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Stone Buying Guide Floor Types

Stone Flooring Buying Basics

The different types of stone that are cut from quarries and used for flooring vary greatly in their natural color, design, texture and other unique characteristics. There are also a number of distinct finishes that can be applied to your stone flooring.

Stone Types

Slate

Slate is a sedimentary rock comprised of quartz and shale and is available in a wide assortment of natural colors. It is made up of layers which furnish this stone with excellent water and stain resistance. Be aware that slate is prone to flaking and minor chipping of the thin layers if not sealed properly.

Sandstone

Sandstone is a quartz–based stone featuring a rough, textured surface. Many varieties, each with its own color range, are available.

Marble

Marble flooring is characterized by it's distinctive veined surface. Marble is easy to polish but it is highly susceptible to scratching. Due to its sensitivity to acids, a tumbled finish in kitchens or bathrooms is best.

Travertine

Travertine floors feature a textured, porous surface that can be polished, honed or left alone to show the natural, rugged texture of ridges, pits and waves. Because its natural texture is so varied, no two pieces will be alike, creating a truly unique floor in any home. Travertine is sensitive to acids and can be slippery when wet. Travertine is available in a wide range of colors.

Limestone

Limestone floors are composed of mostly calcite, which contains sediment such as shells and coral. Limestone commonly comes in a variety of earth–toned colors. This stone is sensitive to acidic liquids.

Granite

An incredibly hard natural stone, granite is made up of a variety of minerals including quartz; which contributes to this stone's hardness. Dense, scratch–resistant granite flooring is available in many different varieties, each with their own color range.

Manufactured stone

Also known as agglomerate stone, manufactured stone imitates the look of natural stone floors at a lower price. It is comprised of stone chips combined with epoxy resins, polyester, or cement.

Flagstone

Outdoor–friendly flagstone is a quartz–based, sedimentary stone cut into very thin slabs; flagstone is often used in patios and walkways.

Onyx

Onyx is a form of quartz and produces some of the most elegant flooring. Onyx comes in many colors of the rainbow.

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Finishes

Polished

This finishing technique brings out the beauty of stone floors by reflecting their natural crystals for a mirror shine. Limestone, marble, onyx, travertine and granite floors are commonly polished.

Honed

This is the step before polishing, leaving the stone with a matte appearance. This finish shows fewer scratches and is easy to maintain. Slate, marble, and limestone are well suited for this type of finish.

Acid–washed

Etched with small marks and pits, acid–washed floors bring a rustic look to a home and are often seen on limestone, marble, and granite floors.

Saw–cut refined

Not a common finish, saw–cut refining involves processing stone to remove saw marks, but stopping before a honed finish is achieved.

Flamed

Stone floors with flamed finishing are heated to an extremely high temperature, and then quickly cooled. This process produces a rough texture from the chipped, popped stone surface. This finish is commonly used to make granite floors slip resistant.

Split–faced

vPrimarily seen in slate flooring, split–faced produces an uneven coarse finished stone. This finish can be produced mechanically or by hand.

Tumbled

This finish comes from tiles being tumbled in a machine, leaving a slightly pitted or smooth surface with rounded edges and corners. Marble and limestone floors are most often given a tumbled finish.

Brushed

Brushed stone floors are given a naturally worn appearance. Brushed floors have a smooth matte finish with a slightly dimpled texture.

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