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Customer information to assist in choosing the right Natural Stone Tile


What are the different types of stones?

There are various types of stones that are used for flooring and decorative purposes. The most well known ones are Marble, Granite, Travertine, Limestone, Sandstone, Basalt and Slate.

Why choose Natural Stone?

Natural Stone flooring is beautiful and will add a stunning feature to any home. Stone is the only material that improves with age, it lasts a lifetime and its natural variation adds character. It is hard wearing, very practical and gains its own patina over time. It is worth investing in natural stone as it lasts for years and will enhance the value of your home.

Where do stones come from?

Mountains are the largest source of natural stone. Riverbeds and sea are also the sources of natural stone.

Is one stone better than other? What is the best stone?

Each type of natural stone has unique characteristics that make them harder, softer or shinier. Depending on your application, there are some design preferences of some type over another.

Are some country's stones better than others?

There is a general misconception that some countries produce better stones than others. Natural stones come from the nature itself, they are raw materials for tiles and slabs. The manufacturing processes will bring out the beauty of the natural stone. Rosa Stone's manufacturers have state of the art manufacturing facilities capable of producing high quality natural stone products.

What are the benefits of a natural stone floor?

Natural stone flooring comes in many styles and can suit both a traditional and contemporary setting. It is a very adaptable material that is at home in a country cottage as well as an urban townhouse or apartment. Ideal for hallways, kitchens, dining rooms, conservatories and bathrooms and increasingly being used in living areas and bedrooms. Stone goes well with other natural materials such as wood and works particularly well with underfloor heating. Natural stone flooring is unique as every tile is a one off and this look cannot be recreated by man-made material. Fossils, shells and crystal veins are all marks of authenticity.

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Is stone flooring more expensive than other types of flooring?

It is worth investing in a natural stone floor, as they last much longer than carpet, timber floors or laminate. The price of Natural Stone flooring from Rosa Stone can be very similar to that of solid wood flooring. Natural Stone flooring from Rosa Stone is very cost effective in the long run because of the longevity of the material. Once laid, it will be there to be enjoyed for many years.

Why are some stones more expensive than others?

The price of the stone depends on several factors, including where the stone comes from, how unique the source or colour is, and how hard it is to cut and make into tiles. The more expensive stones tend to be very rare or have special characteristics. Rosa Stone holds a huge amount of stock from our own quarries and from selective quarries around the world. As Rosa Stone buys in bulk, we are able to pass savings onto the customer and offer very good value prices.

Are more expensive stones better?

Not exactly. The price of natural stone depends on the capacity of its quarry and its production volume. The higher the production, the less expensive the price is. On the other hand, some of the world's best stones are less expensive due to their enormous reserves.

Will a natural stone floor add value to my house?

Yes, many estate agents agree that investing in a beautiful and long lasting natural stone tile will reflect in the asking price of your property.

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What types of stone flooring are available?

For interior floors, the choice consists of limestone, travertine, marble, granite, sandstone, onyx, basalt or slate. Rosa Stone has a stock range of many different products in its Sydney warehouse, so there is a Natural Stone Tile and a price range to suit everybody.

What are the different finishes?

Finishing stone is similar to a sanding process. Smaller grit and longer sanding gives stone more shiny polished look, whereas less sanding will make it look more natural. Finish is a design preference. Usually polished surfaces are used where a modern look is sought. They require more delicate care and handling compared to antiqued or tumbled surfaces which have a natural patina and will take a better wear and tear over time. Some stones like Travertine have natural holes as a result of sedimentary minerals. These voids or holes can be left unfilled to give even more natural look to the floor. They are also available as filled Travertine or you can grout the holes when you grout your joints.

What are the different types of edges? What are the differences between them?

As for the type of finishes, the edge finish is also a design preference. Below are the type of edge finishes generally preferred: Straight cut or SC: Tiles are sawn and has a sharp edge. Bevelled: Also called Chamfered, the bevel is used to make installation easier and to eliminate sharp leveling differences on the floor between tiles when grout is used.

What are the advantages of natural stone over man-made stones?

Natural stone is natural and creates a unique atmosphere everywhere it is used. They will not let go of their beauty even after thousands years. Man-made stones are esthetically repetitive and have artificial look. They can wear easily over time and will quickly loose their appeal.

Why would I want to use a porous travertine?

Travertine is a wonderful natural material that gives warm, old world look at affordable prices. Also it is easy to maintain. If you don't like holes, you can have your tiles grouted by your installer.

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Design your Space

Is it better to get a lighter colour than a dark one?

This is strictly a matter of taste. Generally, it is better to use lighter colour stones where you don't have a lot of natural light exposure.

Why do I want to use natural stone on the wall? Can I use slabs for my wall?

Stone Tiles can also be used for bathrooms, showers, and backsplashes where your walls are exposed to a lot of wet and slippery elements. It is also easy to clean and repents water. Yes you can use a slab on walls. Slabs look great as kitchen splashbacks. Slabs can also be used for shower walls. Some Stone Slabs are very popular for kitchen benches.

Can I mix different stones with different textures in the same room?

Yes you can. However it is recommended that you use use materials from the same parts of the world to keep some similar characteristics. You can still use different colours.

Where do I use Decos?

Decorative natural stones are mostly used to accentuate your tiles, floor and walls.

Is a polished stone good to use in a bathroom floor or foyer?

Yes, almost every five star hotel uses polished marble in their bathroom and showers.

Can I do my countertop using tiles or other natural stone products?

Yes, almost every five star hotel uses polished marble in their bathroom and showers.

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What is Limestone?

A Limestone is a sedimentary rock. It is made up of layers of calcium carbonate formed from the accumulation of organic matter in shallow seas, which is then turned to stone by millions of years of pressure. Limestones come in a variety of density and hardness and some rare limestones are as tough as granite.

What is Travertine?

Travertine is also a sedimentary rock, which is made up of layers of calcite formed from the accumulation of organic matter in hot springs and spa areas. The stone has a natural honeycomb structure, where water has flowed through the material. It is a very strong stone, which when cut into tiles, exposes the small holes on the surface. These holes can be left unfilled to leave a natural texture or they are filled in the factory with a very hard resin and honed smooth. Small holes may appear on the surface of the tiles over time, this is part of the charm of this ancient stone.

What is Marble?

Marble is a metamorphic rock and started its life as limestone, which is then crystallised by immense heat and pressure. Marble obtains its different colours from the minerals and chemical elements in the stone.

What is Slate?

The stone industry describes Slates as stones with a riven texture, which is produced because the stone splits naturally. In geological terms slate is categorised as a metamorphic rock.

What is Riven?

Slate naturally has a riven surface, where the stone splits due to a natural cleavage. This textured surface is great for grip. For ease of laying, the best quality slates are calibrated, which means they are completely flat on the underside.

What is Basalt?

Basalt is an igneous rock, and has been formed from liquid magma and lava which has cooled very quickly, usually by water. Basalt is a very hard stone, which has a low porosity. It should still be sealed for ease of maintenance.

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What is the difference between real natural stone tiles and imitation-stone?

Man-made tiles will never match the beauty and individuality of real natural stone floors. Ask for a sample and you will easily see and feel the difference between the real and the fake stone. Reconstituted Stone is NOT natural stone. Replica stone or reconstituted stone is made from cement and aggregate with added artificial dyes. Porcelain tile manufacturers have tried without success to recreate the natural variation and beauty of real stone floors but even their best copies are more expensive than the real thing! Natural stone floors have been tried and tested over the centuries, who knows how well these new man-made products will perform in years to come.

Is it true that you do not need to seal replica stone and concrete?

No, replica stone floors and concrete work surfaces are more porous than natural stone and will require more treatments with resins, sealants, stain inhibitors and wax polishes in order to maintain them.

How old is natural stone?

It depends when they were formed. If the stone were formed during the Jurassic era then the stone would be about 300 million years old. Some Travertines are relatively young and were formed about 10 thousand years ago.

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Color & Style

What colours are natural stone tiles available in?

There are an infinite number of colours to choose from. Natural stone comes in a great variety of tones and shades. Because Limestone is a natural material, it comes in natural earth tones ranging from creams, beiges to blues and dark browns. There are a vast range of coloured marbles including bright reds and pure whites. Slates and granites are available in a huge range of mid tone and dark colours including greens, grey, black and multi-coloured to name a fraction of the range available. The colours, in which natural stone is available in, are endless. Rosa Stone has a huge choice to suit everybody’s needs and colour schemes.

What patterns is natural stone flooring available in?

Rosa Stone has square tiles that can be laid in a grid, diamond or brick bond patterns. Rectangular tiles can be laid in grid, brick bond or herringbone patterns. Tumbled Travertine comes in repeating patterns of different sized stone that recreate the random feel of a Roman paving. Honed Limestones and Travertines can be cut into hexagonals and laid with insets to design a Georgian style floor. Contemporary floors suit large tiles. There are a huge variety of designs to choose from and will certainly be a style to suit all projects.

What stone is recommended for older properties?

Some customers may be looking for a stone floor that looks as though it had been walked on for decades or centuries. Tumble, Brushed or Antique stone floors are perfect when looking for a sympathetic material for period homes or renovation projects. A tumbled, brushed or chipped edge stone floor in a repeating pattern, with different sized tiles mixed together, works particularly well for that authentic antique look and complements other natural materials such as original timber beams and old wooden doors. For an eclectic look, aged stone can be mixed successfully with minimalist furniture and accessories.

What type of stone flooring is recommended for contemporary interiors?

Honed Limestone has a smooth matt surface and straight lines, which lends itself to clean uncluttered modern rooms or classical interiors. When creating a stylish clean look, the larger the better.

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What textures are available?

Honed, Polished, Riven, Tumbled, Antiqued, Brushed, Unfilled.

What is the different between honed and polished?

The most common finish on Limestone and Travertine floors is honed, which is ground to a smooth matt sheen for a very contemporary or classic look. Granite and Marble traditionally come in a polished finish where the stone has been ground extra smooth to a gloss finish.

Why do I need to apply a sealant to a polished marble tile that already has a gloss finish?

The gloss finish on your Marble Tiles is achieved in the factory by rubbing the stone thousands of times with special grinding machines, buffing pads and abrasive powders. The stone becomes shiny because the crystals in the stone reflect light the more they are buffed. A polished stone has not been coated with any liquid gloss or wax. Even though the Marble Tile has a glassy appearance it will still be slightly porous. For ease of maintenance, it is advised to saturate the stone with an impregnating sealant, which forms an invisible barrier over the pores and capillaries of the stone to protect it.

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Cleaning & Maintenance

Is stone flooring easy to maintain?

Yes, all natural stone is easy to keep clean, once it is fully impregnated with the right penetrating sealer. Your tiler can apply the sealer at the installation stage, so no need to ”do it yourself”. Rosa Stone recommend Lithofin Sealers and we are distributor of their product range. Lithofin manufacture particular sealers which are a clear solution and therefore do not change the colour or appearance of the stone and will not change the surface finish. The seaer will cover both the grout and the stone, so that hygiene will not be a problem in kitchens or bathrooms. Any liquids such as water, wine or oil will rest on the top of the stone, ready to be wiped away with a paper towel or damp cloth.

How should natural stone floor be cleaned?

Once the stone is sealed thoroughly, then ongoing maintenance is simple and easy. General cleaning only requires sweeping the stone and mopping with warm water and a stone soap or alternatively you can use a Lithofin mild PH neutral liquid detergent. To prolong the life of your stone floor it is best to avoid the use of bleach, acidic or abrasive cleaning products, as most natural stone tiles react to acids.

Are natural stone floors practical for families and pet owners?

Yes, choose mid-tone colours such as beiges, coffee colours and mushroom colours which are great for hiding everyday wear and camouflage your children’s muddy footprints! In addition, many common childhood allergies are greatly improved by replacing carpets that can harbour dust mites with hard flooring such as natural stone. Natural stone floors are excellent for pet owners, as dog and cat hairs become easy to sweep up. With stone flooring there is no more hours of scrubbing carpets to clean up your pets “little accidents”, just a quick mop.

Is there a stone that will not show the dirt?

The beauty of a natural stone floor is that you can choose a stone with natural colour variation. This variation means that the colour will have depth and will not be flat. Stone with a colour variation is terrific for not showing dirt. Choose a mid toned hard Limestone or Travertine.

How often should a natural stone floor be resealed?

It depends on how much wear and tear a natural stone floor has under gone. On average, it may need resealing after 5-7 years, providing the stone was fully saturated on installation and that the stone has been well maintained and cleaned.

Will the sealant wear off?

No, sealants that impregnate the stone do not wear off because they penetrate deep into the stone and do not just rest on the surface. If you have stone in your house in a room that is used intensively, then you may wish to top up the sealant and reseal the stone more often than 5-7 years, but this is very easy to do.

Do you need to reseal stone every 6 months?

No, It is not true that you have to reseal stone every 6 months, providing you use a good quality sealer. Each floor is different, but on average natural stone floors may need to be resealed every 5-7 years.

How easy is it to reseal a natural stone floor?

Very easy and can be done by almost anyone by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Just give the floor a thorough clean, wait to dry and reapply the sealer. Open then windows for ventilation, while you are doing this and leave to dry. This process should only take an hour or so for an averaged size room.

Should a stone floor be sealed with Linseed Oil?

No, modern impregnating sealers are much more effective than old-fashion treatments such as Linseed Oil or bees wax. Modern sealers do not leave a greasy film over the stone nor do they change the colour or texture.

What happens if red wine or cooking oil is spilled on the stone?

Don't worry – a properly sealed stone floor will repel the liquid. The sealer will buy you time as it protects the stone with an invisible barrier which means that any liquid will appear as droplets on the surface of the stone. Wipe off the wine or oil immediately and then wash it with warm water and some appropriate non acidic detergent. If wine, vinegar of food acid is left on the floor for a period then it may start to penetrate the sealant and etch the stone’s surface. However, any etching normally disappears in time as the stone is walked over.

How long will my stone floors last?

Natural stone is the only floor covering that improves with age! As the floor is walked on it develops its own unique patina and beautiful sheen. Stone was formed hundreds of millions of years ago, so a new stone floor will last for the enjoyment of generations to come. Most commercial stone floors where thousands of people walk over them every week are expected to last 20 years before they need restoration. The pyramids in Egypt are 5,000 years old and the oldest limestone floor in Britain is 7,000 years old!

Is it possible to tell if natural stone tiles are sealed properly?

If you pour an egg cup of water on to your natural stone floor it should pool on the surface in a large droplet. Leave the water for ten minutes, when you return, it should remain on the surface of the stone. If the water has absorbed into the floor and left a dark patch then the floor requires additional sealant. To test stone wall tiles, splash water onto your tiles and the liquid should run down the tiles like rain drops running down a window pane.

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Can natural stone floors be used anywhere in my house?

In general, natural stone can go anywhere, but each stone has different properties with its own benefits and advantages. Hard limestones are excellent in intensively used areas such as hallways and kitchens and soft limestones are best limited to use in bathrooms

Can natural stone be used in my bathroom?

Opt for the neutral tones of natural stone in a bathroom if you have a small room, to make it appear bigger.

Can limestone tiles be used in bathrooms?

Yes, limestone is perfect to use in bathrooms and unlike wood or laminate, limestone tiles do not warp easily when exposed to water and humidity. Stone surfaces for bathroom flooring are obviously hard wearing and since they work in both traditional and modern settings, have a timeless appeal.

Can marble be used in bathrooms?

Yes. In Europe it is very common to find polished marble in bathrooms, but it will be slippery when wet. As with any tiled floors it is probably sensible to put a bath matt down when getting out of the bath or shower. Marble also comes in a honed version or tumbled version, which have more grip than polished marble. Tumbled marble tiles and mosaics are particularly good in bathrooms and provide excellent slip-resistant flooring.

Are mosaics suitable for bathrooms?

Mosaics are especially popular for bathrooms. Incorporating strips of mosaic helps to break up a wall of one solid colour. Mosaics work particularly well when used in abundance to highlight a particular area of the room;- shower walls, splashbacks above your basin or as a feature wall behind the bath. Small tiles of stone mosaics are flexible enough to cover curved walls or circular shower enclosures. Mosaic floors in bathrooms are very practical and stylish.

Can natural stone tiles be used in a wet room?

Yes, natural stone has been used successfully for years in wet rooms.

Can natural stone tiles be used in the hallway?

Yes, natural stone is great for creating a first impression. It is perfect for areas of heavy use where a tough, hard wearing solution is needed. Natural stone is an incredibly resilient material as well as making your hall welcoming and stylish.

Can natural stone tiles be used in the living room?

Yes, natural stone is a stylish choice for any living area. Add that cosy feeling to a natural stone floor by installing underfloor heating or with the simple addition of colourful rugs. If you want to change the décor of your room, then you just need to change the rugs. A neutral coloured stone will go with any colour scheme so if you wish to change your décor in future there is no need to go to the expense of changing the whole floor.

Can natural stone tiles be used in the conservatory?

Yes, a natural stone is a practical and elegant choice for your conservatory floor. Natural stone flooring with a honed finish is the perfect natural background for your favourite plants and the matt surface dissipates the bright daylight. Unlike wood, carpet or vinyl, most pale stones will not fade in direct sunlight.

Can natural stone tiles be used in the dining room?

Yes - Natural stone comes in a variety of styles that will suit any room scheme whether it’s contemporary or traditional. Stone is the ultimate flooring to impress your guests at any dinner party. Felt pads on dining room chair legs will protect the surface of the stone.

Can natural stone flooring be used in the kitchen?

Natural stone is functional, easy to clean and stylish. When the stone is sealed it become hygienic to clean and water resistant. You can choose from a variety of non-slip finishes.

Can the same stone be used to cover the whole of my ground floor?

Yes, this is a growing trend in open-plan living spaces, united with one stone throughout

Can natural stone tiles be used in the bedroom?

Yes, this is becoming more popular in Australia. Solid stone flooring is ideal to keep environments dust free and is increasingly becoming more popular with interior designers, especially those putting full sized baths into master bedrooms.

What stone floor would suit the architecture of a Georgian House?

A honed Limestone or Travertine floor would really work well in this instance. Tiles with Marble inserts will also add to the authenticity of recreating that classic stone floor.

In a kitchen, what should be fitted first: the new kitchen units or the floor?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It depends on your timescales and what is the easiest option for your builder or tiler. Some prefer to tile under the units, which means that appliances are easier to push in and out when they are on the same level if they need to be repaired. Tiling under the unit means that if you want to change your kitchen in 10 or 20 years time, you won’t have to re-tile the floor.

Is it possible to match a natural stone from a small sample of an old stone?

It is possible to source the stone of the same name from the original quarry but sometimes due to the natural variation of stone, it may not always exactly match colourwise. However, once laid it will mellow with use over time and eventually the two stones will not stand out.

Can the same stone be used on the wall as on the floor?

Yes, you can use the same stone on the floors and walls.

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Is Limestone a soft stone?

Not always, there are some very hard limestones available, which are as hard as granite. Some of the less expensive limestones on the markets are of the softer variety. Ensure you go to a stone specialist who only sells top quality limestone.

Is natural stone harder wearing than porcelain or ceramics?

Yes, to cut stone you need a diamond tipped blade. Cutting porcelain or ceramic is much easier, so it stands to reason that stone is harder wearing.

Is natural stone porous?

Yes, all natural stone is slightly porous to different degrees. Luckily, today’s modern silicone sealants help protect the stone very effectively for years and years.

Is granite porous?

Yes, Granite has a low porosity so for ease of long term maintenance treat with a silicone-based penetrating sealant.

Is natural stone cold?

No, stone is not inherently cold. On the contrary, stone is wonderful at heat transference and retains heat for long periods. If you have a well-insulated house with modern central heating then a stone floor will normally be a few degrees below the ambient temperature of the room. The floor temperature will also depend on what is underneath the floor (i.e. the subfloor) and how well insulated it is. If you are laying a natural stone floor onto a concrete screed it may be worth considering the now affordable luxury of underfloor heating. For that added comfort, electric underfloor warming systems radiate a gentle heat across a stone floor as well a providing warmth for bare feet.

Can stone flooring be damaged easily?

No, you need incredibly hard diamonds to cut stone so imagine how hard it is to damage. Stone develops its own sheen when it is walked on just as gold jewellery develops a patina when it is worn. Shoes abrading the surface of the floor over months and years create this beautiful patina.

Is a stone floor suitable in a home that is prone to flooding?

Unlike wood or carpet, which are ruined after flooding, a natural stone floor on a concrete based can generally be revived after drying out and being thoroughly cleaned and resealed.

Is there a choice of finishes for granite work surfaces?

Yes, Granite can be polished for an elegant, glossy finish or honed for a smooth matt look. Choose a high gloss finish which reflects natural daylight or matt for a more contemporary style.

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Stone Care

Will my stone stain?

We recommend sealing all natural stone with a good sealer. Once sealed, all stone will be stain resistant.For further information visit our Stone Care page.

Will my stone change colors or degrade in quality when sealed?

Different sealers have different degrees of changing the stone colour. However, some sealers will give a slight wet and cleaner look to it. There are sealers without colour enhancers and it will almost retain the original look of the stone.

How often do I need to seal my stone?

Depending on the usage and sealer applied. See your sealer's instructions. You can check out the Marble Institute of America for stone care information and check out Rosa Stone SEALER page for great information in choosing regards to choosing the right sealer.

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Rosa Stone hold extensive stock ensuring that it’s impressive portfolio of tiles are normally available for delivery. Rosa Stone constantly monitors stock for quality and consistency.

What are the standard sizes for a tile floor? What is the standard thickness of a tile?

Commonly used tiles are 30cm by 30cm, 60cm by 30cm, 60cm by 40cm and 60cm by 60cm. Larger tiles are available and may be ordered specially for a project. The tile size is also a design preference however, larger the area you want to cover you might consider using larger dimensions. Standard thickness is 12mm to 20mm for tiles and upto 30mm for pavers.

How much does stone weigh?

For guidance the weight of stone units should be taken as follows:-
10mm thick = 30kg/m2
20mm thick = 60kg/m2
30mm thick = 90kg/m2

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The Source

How are limestone, travertine and marble tiles made?

Natural stone is quarried in large blocks, which are then taken to a factory and cut into slabs and then into tiles. From the factory they are packaged very carefully in crates and then shipped by container to their destination.

Where does natural stone come from?

Natural stone tiles are traditionally produced in France, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Greece and Spain. New countries that are also now producing excellent quality natural stone tiles include Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, India, Brazil and Argentina. Chinese sourced product is a little risky unless it is a Granite or Basalt.

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The information provided on this page is the property of Rosa Stone and cannot be copied without a written authorization from Rosa Stone. Rosa Stone is not responsible for any damages, losses or injuries that may be caused by the information provided here. It is the customers responsibility to make sure that proper installation, care and guidelines are used before using any of products.


Please contact us if you would like to discuss your project requirements with one of our natural stone specialists.

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