NATURAL BEAUTY & ALLURE
Natural stone has a long history of use in construction, providing people with beautiful and durable building materials. The natural stones used extensively in construction today include marble, limestone, travertine, granite, and slate. While all have the natural beauty and allure of nature, each type of stone has advantages and disadvantages which determine its best use.
The use of marble and travertine for flooring dates back thousands of years. The original city of Rome, Italy, was built from marble and travertine that was quarried in blocks in the hills and rolled down to the city on logs to be cut into building blocks and tiles. If you go to Rome today you will see buildings, walls, floors, sidewalks, and curbs made from marble and travertine that have stood the test of thousands of years of wear. Across the world today people still love the beauty and durability that natural stone provides.
Today the use of travertine tiles is the fastest growing segment of the flooring industry. In the past, polished granite and marble graced the floors of the wealthy, but the use of polished stone has decreased in recent years because homeowners are increasingly looking for the less formal look of travertine for their homes. Travertine is also more affordable than the marbles and granites, which has added to its popularity.
Like granite and marble, travertine is available in both slabs and tiles. Travertine slabs are mainly used for countertops in bathrooms. The main uses for travertine tiles include flooring, shower enclosures, and backsplashes for kitchen and bath cabinets.
Marble is a timeless material that has been in use for thousands of years. We stock a large selection of White Carrara in all tile sizes in addition to mosaics in both polished and honed.
Smooth but unpolished travertine is called “honed.” Honed travertine is set with a very small grout line in a rectangular or diamond pattern. Many people prefer this contemporary look, particularly when a more formal look is desired for the home. Travertine can be polished but only the densest travertines look good when polished. Honed travertines are available in the sizes of 12" x 12" and 18" x 18". Sometimes travertine is available in 16" x 16" and 24" x 24" but the selection in this size is extremely limited. The most common size used for floor applications is 18" x 18" which can be laid diagonally for a more elegant look.
Tumbled travertine is manufactured by putting the tiles into a water, sand, and gravel mix and then vibrated or tumbled. This process abrades the face and edges of the stone making it look like it has been in use for thousands of years. Tumbled travertine is available in smaller sizes, like 4” x 4”, 6” x 6”, and 3” x 6”, which are usually used for backsplashes and shower walls. Smaller sizes are generally available on a 12” X 12” mesh and include: 5/8” x 5/8”, 1” x 1”, and 2” x 2”. Tumbled travertines are also available in 12” x 12” and 18” x 18”. Rarely it’s possible to find 16” x 16”, 24” x 24”, and 4-piece Versailles pattern.
The most popular look in travertine today is the 4-Piece Versailles pattern which is composed of pieces of four sizes: 8" x 8", 8" x 16", 16" x 16", and 16" x 24". These are assembled into a pleasing pattern which is ideal to achieve a less formal look to a home. Many of the Versailles pattern floors are wire-brushed to accomplish an ancient look like tumbled stone. Generally wire-brushed stone is also given a chiseled edge to complete the ancient look.
Quartzite is a hard, non-foliated metamorphic rock which was originally pure quartz sandstone. Sandstone is converted into quartzite through heating and pressure usually related to tectonic compression within orogenic belts. Pure quartzite is usually white to grey, though quartzites often occur in various shades of pink and red due to varying amounts of iron oxide. Other colors, such as yellow, green, blue and orange, are due to other minerals. Most colors are available in 12" x 12", 16" x 16", and 24" x 24". A few colors are available in a 4-Piece Versailles Pattern.
Slate is a stone that is often used outside because of its rougher, more natural texture. It is also used inside to give a more natural feel to a room. In general, it has higher variations and darker colors than travertine. Most colors are available in 12" x 12", 16" x 16", and 24" x 24". A few colors are available in a 4-Piece Versailles Pattern.
Granite is the hardest of the stones which makes it perfect for applications which undergo heavy use. The most popular place you’ll see granite in the home is on kitchen countertops. Polished granite slabs have the beauty to enhance the look of any kitchen and the durability remain beautiful through many years of wear. Granite is also used extensively for floors and walls in high-traffic commercial buildings. Granite is sometimes used for flooring in homes, but its use has declined in recent years as styles have shifted toward unpolished flooring with more neutral earth-tone colors.