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Know Your Stone

With the wide selection of stone available for your custom installation projects, selecting the right type, color and even texture can be overwhelming. At Home Design Center, we can provide expert recommendations to make your natural or man-made custom stone installations a reality that meets your expectations. We will recommend colors and textures that fit your style and theme, but we also will recommend certain types of stone that may function better for space. Check out these stone and tile brands available at Home Design Center: Cosentino, Cambria Quartz, MSI Quartz, Daltile – One Quartz, Vicostone Quartz, Caesarstone – Quartz, Topcu Tile + Stone and Arley Wholesale.

Below, you will find a primer to educate you on the basics of stone—from characteristics and color to types, texture and more. The information provided here may not answer all your questions, but it may help inform the questions you ask us. Please contact us to schedule a consultation or stop by our showroom for more assistance!

Types of Stone

  • Granite
  • Quartz
  • Limestone
  • Marble
  • Onyx
  • Quartzite
  • Slate
  • Travertine

Visibly granular rock consisting primarily of quartz, mica and feldspar that ranges from nearly white to shades of gold, pinks, greens, blues, grays and blacks. Ideal for countertops, walls, floors and more. Recommended for use in high traffic areas such as kitchens and bathrooms.

Quartz is a man-made product that is primarily made up of natural quartz and then mixed with polymers and fillers to maintain its low porosity and easy maintenance. Quartz comes in many different colors and patterns which are known to be consistent from one slab to the next. There are many different manufacturers and brands of quartz, however, the manufacturing process is the same regardless of the brand. Quartz is usually recommended when a customer wants a lighter, brighter option in a kitchen, but does not want the maintenance associated with marble. Quartz is marketed to be "virtually" stain resistant and maintenance free, however, we do recommend sealing the quartz even if there is a manufacturer's warranty just to be on the safe side.

Composed of the mineral calcite or dolomite, sometimes both. Generally softer and less dense than granite, but more homogeneous in appearance. Popular for fireplaces, backsplashes, interior and wall cladding and flooring.

Displays distinct crystalline texture, consisting of carbonate minerals calcite and dolomite, either alone or a combination of all. Typically softer than granite and available in many colors. Marble is typically not recommended for use in high traffic areas such as kitchens due to the porosity and how it reacts with certain substances. If you choose to install marble we recommend a honed or leathered finish to reduce the appearance of wear and etching of the stone. You should also seal your marble every three months to avoid staining.

Valued for its translucent quality, this gemstone is of the calcite variety with an extremely fine crystal formation. Ideal for countertops, tabletops and floors, as well as other applications where it can be backlit for dramatic effect.

Though it resembles marble, it is denser and harder. Quartzite is an extremely hard stone that’s suitable for many outdoor living and interiors. Quartzite has become increasingly popular over the past few years due to its durability and its classic clean look. This material is very versatile and can be used in all spaces and its maintenance is similar to that of granite.

Mostly mica, chlorite and quartz, slate is a micro-crystalline rock commonly derived from shale. Available in a honed or cleft finish, slate works well in exterior applications in no-freeze areas.

Crystalline or micro-crystalline limestone that has an open texture and contains pores and cavities. Pores can be filled or honed. Available in light and warm earth tone shades, it’s most popularly used as interior and exterior flooring. 

Surface Texture

With so many types of stone available, its appearance can be altered with a particular type of surface during the fabrication process. These are the six main types of surface textures which can be selected.


Flat to low-sheen gloss, not as vibrant as polished stone. The surface is very smooth but very porous. Common in high traffic buildings. Floors should be treated with sealer due to its porosity.


Performed by using a gang saw that gives tiles straight linear edges. Sawn tiles add a stylish, contemporary feel.


Matte gloss that is the result of a pressurized flow of sand water.


Rough surface created through heat during fabrication. Crystals pop during this process, resulting in a rough surface that is very porous and must be sealed.

Bush Hammered

A pounding action that creates a textured surface to varying degrees of roughness.


High gloss that can wear away with time due to heavy foot traffic or improper maintenance. Polishing powders used during fabrication brings out the naturally brilliant colors and grains of natural stone.

Stone Colors

Stone is formed from various natural minerals, which are what gives it its color. The colors, patterns and crystal formations of stones are affected by temperature and pressure. Again, this is what results in no two pieces of stone being identical. To preserve natural stone colors, use only recommended cleaners and protect your installation from sunlight as much as possible, as it can cause fading.

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Stone Reflectivity

Natural crystals present in stone is what gives it its shine. Of course, during the fabrication process polishing bricks and powders bring out this sparkle. But this can dull over time if not maintained. Floors particularly suffer from sediment and grit eroding crystal when crushed underfoot.

This shine can be restored through the use of polishing powders, proper mopping and maintenance and even protective measures, such as placing mats inside entrances to collect as much dirt as possible to keep it from entering the building.

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Stone Hardness

The density of stone is important to consider, particularly in the application of chemicals to the surface of natural stone countertops and other installs. Stones vary in hardness and porosity, so using only recommended chemicals or cleaners is emphasized. The wrong chemical or cleaner applied to a countertop can seep into the stone, causing corrosion and pockets of weakness in it.

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Maintaining Natural Stone

Preserve the look of your natural stone countertop by using simple cleaners that don’t contain strong acidic or alkaline agents. Using mild dish soap and following with a dry towel will suffice to maintain custom stone kitchen countertops. Applying an impregnating sealer is also recommended to bring out the natural shine. For showers, squeegee after each use to prevent alkaline and soap scum buildup. Periodically apply a seal to your showers as well for extra protection and care.

At Home Design Center, our design consultants are trained to offer their professional advice to each customer. Our consultants will come directly to your house and evaluate the starting point of your project. We will offer you an in-home estimate, providing you with recommendations and where we need to start. No matter how big or small the project, Home Design Center takes our customers dreams and builds them into a reality. Give us a call at 251-923-0073 for more information.

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