Guide to natural stone tiles

Natural stone tiles

Natural stone tiles are beautiful looking tiles, made from naturally occurring substances. They come in a wide range of colours and textures so are suitable for any home style and décor.

If you’re thinking of using natural stone floor tiles, it’s important that you understand which stone types are suitable for different locations in the home so that you choose the right kind.

The most popular types of natural stone tiles are:

Limestone is formed from sedimentary materials, such as seashells. Unlike some natural stone, it has little colour variation from tile to tile. Limestone tiles are warm and creamy white in appearance.

Travertine is a form of limestone ranging in colour from reddish browns, through to cream and beige tones. Travertine has a honeycomb structure with a lot of surface indentations. These can be filled with resin for a smooth surface or left unfilled for a textured surface.

Slate is formed from volcanic ash to produce a very durable stone in dark and earthy colours. It has a rustic appearance and is water resistant, unlike most other natural stones.

Marble has a classically luxurious look due to its crystal structure which gives an almost translucent appearance at the surface. Available in a variety of different colours typically with contrasting veining, a slip-resistant texture is possible with flaming for use in kitchens and bathrooms.

Granite is an igneous rock so one of the hardest stones and extremely durable. This beautiful natural stone is available in many colours.

There are a variety of finishes available with natural stone tiles:

  • Honed – the surface has been filled and ground smooth for a matt or satin finish. This process gives better scratch resistance and requires little maintenance.
  • Riven – the stone has been split by hand, so the faces of the tiles are irregular.
  • Polished – a layer of gloss has been added to give a high shine finish.
  • Flamed – a blowtorch has been used to explode the surface crystals and create a rough finish for a non-slip surface.
  • Brushed – the tile surface has been brushed with metal brushes to give a naturally worn look.
  • Tumbled – a tumbling machine is used to create a pitted surface and chipped edge that gives a raw, natural finish.

If you want to use stone in a high-traffic area, such as a kitchen or family bathroom, you’ll need a hard, dense stone that is nonporous, such as granite or slate.

Natural stone tiles, especially the softer, more porous stones, such as marble, limestone, and travertine, require regular sealing to protect them from dirt and stains and keep them looking beautiful for many years.

We have a broad range of natural stone tiles in our showroom as well as a selection of natural stone effect tiles, which look as good but are more resistant and lower maintenance. For help and advice choosing your natural stone tiles, pop into the showroom.


Image credit: Unicom Starker.

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