Another characteristic that makes travertine unique is that the same block of stone can be cut multiple ways to create different designs. When cut perpendicular, the stone shoes a vein pattern, while a crosscut reveals cloud-like patterns with earthy color variants. Travertine, like limestone, is a soft stone that should be treated with care.
Photo Credit: Beckwith Interiors
Natural stone is a beautiful and durable way to update your home, but it’s not the only option. Quartz is an engineered stone that is made from a high concentration of quartz crystals. This type of stone has a similar look to granite but can be easily customized to fit your design needs. Solid Surface is another manufactured option that offers a range of colors and textiles that are easy to maintain in high traffic areas. The nonporous surfaces can be thermoformed into any shape.