Types of Stone
The range of natural stone that is available is incredibly diverse, and there is something to suit everyone’s needs. There are multitudes of colours and textures, but they all boil down to the 5 main stone types. They are:
Limestone This is a sedimentary rock which contains lime from seawater, and mainly consists of calcium. Layers of shell deposits collect on the sea bed and compress over time in order to create this durable stone. Limestone is typically categorized into ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ limestone. Soft limestone is less dense and cannot be polished, so is offered in a honed finish. Hard limestone is much denser and can be polished. Because it is less porous, it is possible to use it in stain and moisture sensitive areas.
Travertine This stone has been used for centuries, and can be seen in early Roman architecture. Characterised by hot springs, the water creates small air pockets in the stone with can either be filled with resin, or left untouched. When filled, the stone is often then honed or polished. If the travertine is unfilled, then it will be tumbled further for a more rustic look.
Slate Slate is composed mostly of mica, chlorite and quartz. Some are extremely beautiful and incorporate a mix of metallic colours. Slate also has a better price to quality ratio. Slate forms in layers, and often you will see evidence of these layers on tiles.
Marble Marble is the result of limestone being exposed to extreme heat and pressure. This leaves you with a hard wearing stone that can be polished. It is usually characterised by veins and subtle swirls. Marble is often used for bathrooms and staircases, and can be fabricated into anything.
Basalt This is a very hard wearing volcanic stone, which has very similar qualities to Granite. Basalt has a grainy surface texture and is often cut with crisp, sharp lines. It is often grey in colour, so works very well with modern trends. It’s grainy surface makes it low-slip, meaning that you can put it in a variety of situations.
Sandstone Not too dissimilar from Slate, Sandstone is comprised of layers. This is why most sandstones have a riven effect on the surface. It is hard wearing, frost resistant and fairly grippy to walk on, making it ideal for gardens and patios. Sandstone is available in a variety of colours, making it very diverse.