Marble is created out of sedimentary limestone found near natural springs and freshwater. Over time, under immense heat and pressure this limestone transforms becoming even harder and clearer. As the stone changes, impurities in the stone naturally create patterns and formations that appear like veins. Marble is commonly available in many colours such as pure white, cream, silver, greys and black. These base colours sometimes carry shades within their compositions of various hues – red, yellow, green, orange, blue and pink.

When cut and polished, this marble acquires a very smooth and glossy finish. It’s a beautiful flooring to live on but is slippery in wet areas. There are some techniques to “rough up” the surface to give it more slip resistance but you must consult with a stone specialist– NEVER use Hydrochloric Acid, you’ll ruin your beautiful natural stone! The stone tiles are cool in summer and warm in winter. Very stylish and hard wearing in general.

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Travertine is also created out of sedimentary limestone found near freshwater hot springs and geysers. It is a porous stone with many fine holes and channels that are formed over a period of time, by the discharge of hot water and gasses during formation. Unlike marble, this stone doesn’t go through a process of heat and pressure during it’s formation. Tumbled and unfilled travertine is a very popular choice in Queensland residential builds for a few reasons. It remains fairly cool under foot in summer, the hole pocked surface offers reasonable slip resistance and the colour varieties are elegant. Most common colours are light cream, coffee, mottle grey/ browns hues. Filled and Honed Travertine is another choice, particularly good for walls but a little slippery like marble for floors in wet areas.

Granite typically is a very tough, dense stone that can be used in many applications across residential and commercial projects. It’s offered in a variety of thickness for tiling and colour ranges from very light grey to sand and shelly colours and dark grey. Granite, unlike Travertine and Marble are usually very uniform in colour. The density of Granite means that it’s very hardy but with that quality comes the disadvantage of retaining heat in summer. The darker greys can become too hot to walk on barefoot if they are exposed to the sun most of the day.

Maintenance – Many kinds of stone tiles can last a lifetime provided care is taken at two stages. First, at the time of installation, the tiles must be installed and sealed professionally. A solid, even bed of adhesive must support each tiles so that they don’t crack under weight. Secondly, tiles should be checked and sealants reapplied to ensure that all joints and surfaces are sealed completely. Depending on your environment and how heavily soiled your tiles are, you’ll need to clean and refresh your stone every few years. For Marble and Travertine, every 3 -4 years is reasonable. Granite is more hardy, so you can go longer without having to recondition the stone to keep it looking fresh. If you have blemishes or stains, you can use some diluted Chlorine (approx 1 part Chlorine to 8 parts water). Using a scrubbing brush, pour the water/chlorine mix onto the spot. Give a quick scrub and let sit of a few minutes, scrub again and then hose off. If the stain is still present, you should contact a Natural Stone cleaning specialist – NEVER use Hydrochloric Acid or any other harsh chemicals on Natural Stone!

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For some general information on Quartzite, Basalt, Sandstone and Limestone – click here