A Complete Guide to the Different Types of Natural Stone Tiles

The reason someone wants a custom job done in their home, can also be the same reason that it can be daunting at first for the buyer. That reason is choice. Different types of stone tiles offer the buyer limitless design possibilities, which can also make it a difficult choice, at first. With so many types of natural stone tiles out there, they often need some advice on how to make the perfect choice. By helping someone match up their vision with just the right natural stone, it’s especially satisfying to see the look of amazement when the project is complete to beyond their wildest expectations. If you’re having difficulty figuring out what natural stone to use, just continue reading this guide for more expert advice.

A Dizzying World of Luxury Stone Choices

It can be exciting and exhilarating to imagine the different looks for a space with so many types of natural stone tiles available to choose from. Just how do you know which is the right one for you? It all depends on several different characteristics: color, durability, and functionality. Some natural stones are too soft to use in high traffic areas and some are so hard they are perfect for foot traffic. Color is important for aesthetics, and functionality should also encompass how much maintenance you wish to engage. Here are a few choices to look at for different types of natural stone tiles available to the luxury homeowner or business owner:

1. Cobbled Stone

If you’ve ever visited Italy or parts of Europe or Latin America, you will be familiar with cobbled stone. It was used mostly to line roads as it is highly durable, rustic, and beautiful. Rome’s cobblestone roads are quaint, but they are also somewhat uneven and now being paved over because they are very slippery when wet. However, the same stone can be used on walls and in the kitchen for an Italian renovation. Each stone is unique as it is made from volcanic rock with different shadings from red and browns to gray. It’s practically maintenance-free other than replacing stones that fall out or get broken.

2. Jerusalem Stone

Jerusalem stone got it’s name for having been the stone used to create the Western Wall in Jerusalem. It has a golden hue that makes an environment feel warm and inviting. However, the surface is rather rough and so does best on walls, although the distressed look of a Jerusalem stone floor can also be desirable.

3. Ledge Stone

This stone ranges in color from salmon pinks to orange as well as brown, tan, and gray. It also has interesting visual veining within the stone. It is typically cut into strips and stacked in layers that jut out against each other to create a dimensional 3-D effect, rather than lying flat. Since it has this 3-D effect, it is best used for walls, columns, and or on a fireplace surround to add heat resistance and depth of design. It’s not a polished tile so there is little maintenance involved.

4. Limestone Tile

This is a very soft stone, which can be polished to high shine. It conducts heat admirably, which is why it is a top choice to use with radiant heating. In it’s natural state it is not shiny, and doesn’t require a whole lot of maintenance. Polished limestone requires more upkeep to keep the nice shine. This stone has a wide color palette, not just whites, yellow, and beige. It also can come in hues of blue, black, and green.  Here are 5 Different Limestone Tile Ideas to Inspire Your New Floor or Wall Design. 

5. Onyx Tile

This is a translucent stone similar to glass. It is also fragile, like glass, and so requires some expertise to install. The beauty and uniqueness of each tile more than makes up for its difficulty in installing it. No two tiles are alike and it comes in a range of colors from white to green. There are also warm honey colors or tans and browns too. Each color contains veins that can even include more variability in color, like green onyx with brown veining. Here is a sample of some of the colors available. Onyx needs to be sealed repeatedly if it is going to be around water as it tends to be porous otherwise.

6. Marble Tile

Marble is the king of tiles for it’s luxury status and durability. It comes in so many different colors and patterns with large veins, spider veins, or layered striations that make it really unique. It is so durable that it can be hard to cut and work with. That’s why it is important to have someone who knows what they are doing with this stone. It is ideal for water jet designs where the water cuts through this hard material with complete precision.

7. Pebbles

If you want to feel like you are out meandering next to a river in a forest, there is nothing like pebbles to evoke that atmosphere. You can get pebbles in tile format so that they are easier to use on the floor as they are already made level. For outdoor walkways, you might want to use pebbles without the tile backing. Colors are very neutral and create a calm, peaceful, feeling to a space. They are often used in Zen-like designs on bathroom walls as well.

8. Slate Tile

Earthtones are common in slate tiles and they have the additional benefit of being fireproof, making them ideal around a hearth or outdoor kitchen. When cut into tiles, they can make interesting patterns with multiple tones from browns to bluish greens. However, slate can also be used in irregular pieces to provide a really natural look to a floor as well.

9. Travertine Tile

Travertine is often used in place of marble to cover large areas because it is less expensive, but has the same alluring veined look. Unpolished, it has a better grip than polished marble, making it ideal for around a pool area. However, polished it can be just as smooth and can be used in place of marble. Travertine floors and walls work well in kitchens and baths too. It comes in whites as well as with blue or silver veins. Want to learn more about travertine? Here are 5 Travertine Tile Design Ideas to Inform Your Remodeling Ideas.

Create Any Design with Different Stone Tile Options

With so many different types of natural stone tiles available, it makes any design possible. Whether you want to create an outdoor barbecue area with slate or prefer a cool limestone sitting area around a pool, there is a stone out there that can not only look good, but function well for the space. Do you like the stones I picked out for this guide? Which is your favorite? Comment and like this article and share it with your friends too.

About the Author

Nelson Londono founded Artsaics in 1998 after learning the ins and outs of designing custom artistic tiles and stone mosaics. The New York-based surfacing company specializes in producing stunning artistic tiles & stone designs with fine natural stone from around the world. Nelson and his team’s passion lies in working with their hands, heads and hearts to make each and every space a unique reflection of self expression. You can learn more about Artsaics here.

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