Factors to Consider in Selecting a Natural Stone
Natural stones are available in a beautiful spectrum of colors. Colors in granite and marble, for instance, can range from soft beiges and pinks and classic black-and-whites to rich corals, greens, and multi-colors. Marble traditionally features swirls and “veins” of colors, while granite has flecked or pebbled appearance. Unlike the repetitive uniformity of materials produced by machine or assemble line, natural stone’s varied appearance has wonderful character and creates a one-of-a-kind effect everywhere it is used.
Natural stone can be polished, honed, or flamed for a distinctive appearance:
- A polished finish has a glossy surface that reflects light and emphasizes the color and marking of the stone. This finish is typically used on walls, furniture tops, and floor tiles.
- A honed finish is a satin-smooth surface with relatively little light reflection. It is generally preferred for floors, stair treads, thresholds, and other areas where heavy traffic will wear off a polished finish.
- A flamed finish is a rough-textured surface used frequently on granite floor tiles
The harder the stone, the more it resists abrasion. One measure of natural stone’s strength is the Measurement of Hardness (MOH) rating: 1 the softest and 10 the hardest. On the MOH scale, most marbles rate “3” and quartz-based granites rate “7.” Using a softer stone simply requires the homeowner to use gentler cleansers and more frequent dusting to prevent scratching.