Natural stone tiles are not only beautiful and durable, but also act as a symbol of status. Unlike most antiquated construction materials, natural stones have never lost their popularity even after serving as a construction material of choice for thousands of years. This old type of material still suits and fits into contemporary household trends and designs. Installing natural stone surfaces on your commercial or residential property can foster unparalleled beauty and elegance to your indoor ambiance and a lasting impression upon all that use these spaces. Natural stones can be used on various surfaces such as floors, walls, bathtubs, and countertops among many others.

Types of natural stones

There are different types of natural stones. These include marble, granite, limestone, travertine, quartzite, slate, sandstone, and basalt among many others. Therefore, before settling on any of these materials, you need to research them and choose one that best suits your tastes and preferences.   

Factors to consider when selecting natural stone tiles for your bathroom   

Aesthetic appeal and finish styles

The style and looks you desire for your bathroom is of great importance to the final appeal of your home’s décor. If you are a person that prefers a bathroom with a colorful theme, then you will most probably go for natural stones such as slate, which have a rich color scheme consisting of shades of purple, green, and grey. You may also choose limestone tiles as they can be easily stained or tinted into different colors. If you love patterned tiles, then you should perhaps opt for natural stones with veining such as marble, which consists of colorful swirls.

On the other hand, granite provides a pebbled look and flecks of varying colorations that add to its beauty. These varying looks in color and patterns create different ambient feelings that influence personal preferences. The finishes on natural stones may also influence your choice depending on your preferences and perception of beauty. Natural stones may have a glossy and polished finish, a honed finish, an antiquated or brushed surface, a flamed finish, a sandblasted finish, or even a leathered finish. All these finishes are ideal for different places.

For instance, a polished and glossy finish is perfect for indoor countertops and tabletops. On the other hand, an antiquated or honed natural stone finish works best in outdoor spaces where natural stone flooring may be done on patios, saunas, and pool peripheries.     

Durability

It is rather obvious that some natural stones are more durable than others. For instance, marble can easily chip, crack, or break. This makes it less durable compared to granite, which is tougher and scratch resistant. Therefore, if you are thinking of flooring a bathroom or public shower area that experiences high human traffic, you may have to go for granite tiles instead or marble tiles.   

Cost

The cost of stone tiles varies depending on their durability, finishes, grade, thickness, hardness, and visual appeal. The choice you make will depend on your budget as well as personal needs and preferences.   

Maintenance

Some natural stone tiles such as those made from limestone require more maintenance in order to retain their visual appeal and durability. For instance, limestone tiles are highly porous and tend to absorb lots of water. Therefore, you have to always ensure they are well-polished with any compound that will seal them, and make the tiles impervious.  Alternatively, you may opt for less porous tiles made from materials such as quartzite.

Practicality

You have to consider the following practical factors, which determine the suitability of specific natural stone tiles:

The grade of the natural stone

The grade of any natural stone shows its structural quality based on the analysis of imperfections such as fissures and pits. High-grade natural stone tiles are ideal as they are more resistant to chipping and scratches.

The hardness of the stone

Hard and tough stones resist abrasion and chipping. Whereas, soft stones are susceptible to chipping, dents, and scratches. Therefore, it’s often ideal to go for tougher stones in order to get greater durability and value for your money.

The thickness of the slab

Thick stone slabs of up to three cm are more durable and they can be installed with ease. Therefore, they are commonly installed in most parts of the home with high traffic and activities such as the kitchen. On the other hand, thinner slabs of two cm or less are used to provide varied design options ideal for decorative purposes. These are some of the most essential factors to always keep in mind when shopping for natural stone tiles. Factoring in all these considerations, as well as personal needs and preferences, can help you in making a better decision.

Some of the natural stone tiles available on the market include:  

Marble

Marble is a metamorphic rock which has always been linked to royalty, luxury and wealth. It’s made up primarily of the natural stone calcite. This beautiful natural stone is formed at convergent plate boundaries in areas where the Earth experiences metamorphism.  

Properties

Marble is often made into either crushed stone or dimension stone. It’s a light type of natural stone that turns white when combined with Limestone. It is fairly soft and very easy to use to create countertops, vanities or flooring.

Application

Marble is an ideal stone for bathroom countertops and floors or wall cladding and mantelpieces once it’s polished.    

Positives of Marble

Marble is a visually appealing material with natural beauty in its veining. It’s a soft natural stone and is therefore very easy to work with. In addition, it’s affordable and less pricey than a stone such as Granite. Also, it’s extremely resistant to any chips or damages. In addition, if you love baking or are consistently placing hot items on your countertop, then Marble is a great choice for you. This natural stone is heat resistant and naturally has a cool temperature. This gorgeous stone can last a long time without any damage due to its longevity.

Negatives of Marble

The surface of marble stone finishes can get easily stained, scratched, and marred by sharp objects. Marble is highly porous and therefore requires a sealing or coating to reduce porosity and add to its shiny visual appeal.    

Granite

Granite is derived from igneous rocks. This natural stone has a granular texture and it has different shades of colors. It’s made up primarily of quartz and feldspar as well as a variety of minerals. Granite forms from the crystallization of magma located underneath the Earth. It’s the most popular igneous rock since its commonly used in people’s homes.

Properties

Granite is a durable and long-lasting material, which is also resistant to acidic liquids and cleaning detergents as well as cosmetics and liquid soaps. The material is extremely hard and less susceptible to chipping and cracking like marble. It’s able to sustain heavy objects without any damage. Granite also has beautiful natural veining and poor heat conduction, which makes it ideal for use as a kitchen countertop material or as a bathroom vanity.

Application

Granite is ideal for use as kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities, fireplaces, walls, and flooring.  

Positives of Granite

Granite is extremely strong and less likely to have any cracks or chips on it than a natural stone, such as Marble. In addition, when sealed it becomes impervious to water and even more durable.

Negatives of Granite

Some drawbacks about Granite are that it’s very pricey. Also, it needs to be regularly sealed to stay in gorgeous and pristine condition. In addition, it’s becoming much more common in households so it no longer is viewed as very unique or original.

Limestone

Limestone is a durable and resilient sedimentary rock which comes in a variety of colors. It’s often formed in shallow marine waters or can be created by the precipitation of calcium carbonate from a lake or ocean. When it’s created by the precipitation of calcium carbonate from a lake or ocean it’s considered a chemical sedimentary rock.

Properties

Limestone is porous and it easily absorbs water. As such, tiles made from limestone should have proper sealing by an impervious and durable coat.   Limestone is often crushed and used as a countertop material. It’s a strong rock which makes it ideal for flooring.

Application:

Limestone tiles are ideal for paving different outdoor spaces, and they can also serve as wall cladding. When properly sealed, they provide perfect flooring material for bathrooms. (They don’t get stained or eroded by absorbed water.)  

Positives of Limestone

Limestone is durable and resilient in nature and comes in a wide variety of colors. Also, Limestone tiles are large and can be used to foster an illusion of spacious bathrooms. Homeowners can increase the resale value of their home by adding Limestone to it.

Negatives of Limestone

Limestone requires regular maintenance and sealing since it can easily absorb liquid.  Also, it is relatively heavy and can be expensive to install in your home.

Travertine

Travertine is a sedimentary natural stone and a sub-type of limestone commonly found in deposits, which mainly occur within hot mineral springs. This kind of natural stone has a structure, which is spongy in nature. It is commonly associated with Roman baths, and this makes it an ideal choice for bathrooms.   

Properties of Travertine

Travertine is a natural stone created from geothermally heated hot springs. It’s a type of Limestone the is created by precipitation of calcium carbonate. It’s extremely durable making it a wonderful stone for buildings.

Application:

Travertine is perfect for patios, courtyards and pathways for gardens. Also, it can be used for shower tiles, bathroom floors, bathtub edges, moldings and sinks.   

Positives of Travertine

Travertine is stunning and very durable, which can increase your home’s value.  It comes in varying colors and textures. Also, it’s affordable and less expensive than Granite or Marble. In addition, if you’re very concerned about the environment, this natural stone is eco-friendly.   

Negatives of Travertine

It is highly porous and therefore can be honed and filled to give it a refined feel and look before it is sealed to reduce porosity. This type of natural stone requires regular care and maintenance to keep it looking beautiful. Also, it reacts negatively to any acidic substances, such as coffee, orange juice, etc. If you or a guest spills an acidic liquid on the Travertine stone, it’s likely to develop into a permanent stain.

Slate

Slate is a natural stone derived from metamorphic rocks. It’s very durable, acid-resistant and non-absorptive. This stone was created in North America and comes in various shades and colors.

Properties

Slate tiles can add great beauty to your home as flooring since it comes in a variety of colors, which include purple, green, and dark grey to light grey shades. The tiles are long-lasting and can be used for both indoors and outdoors.   

Applications:

Slate can be used as a flooring material for kitchens and bathrooms, as outdoor pavers, pool coping, shower enclosure and as a roof covering.

Positives of Slate

Slate tiles are not only fashionable but also resistant to wear and tear. They can withstand a lot of pressure without cracking. Slate comes in a variety of colors e.g. green, purple, and grey. The rough and contoured texture of slate makes it slip resistant. It is therefore ideal in wet areas such as the bathroom floors.

Negatives of Slate

Slate can end up cracking if an extremely large object is placed on it. In addition, it can peel since it’s formed in layers. Therefore, regular care is important to keep the floor looking attractive. Also, it’s considered one of the most expensive types of natural stone and may not be a reasonable choice for many homeowners.

Quartzite

Quartzite is among one of the hardest natural stones that can be used for various construction purposes. It originally starts out as Sandstone and then through extreme heating and pressure, it’s formed into Quartzite. The stone material has sparkling and shiny portions on its surface which are made from quartz granules.   

Properties

Quartzite is an extremely tough and hard natural stone. It’s a metamorphic rock made up entirely of quartz. It’s often grey or white in appearance. It’s usually formed in mountain ranges.

Applications

It’s ideal for outdoor or poolside shower floors and bathtubs.

Positives of Quartzite

Quartzite is often confused with Marble due to its appearance. It has stunning colors and designs. It can withstand a lot of pressure without any damage and has a rustic and sparkling finish. It requires minimal maintenance to keep it looking gorgeous. In addition, it’s UV-light resistant.

Negatives of Quartzite

The downsides of Quartzite are that it’s very expensive since it’s viewed as a more unique stone than Granite. In addition, it can be easily damaged by sharp objects or any type of acidic liquids. Also, it requires regular maintenance to keep it looking ideal, such as refinishing it once a year.

Sandstone

Sandstone is a natural stone made up sediment. It’s comprised of sand-size grains of mineral, rock or types of organic material. This is one of the most popular types of sedimentary rock. Tiles derived from this stone have variegated shades of colors and a natural cleft surface. This rock is often formed from sand grains in the sea, desert dunes or rivers.

Properties

Sandstone has rich color shades and striated patterns. The tiles derived from this natural stone have a weathered look; hence they are ideal for different outdoor uses and decorative purposes. This type of natural stone is also fairly porous and durable. Therefore, it’s commonly used in high-traffic areas of the home.

Applications

Sandstone is perfect for flooring and countertops for bathrooms and kitchens. It’s also ideal for hallways, fireplace surrounds and outdoor kitchens or pathways.

Positives of Sandstone

Sandstone tiles are original and stand out for their unique style. Also, they are hard and less susceptible to chipping, breaking, or scratching. This makes them more durable than other natural stone tiles such as Marble.  If you’re passionate about protecting the environment, then this natural stone is wonderful since it’s eco-friendly.

Negatives of Sandstone

Since Sandstone is a porous material it can easily get damaged from water. Therefore, it needs to be sealed regularly to keep its gorgeous appearance. If you have Sandstone as flooring in your home, it’s important to note that it can be slippery when it’s wet. Also, this type of natural stone is more prone to wear and tear than other stones. It doesn’t age as well as other natural stones even when it receives proper care and maintenance.

Onyx

Onyx is a fragile sedimentary rock that’s composed in springs. This stone has a very original look due to its formation process of calcite crystals. It can also be formed in caves and other areas that are susceptible to spring water.  

Properties

Onyx is translucent in nature, and it comes with rich yet gentle color variations and shades such as warm honey, black, green, white, red, and brown.  It often stands out due to its wide array of colors and its unparalleled beauty from natural materials. Onyx has a soft surface that gets easily scratched when used in high traffic areas.   

Applications

Onyx is ideal for light duty floors, fireplace surrounds, bar countertops, bathroom vanities, backsplashes, or accent tiles.

Positives of Onyx

Onyx’s veining and striated color patterns marked by varying color shades increase its visual appeal. Also, it’s desirable since it’s not as common as natural stones, such as Marble and Granite. This stone thrives in areas that have a small amount of use. It can last a long amount of time when it’s taken care of properly.

Negatives of Onyx

Onyx is fragile and susceptible to quick damage. Due to the fragile nature of the stone, fiberglass reinforcement is often necessary to improve its durability. The need for reinforcement also imposes a size limit on the slabs that can be made. Also, this stone is very susceptible to stains and damage if it’s not taken care of properly. In addition, Onyx is expensive due to its rareness and is not great for people who have a limited budget.

It is arguably true that natural stone tiles are perfect for bathrooms and kitchens because of their durability, quality, texture, and colors. These natural stone tiles increase the sense of luxury and visual appeal of your bathrooms and kitchens more than ordinary tiles. However, before choosing a stone it’s best to do some research on the perfect stone for your budget and lifestyle.

Some of these stone tiles may be hard and tough, but on the other hand, some are easily scratched, stained, or broken. With proper care, most natural stone tiles can serve you for an inordinate length of time. Whichever stone tiles you select for your home, it is prudent to always seal them in order to protect them from harsh elements and enhance their durability and natural appeal. Finally, it is also wise to always seek professional advice from industry experts before making a purchase.

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