Have you ever looked over your natural stone tiles and wondered why you see variations in color, shading, veining, or pitting?
You are not alone. As natural stone aficionados, we are often asked about the variances in this nature-made material.
Because of its organic composition, no two pieces of natural stone are entirely alike, even though they may appear similar at first glance. That individuality is part of the beauty of natural stone!
Today, we are going to review several natural stone idiosyncrasies so you can better understand the unique characteristics of natural stone that give it its one-of-a-kind charm.
Let’s get started!
Natural Stone Aesthetic Variations
As we mentioned above, the true beauty of natural stone lies in the fact that no two pieces of stone are identical.
When stone is formed, heat and pressure fuse together a myriad of different organic materials and minerals.
Over time, these materials eventually settle and form the stone that you see today. However, during this process, not all the materials settle in the same way, which leads to an array of shading, veining, and pitting throughout the stone.
It is important to remember that these variations are aesthetic—they have no bearing on the structural integrity of the stone. Rather, they are just an outward manifestation of the multitudes and beauty contained within nature.
To start things off, let’s take a look at one of the more common variations—veining.
Have you ever worked with marble?
You may have noticed that the soft white stone has shots of grey, or veining, running throughout it.
This veining represents the different minerals that settled together long ago to form the marble and can range from soft to dramatic in appearance.
At StoneImpressions, we offer a honed Carrara marble tile body for our unique art designs. While other varieties of Carrara marble feature dramatic or contrasting veining, our honed Carrara tiles feature veining that is subdued and sophisticated.
Below is an example of how veining can vary from piece to piece in our tiles:
Sometimes, especially when an artwork design is applied to the marble, veining can be mistaken for ink smudging or smearing. Rest assured that this is most certainly not the case, but rather a reflection of the marble’s unique and complex history.
Color variation is another common characteristic of natural stone.
One stone type that has a variety of colors is Limestone. The most typical style of limestone usually displays an airy mix of white, beige, and cream shades and is perfect for creating elevated interiors. From piece to piece, however, some shades may be more prominent than others.
For example, take our tumbled Perle Blanc, a luxurious variant of Limestone, shown below:
Again, the aesthetic variations that you observe are simply a byproduct of the exceptional, natural circumstances that led to the formation of this stone.
Next up, we have pitting variation.
Pitting refers to the small indentations and holes in natural stone. These markings reflect how other elements, like water, interact with the stone over time and the specific mix of minerals that comprise the stone.
Our tumbled Light Travertine decorative tiles, shown below, offer an attractive, rustic appearance, reminiscent of Old World elegance.
With this variety of natural stone, every piece tells its own story. Tumbled Light Travertine, like many other natural stones, offers your interior added dimension, visual interest, and individual character.
Natural Stone Sensitivities
While natural stone might be solid as a rock, it is sensitive to certain things.
For example, when going through manmade manufacturing processes natural stone tiles may end up with small chips, usually seen on the back of the tile.
Contrary to what you may think, these tiny notches are totally normal and a regular occurrence when this type of organic material goes through production.
As mentioned earlier, these small chips do not compromise the integrity and strength of the stone and will be filled in or supported by the adhesive during installation.
Maintenance and Care
Natural stone also requires special care and maintenance to preserve its distinctive beauty.
Because stone is a natural product, it is sensitive to harsh abrasive cleaners or abrasive cleaning tools.
When you need to clean your natural stone tiles use a soft cloth, warm water, and pH neutral cleaner or non-acidic soap. Never use an electric scrubber or buffer!
And always adhere to the sealer maintenance schedule recommended by your sealant manufacturer.
If you are ever in doubt as to how to properly care for your stone tiles, review our Frequently Asked Questions.
The next time you see natural stone, we hope you will be able to identify and understand some of the variations you may see between pieces.
And remember the age-old adage: Don’t judge a book by its cover. These differences are aesthetic and reflect the remarkable beauty of stone.
Curious to learn more about natural stone? Discover the importance of nominal sizes for natural stone tiles today!