Stone Tile 101



Created from corals and shells that have settled on ocean floors and consolidated to form into calcite. Typically, there are visual fragments of corals, shells and other fossils in limestone. The density, hardness and subsequent characteristics of limestone varies widely. The most durable, dense limestone can withstand heavy airport terminal traffic (John Wayne Airport) and may be even be used in some wet areas. Others aren’t adequate for wet areas or even residential floors. Limestone is primarily available in subdued, earthy colors with a honed finish. Limestone is not acid resistant.


Limestone deposits (calcite) that have been dissolved by groundwater. The characteristic holes in travertine are the result of the hot water and gasses escaping during the formation process. Ideal for floors, walls, and splashes. The value of this stone is determined by: 1) the size and number of fill holes (density), 2) rare qualities or limited availability, 3) color consistency from piece to piece, 4) factory honing, polishing and/or filling processes. Colors are abundant in creams, chocolate brown, golden and red tones. There is an abundance of finishes (honed, brushed, tumbled, polished), edge treatments (squared, tumbled, chiseled, antiqued) and sizes (versailles pattern, rectangles, very large and very small formats). Travertine is not acid resistant.


The same geological makeup as travertine, however, onyx is formed in cool, cavernous conditions, similar to stalactites. Onyx is dense and will take a high polish. This multi-colored, translucent stone is most commonly available with a glossy finish. It is suitable for walls and extremely light duty (bathroom) floors and splashes. Onyx is not acid resistant.


A travertine or limestone that has had heat, pressure and fluid activity applied that results in a change in structure. This metamorphic transformation results in a denser stone with a myriad of colors that can be finished with a high gloss, honed or brushed. A polished finish is ideal for vertical installations or for horizontal installations where abrasion, stain and acid resistance are not a concern. Marble is not acid resistant.


Stone that was formed by the cooling and crystallization of magma (molten rock). This extremely dense stone has hundreds of color in primarily earthy tones. Granite can be finished a number of ways including polished, honed, leathered, and flamed. Granite is among the most acid, stain, and wear resistant of all natural stones. Many granites are ideal for high traffic (commercial) floors and countertop installations.

Slate, Sandstone & Quartzite

As granite is broken down over time it forms smaller and smaller particles. These particles can be deposited into lakes, lagoons and oceans. Where these minerals have been deposited (along with heat, pressure and time) will determine the final stone. Finer particles can form shale. Shale, under heat and pressure, can form into slate. Many slates from India and China may not be suitable for wet areas and may have a tendency to flake and transfer color over the life of the stone. Beach sand can be consolidated to form into sandstone. Sandstone, under heat and pressure, can form into quartzite. With a natural cleft surface texture along with excellent acid, wear and stain resistance, many of these stones can be used indoors or outdoors in a variety of horizontal and vertical applications.

Written and Pictures By:

Tile & Stone By Villagio, LLC
8340 E. Raintree
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Phone: 480-422-6700
Fax: 480-443-0251

| 1 Comment

One Response to “Stone Tile 101”

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  • Budget My Build Houzz Profile
  • Login

  • Sign Up To Become A BMB Certified Company

    Design and SEO By MFWD