To help you understand the types of natural stone, we’ve put this glossary
There are two basic types of stone used in the building industry:
- Natural stone such as marble, granite, or limestone.
- Agglomerates (Manufactured stones) that consist of natural stone chips
suspended in a bonding, manufactured material.
Natural stone can be grouped into three classes.
Igneous rock is formed when molten rock (called
lava or magma) cools and hardens. Granite is an example of an igneous rock.
Sedimentary rock is formed from biological deposits
that have undergone consolidation and crystallization. Limestone and sandstone fall
into this category.
Metamorphic rock is created when other kinds of
rocks are changed by great heat and pressure inside the earth. Marble, slate and
quartzite are examples of metamorphic rocks.
Here are the names and definitions of some of the more popular natural stones:
Granite is an igneous stone that is extremely
hard, dense and resistant to scratches and acid etching. It is an ideal stone for
use in flooring and in food preparation areas. Hundreds of varieties of granite
Sandstone is a sedimentary stone that is primarily
composed of loose grains of quartz sand that are rough in texture. A number of varieties
Limestone is another sedimentary stone, it’s
formed from calcite and sediment and comes in many earthen colors.
Marble is a derivative of limestone. It is a metamorphic
stone that can be polished. Marble is characteristically soft and easily scratched
or etched by acids. There are countless types of marble from around the world.
Travertine is a crystallized, partially metamorphosed
limestone, which because of its structure, can be filled and honed and is dense
enough to be a type of marble.
Slate is a metamorphic stone that has a sheet-like
structure. It is composed of clay, quartz and shale, and comes in a multitude of
colors including reds and greens.
Agglomerate Stone is a 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.
Today, some of the most popular manufactured stone products are quartz products.
These products offer the look of natural stone but are stain and scratch resistant,
offer consistency and strength, and are virtually maintenance free.
Now, let’s take an even closer look at some of the most popular natural stone
types available today, and provide you with some recommended applications.