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Stone floors have spanned the ages with their enduring and majestic presence. Not only have they been incorporated in architecture around the world over the millennium, they were present long before man decided they would make an excellent floor covering. So as you traipse upon your beautiful travertine floor, remember you have underfoot an element of longevity that stood the test of time.
Due to the tremendous selection in stone, we carry a limited supply of samples. However, if we do not have a particular sample in the store we can order any samples that you are interested in from these fine vendors.
Stone’s path to your home begins in a quarry. Large blocks of stone are cut from the earth and transported to a processing plant. Until it’s been quarried, stone is considered to be “rock” and only after cutting is it called stone. The blocks are cut into slabs, then the slabs go to a fabricator to be cut again, shaped and polished.
Today, natural stone quarries can be found throughout the world, including Italy, China, Spain, India, Canada, Mexico and right here in the good old U.S.A.
Among the many advantages of stone is one very practical one. Natural stone flooring will virtually always increase your home’s resale value. And unlike other types of flooring (but like a good wine), it improves with age.
Types of Stone
Generally speaking, there are three basic kinds of rock from which we cut floor stone:
Sedimentary, from which we get travertine and limestone
Igneous, from which we get granite
Metamorphic, from which we get slate and marble
A crystallized, partially metamorphosed limestone, formed by natural mineral springs. It has a honeycombed structure and a lot of surface pitting. It typically comes in two basic varieties: natural or filled. The pits can be filled with resin or grout to give each tile a solid surface or left unfilled for a more highly textured surface. The filled-in areas won’t polish out, which creates an interesting contrast.
The colors are generally warm, from almost ivory to Persian red and dark brown. A striking flooring in any room.
Due to its porous surface, travertine will require resealing.
A “young” marble, formed from the consolidation of seashells and sediment. Each stone can be expected to have a certain amount of surface pitting, fossilized shells, fissures and mineral striations. There may also be degree of edge chipping.
It’s a perfect choice for bathrooms, dining rooms and hallways and ranges in color from ivory to golden brown to black.
Limestone should be sealed to protect the stone’s natural beauty and performance.
A sedimentary stone that is primarily composed of loose grains of quartz sand that are rough in texture. Compressing sand and water over time forms this coarse-grained rock. A hard, yet very porous stone, it must be thoroughly sealed when used as flooring.
The hardest of all flooring stones with a very dense grain, making it virtually impervious. Formed from liquid magma — the substance found at the core of the Earth — it has nearly the hardness and durability of a diamond. If polished, its high-gloss finish will resist scratching and etching, making it an ideal choice for your kitchen floor. Imagine it in foyers, bathrooms, or libraries. It pairs nicely with other natural stones for an artsy look.
Granite is found in a variety of rich colors: from “Black Galaxy,” a luxurious black stone with small white or gold crystals, to “Tropical Brown” filled with tan, brown and black flecks, to “Maple Leaf Red,” a vibrant mixture of reds and blacks and “Tiger Skin White,” a wonderful striping of black and white. One manufacturer lists over 2,500 colors of granite!
A metamorphic rock made famous by the buildings of Ancient Rome and Greece. They loved it because it was soft enough to be worked with simple tools but hard enough to last many lifetimes. This crystallized limestone comes in many different color variations and usually includes a dazzling vein pattern of color that contrasts with its base color.
For example: “Crema Marfil” is light cream color with veins of a dark brown sugar. “Dark Emperador” is a popular warm brown with peach notes and lightning-like veins of white. White or bluish-white “Carrara” marble comes from ancient quarries in Tuscany. The stone has been prized since the Romans began shipping it home for their monuments. Michelangelo carved David and Moses out of it. Marble has a legendary elegance that makes it a great choice for foyers, dining rooms, libraries — any room that needs a touch of classic sophistication.
Since marble is more porous than granite, it’s more susceptible to staining and not the best choice for kitchen floors. Some marble colors have special properties. Green and black marbles are not recommended for wet areas of your home. Green marble will absorb water and curl or warp. When black marble gets wet it “spalls,” which means small pieces may break apart.
A fine-grained metamorphic rock that splits into sheets easily. It is composed of clay, quartz and shale. It’s highly versatile and adds a rustic appearance to any room. The natural “clefting” along the surface gives it a unique layered look. It’s very dense and can be used for floors, walls, and roofs. Slate is water resistant, which makes it ideal for outdoor applications like patios and pool surrounds.
Slate comes in every color you can imagine: Rich red, orange, gold, mauve, green, blue, black, rust and brown. It adapts beautifully to every room in your house.
Agglomerate Stone or Manufactured Stone
Made from natural stone chips suspended in a binder such as cement, epoxy resins, or polyester. The most well known agglomerated stone is poured-in-place terrazzo, used in building for thousands of years. These products offer the look of natural stone but are stain and scratch resistant, offer consistency and strength and are virtually maintenance free.