Natural stone is one of the most popular materials for countertops, flooring, walls, patios, driveways, and much more. Granite, marble, slate, limestone, onyx and other natural stones come in a wide array of colors and patterns to suit any design style and project. Learn more about maintenance, care, and installation, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Creating an installation without visible grout joints is difficult, but if the surface of the floor is straight and the tiles are perfectly cut, very little grout should be seen. A professional, experienced installer should be chosen to create this look.

The tightest grout joint that you may request is 1/16".

Because stone is a natural product, there is always some variation within a selection. By sorting out the stone tiles before installing, it is possible to place the tiles on the surface before installing, blending the varying colors, grain, and veining as desired.

Natural Stone can be used on nearly every surface both inside and outside the home, including floors, kitchen countertops, vanity tops, bathrooms, patios, walkways, fireplaces, facades, wall cladding, and garden landscaping.

Natural stones are quarried directly from the earth's crust, and every piece is unique. The only processing they need is shaping into various forms, sizes and finishes.

The Marble Institute of America has a great technical bulletin describing some very simple do-it-yourself diagnostic tests to differentiate quartzites from marbles, granites, and other natural stones.

Granite tiles and slabs for commercial and residential applications do not emit harmful radiation. For more information, consult the Marble Institute of America's website.

The larger the stone, the more difficult it is to process, handle, pack, and transport. Larger sizes also tend to have a higher amount of waste compared to the part that is used, which makes them more expensive.

Stones that are harder and denser are more difficult and expensive to quarry and process. Quarrying methods vary as well; stones may be quarried below ground, which is more expensive than above ground. Also, since natural stone is quarried all over the world, long distance shipping factors into the price.

The different types of stone finishes include: Natural Cleft Unique to slate, it has a slightly uneven surface that is still usable for flooring. This finish cannot be created, but occurs naturally as the layers of slate are quarried. One side (back side) can be gauged to facilitate ease of “thin set” installation. Some marbles, sandstones and limestones are available with heavy clefting, suitable for wall installations only. Polished Grinding, sanding, and buffing produces a high gloss, mirror-like surface. Honed Grinding and sanding produces a smooth, yet not glossy finish. This is best for low maintenance, high traffic applications. Flamed A flamed surface is achieved by subjecting the stone to the high temperature flame of a torch and burning most of the carbon content, leaving textured quartzites with gentle coloration. Sandblasted This is a rough, but tidy look created by applying a high pressure blast of sand to the stone’s surface. River Wash This finish is often given to granites, and provides a non-slippery surface while retaining the coloration and grain structure of the stone. Leather Available only in Melange marble, this finish gives the stone a suede look and feel. This texture is smooth and slip-resistant. Tumbled Tumbling stones in a solution of sand, water and mild acid creates an old world, weathered look. Split Face Mainly used for cladding, this is achieved by splitting stone either by hand or by machine so that the surface exhibits a natural quarry texture. It has a flat back and uneven front surface, and creates the uneven look of protruding bricks. Fleuri Cut This is achieved by cutting quarried marble or stone parallel to the natural bedding plane. Cross-Cut The cross-cut method involves end-cutting blocks of travertine to display a less linear, more rounded “wavy” pattern. Vein Cut Opposite of cross-cutting, the veining of the stone is shown as a linear pattern. Veneer Stone Any stone used as a decorative facing material as wall cladding which is not meant to be load-bearing. Veneer may be made from different finishes, such as split face, cleft, honed, polished, flamed or tumbled. Gauged vs. Ungauged Slate is cleft out of blocks to form tiles. When it is cleft by machine or saw, it is gauged because a uniform thickness is formed. Ungauged stone is hand-cleft and its thickness may vary up to 5/8 of an inch.

Marble is considered one of the softer natural stones. Bullnose marble tiles are rounded tiles used for corners and edges. It is advised that marble bullnose tiles be fabricated by a professional using a grinder and bugging pad.

Travertine is characterized by the presence of many tiny holes, caused by trapped gas bubbles during its formation. This creates a porous, uneven surface, which is referred to as Unfilled Travertine. When these cavities are filled with cement or another material, the result is called Filled Travertine and may be honed and polished to provide a uniform surface similar to marble.

Tumbling stones in a solution of sand, water and mild acid creates an old world, weathered look. Typically sizes of 5/8" X 5/8" to 6"X 6" and sometimes even 8"X 8" are true tumbled pieces. Larger sizes are given a "Tumbled" finish, manually. Very small pieces like 5/8" X 5/8" & 1" X 1" are usually, mounted on 12" X 12" meshes for ease of installation. Most commonly used size is 4" X 4" and it is used in straight & diamond patterns, or as accent pieces. When mixing different size tumbled pieces, the look may vary.

It is advised that professional installers check the slate tiles prior to installation for bleeding. In the rare instance that a slate tile bleeds, replace it promptly.

Mosaic tiles can crumple under normal cutting conditions. It is important to secure the tiles between wood or other solid tiles to firmly hold them while using a wet saw fitted with a diamond blade.

It's recommended by professional installer to use modified thin set, according to the manufacturer’s instructions on the package.

Mesh-backed landscaping tiles can be installed on solid level surfaces including concrete.

Pavers can be set in sand with the proper installation procedure and materials.

0.5" of mortar is recommended for the intallation of landscaping tiles.

Many popular items are readily available from current stock. Others may take 90 to 120 days for delivery.

Since stone is a natural product, it is not possible to order a specific stone.