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Natural Stone Tiles: 3 Things You Should Know

Natural stone tiles provide a luxurious look and offer texture that immediately gives depth to any design. Before you begin your home-improvement project, there are three important things you should know about the stone you select. The more you know before choosing a stone, the better it will fit into your space and the longer it will last in your home.

Types of Natural Stone Tiles

Stone tiles are made from a variety of stone types, and each type has its own distinct characteristics. Different stones offer different looks, and that tends to be where many homeowners put their focus. Remember to also consider characteristics, such as durability, of different stone types as well.

  • Granite: Natural granite is beautiful and long-lasting. Formed from igneous rock, granite has a very distinct look: It's not a solid color and often has veins running through it. Granite is known for its hardness and resistance to acids found in food and cleaning products, making it a welcome addition to any space.

  • Marble: One of the most distinct natural stone types is marble. Formed from metamorphic rock as a result of tremendous heat and pressure, marble is known for its characteristically large veins and comes in a multitude of colors. Marble can be sealed with a silicone-based impregnator to prevent scratches or damage from acidic cleaning products. Marble looks great anywhere in the home but requires some special care.

  • Limestone: Natural limestone is a lightweight stone that's rich in color. Formed from sedimentary rock, its granular composition lends itself to varying degrees of hardness. Limestone can be protected with a silicone-based impregnator to ensure its natural good looks last for years to come. With proper maintenance, limestone tile performs well in high-traffic areas.

  • Quartzite: Quartzite tile, formed from the metamorphosis of sandstone, is composed of more than 90 percent quartz. It has a textured, pale color that complements most decor. Quartzite is known for being hard and scratch-resistant, so—with the proper care—it does well in heavily trafficked areas, like in the kitchen and bathroom.

  • Travertine: The characteristically spongy texture of travertine stone is reminiscent of ancient Roman baths. Formed from sedimentary rock, travertine is known for its holes—which can be filled or left natural—and its beige or ivory color. Travertine is durable enough for most applications but should be sealed and maintained appropriately.

How to Care for Stone Tiles

Natural stone tile adds beauty and elegance to any home. Because stone is such a durable material, and it's known to stand the test of time, it's easy for homeowners to forget that it's not impervious to damage. Stone tile should be sealed regularly—once a year—to protect it from stains, water, and damage.

Check the seal on your tile regularly. You'll know the tile is properly sealed when water beads form on the tile, rather than sinking right into it.

Size Options and Special Decorative Details

Natural stone tile is available in a bunch of different options. Because tiles can be cut, you have a lot of freedom when it comes to size. You can opt for a subway pattern, a staggered design, or even a mosaic feel. Tiles are a great way to design patterns in order to express your own personal style.

Instead of grout separating each tile, a slab is one big piece of gorgeous stone. They are available in a variety of sizes and are most typically used for a streamlined look on the kitchen or bathroom countertops.

Stone medallions add a pop of decorative detail to any tile design. An embellished medallion transforms a plain tile design into something that looks ornate. Depending on the look you're going for, you can use them sparingly or consistently within your space.

Before you put natural stone tiles in your home, make sure you do your research and know your options. With background knowledge on your options, you'll be able to choose a stone type that's perfect for your design.

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