Many different types of natural stone products are used in renovating homes and businesses. It’s important to keep in mind that each of stone comes in specific colours and has unique properties. We have compiled a list of the stones we use, and some of the things you should know about them.
A popular choice and becoming a household standard, granite adds both beauty and value to your home. It’s a practical choice because of it’s natural strength, durability, and resistance to both heat and staining. Granite begins to melt around 1215 to 1260°C, so hot pans and pots are no threat and can be placed directly onto the granite countertop.
Granite is a hard rock sitting around a 6 or 7 on Moh’s scale of mineral hardness depending on the exact mix of minerals (quartz, feldspars, micas, and trace amounts of other minerals) making up a specific slab. This property makes granite difficult to scratch. And if scratching does occur, granite is one of the easiest rocks to fix.
Granite comes in literally thousands of colours and has a medium to coarse grain. This means all the different colours from the blend of minerals are easy to see.
Perfect for any room, granite can be used in fireplaces, countertops, bathtubs and showers, indoors, outdoors, and almost anywhere you can imagine.
Marble is a great choice for different applications, although not recommended for the kitchen. It also comes in many colours and is found all over the world, from Russia to Ireland and the United States to Spain.
Marble scores a hardness of 4 or 5 on the Mohs scale (in comparison granite is a 6 or 7), and is therefore much less durable than harder rocks. While it’s recommended not to use knives on granite countertops because it dulls the knife, using a knife on marble will mark and scratch the countertop.
Marble is formed from metamorphosed limestone, which is limestone had been inflicted with very high pressures and heat. It has quite a high melting point approximately 1339°C.
The softness and high heat resistance makes marble an elegant and excellent choice for fireplaces or bathroom vanities.
Almost everyone has some experience with quartz. It’s the second most common mineral and a semi-precious stone that is often used in jewelry. It goes from transparent to opaque black and comes in various colours such as purple (amethyst), yellow (citrine), and mint green (prasiolite). Despite how common this mineral is, quartz countertops and other quartz products only started to become popular a few years ago.
Quartz measures at 7 on the Mohs scale, making it harder than granite. That makes quartz countertops extremely scratch-resistant and even more durable than granite.
It is highly bacteria- and mold-resistant. On top of that, quartz is almost stain proof making it an ideal choice for the kitchen.
However, if quartz does get scratched, it is much more difficult to repair than in granite.
Limestone is a sedimentary rock formed from compressed calcium carbonate. Usually it forms underwater from the bones and shells of sea creatures as well as coral. Because of this, limestone may contain interesting fossils.
Limestone is even softer than marble. Sitting at 3 to 4 on the Mohs scale, simply scraping a copper penny against limestone can scratch its surface. However, scratches aren’t as visible in limestone as they are in marble.
Limestone comes in all sorts of earthy tones, from near-white and yellow-tan to dark grey and black. Like marble, it has a very high melting point making the stone ideal for limestone fireplaces and mantels.
Because of it beauty, onyx has a long history of being used in hand carving and jewelery. It is a banded rock, and comes in almost every colour with bands in both white and black. Onyx is also translucent, meaning light can pass through it. This property makes it exceptionally beautiful when placed so light is passing through it.
Onyx sits at 6 – 7 on the MOH scale, but it is slightly softer than granite and can scratch easier. This rock is formed from limestone and is just as porous. These properties make onyx a less than ideal choice for the kitchen than granite or quartz, but an excellent choice for a fireplace.
Slate is a low-grade metamorphic rock, which means it wasn’t formed with as much heat and pressure as marble or other higher grade metamorphic rocks. It has a fine grain and is made up of clay, shale, and sometimes quartz.
Slate comes in a variety of colours and shades. Grey is quite common, with shades from almost white to black, but slate also comes in vivid green, purple, and cyan (a light ocean blue-green). Slate sometimes contains fossils.
This stone has been used historically for writing boards, roofing materials, as well as laboratory counters because it is chemically inert and has a high melting point. These properties make this rock equally good for slate countertops in your kitchen. However, at a hardness of 3 – 4 on the Mohs scale, it does scratch fairly easily. Slate can also be far more porous than granite or quartz depending on the specific slab.
This rock cuts exceptionally flat with the grain, making slate a good choice for paving stone outdoors or tiles in the kitchen or bathroom. It’s also used frequently for vanities.