11 Different Types Of Natural Stone You Need Know

Natural stones are rocks or minerals that have been formed by geological processes. They come in many colors and textures. Natural stones are also found in a wide variety of shapes including slabs and tiles to use on floors and walls for home décor projects. Stone can be used outdoors as building materials such as steps or walkways with rails made from the same material.

People often choose natural stone because it is durable (lasting hundreds of years), low-maintenance (requires little if any maintenance) and beautiful! There are many other reasons why people prefer to use natural stone over manmade products but this article will focus on the most common types of natural stone and what makes them different from one another.


Granite is one of the most common types of natural stone. It comes in many different colors and patterns, and also a variety of textures depending on where it was formed and what minerals or elements were present when it was being formed.

This is formed at very high temperatures and can be found in places where volcanoes once were located.  It comes in shades of gray and red, but also green (the most rare), yellow or black depending on the environment in which it was formed.  The texture of granite ranges from smooth to furry.

Granite is one of the strongest types of natural stone, and not only used for flooring and wall materials.  In addition to its many uses as a building material, it is also commonly used in kitchen counter tops because it is so durable. Like most types of natural stone, granite is also low-maintenance and requires little if any maintenance. However, it does require sealants or polishes to keep the color from fading.


Limestone is also a very common type of natural stone .  Most limestone is used as a building material, but can also be used for flooring or wall materials.  The main difference between granite and limestone is that limestone is chalky whereas granite has more of a gritty feel to it.  Limestone comes in many different colors, shades and patterns ranging from golden browns and grays to white.

Lime stone may also be formed by the remains of marine organisms or coral found on the ocean floor. This type of limestone can sometimes have fossils of shells or coral within the stone itself.  Depending on its origin, limestone can also be very soft and porous.  In order to keep it from eroding or looking worn out, a sealant is needed if used on home exteriors.

This is strong but brittle so it may need extra support when being used for flooring or exterior wall materials. Limestone is one of the types of natural stone that can be cut to any shape without having a seam as a result of it being very porous.  It is also low-maintenance and will not require waxing, polishing or sealing if used indoors, however if used outdoors it may need additional protection.


Marble is another common type of natural stone.  It comes in many different colors and shades, but the most popular color is white. It has a lot of sparkle to it and is very smooth to the touch which makes it look high-end and modern.

Marble is mostly used for interior flooring or wall material, but can also be used as counter tops or ornamental pieces.  Marble is not very durable outdoors especially when compared to granite, limestone and slate.

This is easy to clean and does not require sealing if used indoors. It's low-maintenance and will not require waxing or polishing because of it providing a more modern look when left unfinished.

Marble is the softest and easiest to scratch and ding of all natural stones. If it were subjected to heavy physical abuse, marble would have a tendency to chip more frequently than other types of natural stone. Marble is susceptible to acid stains if it comes in contact with acidic materials such as vinegar or wine.


Travertine is a form of limestone deposited by mineral springs, especially hot ones. Travertine often has a fibrous or concentric appearance and exists in white, tan, and cream-colored, as well as pinkish tones. It is formed by a process of rapid precipitation of calcium carbonate from solution in ground water circulating through limestone bedrock cracks and pores.

Similar deposits formed from evaporation of near-surface limestone and are known as tufa. Travertine may precipitate out directly onto rock and other objects near the water source, or it can remain in solution until it reaches a less volatile part of the waters' flow.

There are two main types of travertine. One is formed in shallow lakes and pools, called lacustrine travertine. The other is formed on rock surfaces exposed to the atmosphere, particularly hot springs themselves, called supratidal or "supra"lacustrine travertine .

Travertine may also deposits from hot springs due to the abundance of limestone in some hot spring systems, particularly along the Yellowstone Hotspot. Travertine deposits form terraces that often impound water and are common near hot spring deposits.

Stone forming from Travertine is called travertine stone. If it flows down hill, it will form travertine terraces. Travertine is a porous stone that absorbs and retains water. It can be used to make cobbled driveways, steps, walls, fountains or sculptures.


Slate is a fine-grained, foliated, homogeneous metamorphic rock derived from an original shale-type sedimentary rock composed of clay or volcanic ash through low grade regional metamorphism. Slate is generally the product of ancient, shallow sea sediments but can also be formed as a result of high grade regional metamorphism of shale associated with a major orogeny.

Its foliations may not correspond to the original sedimentary layering, which is often horizontal and parallel in the case of slate. Slate is generally dark to black in color, easy to work and quite durable once properly set and fused into a concrete or plaster matrix. The word "slate" comes from Old French "esclat" or "esclus", which were both mainly used for roofing.

Slate is an abundant and widespread rock, occurring in gray, green, purple and black varieties; some of the finest slate producing regions include Wales in Great Britain, the French Massif Central , southwestern Germany and eastern Pennsylvania . Slate is also found in abundance in Russia, eastern Asia and the United States. It is mined in Brazil, France , Greece and the US.

Slates are divided into two main groups based on their mode of occurrence: bedded and flat-lying (or planar) slates. Bedded slate has layers that are parallel to each other often showing either an aggregate or stratified arrangement of the constituent layers.

Bedded slate is often associated with layered intrusions of granitic magma and is typically observed in the contact zone between sedimentary and igneous rocks. Flat-lying slates have a predictable orientation and can be found within Paleozoic sedimentary rocks that were originally deposited horizontally on ancient sea floors, as well as within intrusions of a granitic magma.


Quartzite is a type of metamorphic rock that consists mainly of quartz, and it is said to be a very tough mineral. This makes it possible for it to endure some of the harshest weather conditions out there, making it realistic for it to be used as a type of stone. But just because it can be used for home building purposes doesn’t mean that it is a good choice for such things.

It is quite heavy, so when you are attempting to install it in the house, you will have to do some serious planning and calculations before doing any installing, making it important that you choose professionals to do your installing.

This stone is a natural building material that is quarried in the mountains. This type of natural stone is most popularly used for roofing, paving and cladding.

Generally, quartzite is known to be a beautiful natural stone which has high-quality features, such as being very strong and stable in the interior of the home. This is a really great type of stone to choose if you want the best home for yourself.


Sandstone is a cost effective alternative to Yorkstone, and is a tough, low water absorption material. This stone is widely used for paving and. areas where a hard wearing surface is required.

The main colours of Sandstone are buff, red and yellow. Sandstone is part of the sedimentary family and can be found in a variety of colours. This stone is often seen in Castleton, Derbyshire, where it has been used for high level seating areas erected around a courtyard.

The natural advantage of sandstone being that it is durable and hard wearing whilst still being easy to cut and fabricate. This is a versatile stone that can be used for floors, walls and paving, allowing it to blend in with many types of architecture and landscape.

The colors available depend on the location from which it comes; the colour will change according to the mineral content of the stone – when working with Sandstone, keep in mind that consistency of tone is important.


This is a natural stone used widely in the UK for streets and paving areas, where it provides protection from traffic and inclement weather. Yorkstone is an attractive hard wearing stone that comes in a variety of colours including yellow/pinkish reds, browns and blacks. A typical application would be to install Yorkstone paving slabs, for a driveway, or a patio in an outdoor area.

Yorkstone is derived from sedimentary rocks that were laid down during the Carboniferous Period of geological time. This stone was formed around 340 million years ago, when coal deposits covered what are now the southern Pennines and North Yorkshire Moors. As the coal swamps dried out and became exposed to rainfall, they were transformed into Yorkstone.

Yorkstone was used extensively during the industrial revolution for buildings and flooring because it does not shrink or swell when exposed to moisture. During the 1960's a major problem occurred in many parts of England with Yorkstone paving stones disintegrating after only ten years of use.

It was found that the source of this problem was coal tar based sealants used to protect the stone during transportation and installation. It is now essential for this type of sealant not to be used on Yorkstone paving stones, or other natural stone materials.


Basalts are a highly mafic extrusive rock, and are very common cross the world because of this. There are many different names for basalts over the world, as each area has its own name for it which translate to mean 'basalt'. Basalts get there color from oxide minerals found in their matrix such as iron oxides or titanomagnetite, as well as calcium-rich minerals which form the matrix when they are brought to the surface of the earth.

Some basalts have a vesicular texture due to trapped gases and water within them. The open porosity in basalt is due to these voids, which is what gives basalts their gas permeability. The average density of basalt is around 2.65 g/cm³, but depending on how much void space is present can vary from as low as 2.4g/cm³ to as high has 3.2 g/cm³.

Basalt is an extrusive rock, which forms from magma that pushes up to the surface through volcanoes. It is commonly associated with orogeny mountain building. Basalt is most common in oceanic crust but also present in continental crust. Deccan basalts are found extensively on the Indian plate and flysch basalt can be found in the Alpine orogen.

Semi-precious stone

Semi-precious stone is a name used in jewelry and gemstone discussion to describe any natural stone that has not been extracted . The term semi - precious means something which is rare, uncommon, or not of great importance.

In the field of mining , stones that are categorized as semi-precious are usually of little practical use to mankind or have little economic value. Despite this classification, semi-precious stones tend to be quite valuable as collectibles and are often used for ornamental or lapidary purposes.

When in doubt about a stone's use, you can always check the gemological identity of a stone on one of the many websites available devoted to such discussion. You can also go to local jewelers and ask them about the origins of stones that are used in their store.


Porphyry is igneous rocks, made up mostly of crystals of plagioclase feldspar with enclosures of dark mineral matter.

Name porphyry comes from the Greek word porphyra meaning purple, in allusion to the color sometimes seen in it; it is believed that this is due to small grains or scales of ferrous iron, though the analysis of its composition shows no metallic iron.


Is Yorkstone still used anymore?

Yorkstone is still used for a wide variety of purposes, buildings and flooring included. The general requirement when choosing this type of stone is that the surface cannot have any sealant or protective treatment applied to it, the potential for degradation and disintegration can occur. 

What is the best cleaner for natural stone?

Should be cleaned once a week with a pH-neutral cleaning product like Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner. The powerful cleaner dissolves tough soils and buildup without damaging your beautiful stone surfaces, and removes soap scum, body oils and greases, bath oils, soap, and shampoo oils.


Natural stones have a variety of uses, ranging from buildings, road paving and construction, bridge construction etc., while artificial stone is mostly used for decoration purposes such as sculpture art and tombstones. This is why natural stones are more expensive than artificial stones. In addition , natural stones also last longer than artificial ones. However, there are some disadvantages of natural stones that include their high cost and being susceptible to weathering.

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