As artisans of natural stone, we are often the go-to place for people who want answers to the following questions:
- What is natural stone?
- Why is natural stone unique?
- What are the different types of natural stone?
And these common inquiries make sense—natural stone is not a material that everyone is well-acquainted with!
So, today we are here to bring you up to speed on the natural stone information you need to know.
From definitions and makeup to application and categories, discover important natural stone facts, below!
Natural Stone, Defined
Natural stone refers to organic rock that is quarried from the earth and used for building or decorative purposes.
What is Natural Stone Made Of?
Natural stone is an organic, solid composition made up of one or more minerals.
How is Natural Stone Made?
Like all rocks on Earth, natural stone was formed thousands of years ago.
After our planet originated, mineral gases filled the Earth. Over time, the planet cooled and those mineral gases condensed to form a solid mineral core and crust.
Eventually, pressure, expansion, erosion, and heat morphed the Earth’s crust into enormous rock beds. Even now, some of those massive rock beds serve as the quarries from which we mine natural stone.
The term stone not only references the material’s unique, natural makeup but also calls attention to its intended end-use.
After being quarried, stones undergo sizing and shaping so they can be used in certain applications. For example, stones can be molded into paving stones, floor stones, wall stones, or decorative stone tiles once quarried.
Natural Stone Variation
What truly makes natural stone beautiful is its inherent uniqueness.
Stone is a product of nature, and because of this, no two pieces are entirely alike.
Even though two pieces of stone might look quite similar on the surface, minute variations are present within the material that make each piece one-of-a-kind.
Variations may occur in the stone’s color, shade, veining, markings, texture, movement, or finish.
If you see these kinds of variations in your natural stone do not be alarmed! Variations are not defects, but rather innate characteristics of the material that give it complex character and charm.
Types of Natural Stone
There are a number of natural stone varieties, including:
- Marble, Onyx, and Serpentine
- Sandstone and Quartzite
- Slate and Soapstone
- Travertine, Limestone, and Dolomitic Limestone
The chart below outlines some of the most common natural stones used in building and design, along with their different properties:
What are Natural Stone Tiles?
Now that we have covered the basics of natural stone, let’s turn our attention to natural stone tiles.
There are no surprises here; natural stone tiles are exactly what they sound like. They are stones that have been quarried from the earth and shaped into tiles used for building and design.
At StoneImpressions, we offer decorative, patterned tiles on a variety of natural stone tile bodies, including:
- Honed Durango
- Tumbled Durango
- Tumbled Light Travertine (Unfilled)
- Tumbled Botticino
- Tumbled Perle Blanc
- Gold Luster Limestone
- Silver Luster Limestone
One thing you probably noticed in the list above is that several StoneImpressions’ tile bodies have descriptors like “tumbled” or “honed” in front of them. These terms refer to the finish of the natural stone.
After they have been quarried, sized, and shaped, natural stone tiles can undergo additional processes to achieve a certain finish or final look. Some of the most popular finishes for natural stone tiles are:
||Polishing occurs through repeatedly grinding and buffing the stone material using various technologies.|
||Stones undergo a grinding and sanding process, which utilizes a micro-beveled edge, to achieve a smooth and matte, honed finish.|
||Stone material is placed into a barrel (or another tumbler) and mixed thoroughly until the desired tumbled finish is achieved.|
We offer Made to Order natural stone art tiles and have the ability to create custom tile designs on any of our natural stone tile bodies. And, if you are up against a tighter deadline, we also offer a selection of in-stock decorative tiles through our quick-ship program: Artisan Stone Tile.
Explore our various tile collections today to gain inspiration for your next renovation or home project!
From basics to characteristics, we hope this article solidified the foundations of natural stone for you.
Do you still have questions? Let us know in the comments below!
Or, feel free to explore some of our other blogs regarding the basics of natural stone, like how often you need to seal natural stone tiles or how to pick the perfect backsplash grout color.