Slate is a metamorphic rock composed mainly of shale, or a mixture of fine grain minerals like mica, chlorite, and quartz. These minerals are layered by time and pressure, which gives slate its unique combination of colors and texture. Slate comes in a variety of colors ranging from solid black to blues, greens, purples, reds, yellows, and pinks. Most slates vary substantially even from tile to tile in color and texture. Most slate is gauged; meaning the bottom only of the tile is flat. The surface of slate is rarely flat, because of the layering of the stone; even a gauged slate will have an uneven surface texture. Slates with high quartz content can sometimes be honed to create an even surface texture or polish. Slate comes in lots of sizes and can be combined with porcelain, ceramic, glass, or other natural stone tiles to create a unique look in any room. As with all natural stone, we recommend sealing slate at least once a year, possibly more often depending on the location where it is installed and the type of seal used. Slate can be sealed with an enhancing sealer which gives the tile a vibrant wet look.
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed of dolomites and calcium carbonate. It forms at the bottom of dried sea beds, which is why limestone tiles frequently contain fossils. Limestone is a very consistent stone, being extremely uniform in color and pattern. It comes in shades from a pale off white, to greens, blues, browns, and grays. As limestone’s composite minerals are softer, limestone cannot be polished to the same shine that marble or granite can, limestone is always honed. Limestone is a great option for floors, shower/tub surrounds, or bathroom countertops. Limestone has a fine, soft texture that compliments most designs. Limestone should also be sealed at least once per year.
Travertine is a type of Limestone that is formed at the bottom of warm temperature riverbeds. Water trickling up from the base of the riverbed creates the pits in travertine. These pits can be filled in with resins and then the tile is polished, this creates what we call a filled and honed tile. Or, the pits can be left in the stone, they will be filled during the grouting process, but this gives the tile a unique texture. Like limestone, travertine comes in shades ranging from off-white to dark brown, and nearly every color in between including purple and green. It can vary little, or substantially according to the type of stone. Some travertine can be polished, but typically travertine is honed or distressed. Travertine is a relatively soft stone and can scratch, we recommend sealing travertine at least once a year.