Our natural stone flooring guide below gives a brief description of the characteristics and different types of stone.
Travertine is a sedimentary rock, similar in composition to limestone, which has been used in building for centuries. It is formed near hot springs, where carbon dioxide rich water passes through the stone and leaves it with voids and pits. This gives the travertine its natural honeycomb characteristic. Travertine tiles can be filled with a resin at source, and honed to leave a flat, matt surface. This gives the tiles a more contemporary finish. Over time, small holes can appear in the fill, or previously unexposed holes may become visible. These can be easily repaired with a suitable grout or resin. Alternatively, the tiles can be left unfilled, with pits and voids, to give a naturally worn appearance. These pits can be filled with grout upon installation to give a rustic appearance, but less dramatic then leaving the natural voids.
Limestone is a sedimentary rock formed from different crystal forms of calcium carbonate and is an important building stone. Most limestone contains fragments of marine organisms, seashells and sediment, which have been compressed to form solid rock. We have a wide range of limestone, many with quite different characteristics, colours and markings and it is not uncommon to see fossilised shells or skeletal fragments, fissures and quartz veins or occasional surface pitting or resin fill.
Marble is a metamorphic rock, formed when limestone is exposed to high temperatures and pressure. The temperatures and pressures necessary to form marble usually destroy any fossils and sedimentary textures present in the original rock. Historically is has been used as a building material, in sculpture and many other applications. When many people think of marble, they think of highly polished tiles, but the stone is also available in honed and tumbled finishes, which are often more practical in a busy family home. Marble comes in many colours and is characterised by the veins and pattern present in the stone.
Slate is a fine-grained metamorphic rock, made up of many layers under relatively low pressure and temperature. Most slates range in colour from black to light grey, but green, red, purple and brown colours can also come through, as evident in our multi-coloured slates. Some slate tiles have been left uncalibrated which means they have a naturally riven surface leaving the stone with a rustic finish. Chips and chisel marks may also be present on the surface of the stone. The thickness will vary throughout these tiles, so they need additional adhesive when being installed. Other slate tiles are calibrated, leaving the stone with a smoother surface and an almost consistent thickness throughout. Due to the layers of the slate, there may be some very slight layers on the surface of the tiles giving a subtle texture.
Another sedimentary rock, Sandstone is formed of coarse grains of sand and minerals which have been compressed. Our sandstone tiles come in large format, flagstone tiles which are suitable for internal and external use. They are available in a riven finish characterised by a granular, undulating surface which gives a textured and rustic finish.
Porcelain tiles are a type of ceramic tile, but with a very low water absorption rate so do not require sealing. Porcelain is formed from clay, quartz and feldspar and is fired at temperatures ranging from 1200-1400°C. The tiles are extremely hard wearing and are a better choice if you are looking for a more uniform floor, with little variation in colour and texture. There may be subtle differences between batches, so we always advise to order all tiles needed at the same tiles. Most of our porcelain ranges are ‘full-bodied’ which means the colour runs throughout the tile rather than just on the surface.