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Comparison of Different Types of Natural Stone

types of natural stone

Natural stone, a collective name for innumerable types of stone, is quarried worldwide. Since no two regions on earth have precisely identical geological composition or forces, each type of natural stone, as well as, each stone within a specific type is unique. This implies that even natural stone of an identical type varies vastly.

Some important types of natural stone used in the construction sector include Granite, Marble, Limestone, Soapstone, and Slate.

Types of Natural Stone: Natural Stone Comparison

Attribute Granite Marble Limestone Soapstone Travertine Slate
Low Maintenance   ✓    ✓
Stain Resistant     ✓       ✓    ✓
Scratch Resistant     ✓
Chemical Resistant     ✓       ✓       ✓       ✓    ✓
Heat Resistant   ✓   ✓    ✓    ✓    ✓    ✓
Solid Structure     ✓     ✓       ✓
Wide Range of Colors     ✓
Non-Porous       ✓    ✓


Granite, a type of igneous rock, contains three main minerals—plagioclase feldspar, alkali feldspar, and quartz. It’s extremely dense and hard. Speckled minerals within granite give the rock its distinctive appearance. Granite is the perfect choice for kitchen and bathroom countertops and flooring in high-traffic areas because it’s stain, scratch, and heat resistant.

Granite is one of the most renowned, most durable, and most pristine building materials. It withstands the elements exceedingly well. This natural stone suits your home’s interior as well as its exterior.


Marble, a type of metamorphic rock, consists mainly of dolomite or calcite, or a mixture of these carbonate minerals. Marble is essentially metamorphosed limestone, and its characteristics are similar to that of limestone. It’s used in similar applications as well. Nevertheless, marble is more esthetically valuable and is available in a broader range of colors.

Marble is regarded highly for its strength, beauty, and resistance to fire. This natural stone is used widely in buildings, sculptures, and monuments. Large marble blocks are used for columns, flooring, and other areas of buildings. It’s suitable for flooring, roofing, wall-cladding, and other interior and exterior applications.


Limestone, a type of sedimentary rock, presents an earthy appearance. It’s available in light and dark shades. Although most limestone is gray, several colors from white to black are available. Since limestone can be carved easily, it’s a highly preferred building stone. The surface of this natural stone can be polished smooth or textured. Limestone is not as dense as granite or marble. It’s vulnerable to stains and scratches. Limestone is used for ornate stonework, wall cladding, flooring, vanity tops, and furniture.


Travertine, a type of limestone, is soft and porous. It presents an unusual crystallized appearance. Its surface isn’t uniform and has pits or voids. A polished or honed surface is achieved by filling the surface voids. The cavities are filled with colored epoxy, matching Portland cement, or polyester resins. The cavities are also left unfilled to give a more rustic appearance. Since travertine can be easily stained and scratched, surface sealing and special care is mandatory for its maintenance. Travertine is used for fireplace surrounds, vanity tops, furniture, wall cladding, and flooring.


Sandstone consists of feldspar, minute grains of quartz, and other minerals. It includes rock fragments or organic matter as well. Pyrite, quartz, or calcite is the mineral that binds the grains together. The color of sandstone varies from gray, cream, brown, green to red, depending on its composition. Reddish-brown sandstone, labeled Brownstone, was widely used in residential construction. Sandstone is suitable for your home’s interior and exterior. It’s used as flooring and paving material.


Slate, a type of metamorphic rock, is extremely dense and durable. It’s among the world’s earliest natural products. This natural stone is available in earthy tones. Slate comprises grains of quartz and mica, plus small amounts of hematite, chlorite, and other minerals. The surface of this stone is naturally textured unless a honed finish is achieved. Slate is available in gray, black, red, and purple. The construction industry has been using slate for roofing because it is weatherproof and long lasting. Slates are used for roofing, flooring, and countertops.


Natural stone is valued for its distinctive beauty, as well as, the sense of harmonious tranquility it creates. Besides these attributes, there are other practical advantages of using natural stone products in your home. Nevertheless, you must do due diligence before purchasing natural stone products. For instance, Chinese Basalt can be wrongly grouped as Black Granite. Although the price differential between these two stones is negligible, there’s a vast difference in their performance. While the surface of Chinese Basalt stains easily when oils or pigmented liquids spill on it, the surface of Black Granite isn’t affected when oils or pigmented liquids spill on it. Similarly, you have to consider various performance attributes when you pick a natural stone product for your home.

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