Types of Natural Stone Tiles
Natural Stone is a very broad term covering many different types of floor or wall tiles. Below is everything you need to know, and a whole lot that you don't about different types of natural stone. Also see our types of tiles page for a description of man-made tile types.
A very popular natural stone tile, often light in colour and relatively soft, it is formed by layers of marine life, deposited on the ocean floor millions of years ago and compressed over that period to form a stone full of character. Fossils can often be seen in this type of stone. This type of stone requires periodic sealing. Light colours should be fixed with a white adhesive.
Travertine is formed by water travelling through limestone and emerging as hot springs, then cooling rapidly. Recently very fashionable both as a tile and as a mosaic, often sold with a tumbled finish. The minerals collected whilst the hot water travels to the surface are captured as rich often cream colours. Again tiny shells can often be seen in the tile. Travertine often has voids in the tile, good quality travertine has less of these voids and they are properly filled before being sold, this process is often referred to as 'honed and filled'. This type of stone requires periodic sealing. Light colours should be fixed with a white adhesive.
Lots of cheap travertine has flooded the market recently and is best avoided. Trade Price Tiles do not sell cheap travertine tiles. We never cut back on quality.
Marble actually starts life as limestone, but is formed as a result of massive pressure and heat on that limestone. This process captures many beautiful colours. Marble tiles are usually very cold and if using on a floor in the UK you should consider underfloor heating. Marble can be highly polished, creating an illusion of depth. This type of stone requires periodic sealing. Light colours should be fixed with a white adhesive.
Slate and Quartzite are very closely related. Both require sealing and occasional maintenance but produce a gorgeous distinctive tiled flooring. They are fine grained rocks formed from layers of shale and clay deposits. Quartzite is harder as it is formed at higher temperatures; it often has a mild 'crystal' effect. The layers can usually be traced in the colour changes and the 'cleft' nature of the finish.
Colour range is very good giving russet, plum or autumnal hues. Black slate is especially popular, all types can be sealed to produce either a satin or a gloss finish.
Basalt is a dense volcanic rock formed from lava. It is extremely hard wearing. It's texture can vary from granular to glass like, colours are rich dark and earthy.
Rising in popularity recently, this sedimentary rock requires sealing and after care. Distinguishable by colour variations including grey, yellow, red and white, this type of natural stone is formed from coarse sand quartz and cementing materials such as clay. Consider this if you are looking for something exclusive and natural.
Granite has become popular for floor tiles and kitchen worktops but often stone described as granite is in fact marble or quartzite. Real granite is second only to a diamond in hardness - which explains why you need to cut it with a diamond wheel. Granite is an igneous, magma-formed rock that is generally made up of quartz, feldspar and mica. These minerals combine in varying percentages that account for the colour, veining and crystallization patterns that make each granite deposit unique. Granite requires periodic sealing to prevent staining.