A Natural Stone Primer

Just getting started on your project? New to natural stone? See below for some basic information, and links to photos and more!

Marble Granite Slab

Marble, granite, limestone, travertine and slate have been used in buildings for as long as people have been building. They are timeless materials and the original “green” building products – long lasting, nearly indestructible, and unrefined.

Because all of these stones are created by nature, they do not have the uniform consistency of man-made products. Big blocks of stone are taken from the quarry, sliced into slabs, and one side of each slab is polished. Pitting, fissures, dry seams, etc. are common in natural stone and most stones have some natural “flaws”. These so-called “flaws” are what makes each piece beautiful and unique.

Stones mined in quarries are processed into either tiles or slabs (essentially very large tiles). Generally, tiles come in 12”x12” with some available in 16″ x 16″, 18″ x 18″, and 24″ x 24″ and more. Slabs are much larger at around 60”x112”, though they can be either larger or smaller. Slabs are available in 2cm (3/4”) or 3cm (1 ¼”) thicknesses.

Engineered quartz products are another option that is becoming increasingly popular. They consist of 93% natural quartz which is mixed with dyes and resins to create a wide variety of designs, from solid colors to ones that mimic granites and marbles. They are available in 2cm or 3cm thickness and are generally in the 55”x120” range, depending on the manufacturer. Engineered stones tend to have a more uniform consistency, though some are made to emulate the irregular look of natural stones.

Both natural and engineered stones look fantastic in a variety of spaces beyond the traditional kitchen countertop or bathroom vanity. Let your imagination wander. We’ve done desk tops, integrated stone sinks, stone slab bathtubs (not just the deck, the whole thing!), fireplaces and surrounds, coffee tables, kitchen tables, heat registers, wall art, shower walls, statue bases, planter boxes, bar tops. The list is endless!

While all of these stones offer a luxurious, beautiful, and practical surface, they each have different properties that make them more or less practical for certain areas. See our individual pages on different stone types for more information.

Call us at (503) 234-5361 if you want more information or have any questions about a particular stone.

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