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    Granite is an igneous rock composed of feldspar, quartz, and small amounts of dark ferromagnesium materials. It is the most durable and least porous natural stone. These properties make it a great choice for a variety of applications indoors and out, including kitchens, bathrooms, flooring, and fireplaces. Granite is heat resistant and the least likely to stain or scratch. It is available in both slab and tile with a wide variety of colors and patterns.

    Slate is a fine grained metamorphic rock derived from sedimentary shale rock. It is a very durable natural stone that can be used indoors and out. It is commonly used for floors, countertops, backsplashes, and patio areas and is available in slab and tile form. Slate comes in two finishes, natural cleft and honed. Natural cleft slate has an uneven surface and is typically what comes to mind when you think of slate. Honed, on the other hand, is a process of grinding down the surface of the slate to a very smooth finish. Honed slate is not available in as many colors as natural cleft and is usually more expensive.

    Travertine is a sedimentary rock that is a precipitate from hot springs. It is a softer stone that is very popular for flooring, backsplashes, showers and countertops. It is a great compliment to use with other stones because of its neutral color and variation. It is available in tile and slab form. Because most travertine is honed it works well in high traffic areas. Travertine tile comes in several different sizes, forms, and patterns. From smooth with straight cut edges to a brushed texture with chiseled edges, there is a travertine to fit any style.

    Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed of calcite and dolomite. It is more dense and durable than travertine. If is often used for flooring, countertops, and backsplashes. Color choices in limestone are limited ranging from beige to gray and are very consistent in pattern. Limestone is available in tile and slab and usually comes honed which makes it a good choice for high traffic areas, although some do come polished.

    Marble is a metamorphic crystalline rock composed predominately of crystalline grains of calcite, dolomite, or serpentine. It is a soft stone most commonly used for bathroom countertops, floors, and showers. It is available in slab and tile and is usually polished. Marble requires more maintenance than most other stones. It will stain and scratch easily which makes it a less desirable choice for kitchens. Marble will also etch, or lose its shine over time. You’ve probably never seen a really old piece of marble that is still shiny, it is just part of the character. It is best to either embrace the changes that happen naturally to marble or go with a different stone.

    Onyx is a unique and exotic stone composed of cryptocrystalline calcite. It is translucent, which allows light to shine through the stone. It comes in slab and tile form and is commonly used for countertops and backsplashes. It has similar properties to marble whereas it stains, scratches, and etches. Onyx comes in red, green, white, honey and caramel, all with unique veining. Being exotic, onyx is on the expensive side.

    Quartzite is a metamorphic rock that is formed from sandstone. Quartzite is very dense and durable and comes in slab and tile form. Unlike most other stones, quartzite slabs look nothing like their tile counterparts. Slabs usually have a polished surface while the tiles have a rough texture. Quartzite slabs have very similar properties to granite and can be used anywhere. Because of its texture, quartzite tile works great around pools and does not get as hot as other materials.

    Soapstone is a massive talc that causes it to have a “soapy” feel. It is a highly heat resistant material that is often used for kitchen countertops. Because it is a softer stone, it scratches easily but with a little steel wool the scratches come right out. Soapstone is available in slab form and is limited in color options, most ranging from blue to gray. Unlike any other natural stone, soapstone has to be mineral oiled to seal the pores. This would have to be done regularly to protect from stains.