Types of Stone

Stone is a beautiful and durable flooring choice that requires special care and maintenance. When it’s installed and cared for properly, stone is a lifetime floor.


Travertine is a soft and porous limestone that forms near mineral-rich streams. Gas bubbles travel through the stone or get trapped inside it, creating its pitted surface.

Travertine varies in hardness, density and porosity. It is also susceptible to acids and scratching. For flooring, it often comes tumbled (natural, uneven edges; unfilled pitted surface) or hone and filled (straight edges, epoxy-filled pits, smoothened surface).


Composed mostly of calcite from shell debris, limestone is almost always oceanic in origin. It is softer than marble and thus prone to greater wear and tear.

Because it is more pliable, it is susceptible to staining and acid etching,
so limestone may not be the perfect choice for kitchens or high-traffic areas.


Marble is another form of limestone to which the Earth’s crust applies extra heat and pressure. Marble is very soft and porous and so susceptible to staining and wear.

Great Western Flooring recommends not using marble in areas where acidic products are commonly used, such as in kitchens, where acidic foods and beverages often spill.


Slate is one of the most color-variant stones available. Slates are typically sealed with an enhancer to highlight their color and depth.

Slate’s most popular version is the natural or “split face” style in which the tile is broken away from the slate bed, leaving it with a natural and uneven thickness. Another version of slate is the “tumbled” slate, which has smoothed edges and a more-even thickness.

All slates – including the split face with its uneven gauge – are vulnerable to chipping or breaking. This is normal and not considered a defect.


Mined from all over the world, granite is formed mainly of feldspar and quartz. Because it is very hard and dense, it is more heat, scratch, stain, mold and mildew resistant than most other forms of stone as long as it is properly cared for.

While most popular for use in countertops, granite comes in a wide range of flooring colors and patterns including tiles and decorative borders and accents.


Onyx is one of the great “undiscovered” building materials of all time. Traditionally, onyx has been the favorite of Emperors, Popes and other powerful leader since at least several centuries B.C. Taking a look at where it has been used, you will find onyx walls and floors in places as diverse as the Villas of Julius Caesar and the floors installed in the Taj Mahal.


Very similar to slate tile, quartzite usually provides a varied and unparalleled texture to a space. Created primarily from pressurized sandstone, the metamorphic rock is a super durable stone option.

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