There are several types of natural stone used as tile. Below I have included the three most popular – Granite, Travertine, and Slate. We also work quite a bit with marble and onyx as well as other types of natural stone. Give us a call to discuss which would be best for your project.
Next to diamond, sapphire, and ruby, granite is the hardest natural product on earth. Once polished, natural granite will maintain its high gloss virtually forever. Normal use of kitchen knives, cutlery, and cookware leaves no scratches. Heat has almost no effect on natural granite, making it much safer than synthetic surfaces with polyesters and resins.
Granites usually are classified as igneous rocks obtained from molten masses or magmas. There is evidence that the origin of some granites may be attributed to regional metamorphism or pre-existing rocks. Rearrangement and re-crystallization taking place without a liquid or molten stage.
Granite is classified in (3) different groups:
Fine Grain : Fine grain granites are those in which the feldspar crystals average about 1/16 to 1/8″ in diameter.
Medium Grain : In the medium grain granites the feldspar crystals average about 1/4″ in diameter.
Coarse Grain : The feldspar crystals, in course grain granites average 1/2″ and greater in diameter or several centimeters in maximum dimension.
Granite is used widely for kitchen countertops (in slab form). For a fraction of the cost you can have granite tile installed on your countertops and, with the proper grout color, it will be nearly identical. Granite tile on your countertop is a sensible alternative which will balance style and cost. Granite tiles are also used often as fireplace surrounds.
At Tile Art we can also create a one-of-a-kind medallion for your entryway or fireplace to create a truly unique piece of art. All of our medallions are created from regular square tile and hand-cut to the desired pattern. We only create each design once so yours will be truly unique.
Travertine tiles are formed from hardened mineral deposits that are left over after carbon dioxide-rich water filters through rocks and earth. As the water passes through areas with concentrations of limestone, the limestone dissolves. When this limestone saturated water reaches the surface, the carbon dioxide is released due to the changes in temperature and pressure. As the carbon dioxide fizzes out of the water, the limestone is left behind, and re-crystallizes over underwater plants. As these mineral deposits harden into stone, they can be made into tiles. Travertine tiles are characterized by fissures and small irregular holes on the surface of the tile that are not found in limestone.
In the last few years travertine has grown tremendously in popularity. The rich, classic appearance combined with its durability and versatility make it ideal for almost any application.
Slate is a fine-grained metamorphic rock that splits into thin, smooth-surfaced layers. The most common building applications for this material are floor, wall and roof tiles as well as fireplace surrounds. Tiles can be split and cut-to-size with only the natural cleft surface, or manufacturers will add value by calibrating the material to ensure a consistent thickness throughout the piece. Because slate is made from a natural stone, you can expect a certain level of color variation from tile to tile. This is because of the fluctuation of the amounts of minerals and other compounds unique to each individual tile. Although this can be seen as a disadvantage if you’re looking for a monochromatic effect, it can really work in your favor with a more diverse design approach in mind. Although slate tiles are used mostly for fireplace surrounds, they may also be used for kitchen backplashes, entryways and outside applications.