If you've ever set out to renovate your home, you know just as well as anyone that the world of stone can be a confusing one. Granite, marble, engineered stone, limestone... where do I even start? Luckily, we've compiled a list of the different types of stone you can use for your next kitchen or bath project (or for any of these exciting project ideas). By the time you're done with this article, you should have a pretty clear idea of which material is right for you!
Marble is a metamorphic stone whose name is derived from the Greek word for "shining stone." There is nothing quite like the layer of polish and shine that a beautiful marble slab adds to your home. Its historic connotation of luxury has been carried for thousands of years, since the days of the Ancient Roman and Greek empires. Marble isn't an ideal material for outdoor projects, as its fragility and porous nature don't lend themselves well to the elements; however, a beautiful piece of Calacatta or Cherokee Silver marble can really take your kitchen counter tops or bathroom vanity into the upper echelon of luxury.
Summary: Marble is a beautiful, luxurious material for all of your interior design needs, but is less well-suited for the outdoors.
Granite is an igneous stone which is predominantly white, pink or gray in color. Its use predates that of even marble; granite blocks were used (alongside limestone) in the construction of the Egyptian pyramids. As you could tell from its use both here and in "The Granite City" of Aberdeen, Scotland, granite is an excellent material for your outdoor design projects. Its hardness and poor primary permeability make granite the ideal choice for your grill island project, or to cut into granite pavers for your patio renovation.
Summary: Granite is versatile enough to be useful throughout your entire home, and adds a beautiful touch to your backyard renovation projects.
Travertine is a subclass of limestone which is deposited by mineral springs. It is a sedimentary rock with properties that lend itself to paving patios or garden paths, but is also featured prominently in buildings such as the Willis Tower in Chicago.
While sometimes it is referred to as "travertine marble," the proper classification is as a limestone. Almost all of the travertine used in the United States (some 850,000 tons per year) is imported, as there are relatively few deposits of travertine that are accessible for production. Fun fact: one of the most prominent deposits of travertine in the United States is found at Yellowstone National Park's Mammoth Hot Springs! Travertine pavers can capture the beauty and majesty of these deposits in your own backyard.
Summary: Travertine (limestone, not marble!) is a sedimentary stone that is useful in both modern architecture and natural settings.
Lately, engineered stone has been rising in popularity. This material is composed of crushed quartz or marble combined with epoxy and dyes, and comes in a wide variety of colors as a result. Some slabs of engineered stone may feature added textures like glass and mirrors. The lack of variability that is inherent to natural stone makes engineered stone ideal for larger projects where uniformity is of importance. Quartz countertops (not to be confused with quartzite) are ideal for kitchen countertops due to their scratch and stain resistance; care must be taken not to put hot pots or pans on them, however, as the resins and dyes are liable to discolor due to heat exposure.
Summary: Engineered stone's man-made characteristics make it a great choice for scratch-proof kitchen counters and other applications that require durability.
There are countless other surface material types available for your next home renovation project, including limestone, semi-precious stone and many more. Take a look on StoneTrash at all of our slab material to see what's available, and make sure you visit frequently to check out new additions!