Frequently Asked Questions
Find answers to the common questions that our customers ask about natural stones, designs, stone care and shipping.
* 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, and slate.
* Where do stones come from?
Mountains are the largest source of natural stone. Rriverbeds and sea are also the sources of natural stone.
* What are the shinny flakes inside the stone?
Each stone type has different minerals, which gives various properties to 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. For example, limestone tiles are not suitable for high traffic areas but will be perfect for wall applications.
StoneTileDepot.com only carries stone tiles and decorative natural stone products, which are suitable for interior or exterior floors and walls.
* Are some countrie’s stones better than others?
There is a general misconception that some countries produces better stones than other. Natural stones come from the nature itself; they are raw materials for tiles and slabs industry. The manufacturing processes will bring out the beauty of the natural stone. StoneTileDepot.com manufacturers have state of the art manufacturing facilities capable of producing high quality natural stone products.
* What are the different finishes? What are the differences between?
Finishing stone is similar to sanding process: smaller grit and longer sanding gives stone more shinny polished look, whereas less 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. Preferred by customer in Southeast and Southwest for seamless floors without any grout joints.
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 makes an exotic stone “exotic”?
Exotic stones come from very remote parts of the world; they require extra care in production and handling. Due to the weather conditions, seasonal limitations, transportation restrictions, those stones are available in small quantities, therefore they are exotic.
* What are the advantages of natural stone over man-made stones?
Do you know a plastic surface that looks fascinating after couple of years? 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. In addition natural stones might not need constant maintenance: Take a look at the Lincoln Memorial, or The Pyramids they still look good after all these years, don’t they?
* What are the standard sizes for a tile floor? What is the standard thickness of a tile?
Commonly used tiles are 4×4 to 24×24. The tile size is also a design preference however, larger the area you want to cover you might consider using larger dimensions. Most of the interior stone tiles are 12X12 or 18X18, standard thickness is 3/8” on 12X12 and ½” on 18X18.
We do not recommend tiles thicker than ½ “ unless you have a concrete floor and have a cement mud installation. Please consult your installer for more information.
* What are the decorative stones? What are they used for?
Decorative stones tiles are used for accentuate various surface covering forms. You can use mouldings to frame an art work on your wall. You can use borders to clarify the distinction between your living room and kitchen. The possibilities are immense with mosaics, mouldings, and borders.
* What is the temperature of the stone? What are my options on heating floors?
In general natural stone retains heat and cold. It is cooler than room temperature. If you prefer heated floors, please consult your installer for your options.
Choosing the Right Stone
* 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 like carrara or travertines are less expensive due to their enormous reserves.
* Is it better to get a lighter color than darker color?
This is strictly a matter of taste. Generally, it is better to use lighter color stones where you don’t have a lot of natural light exposure.
* 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.
* Does marble stain?
As a type of limestone, marble is made up of thousands of tiny grains deposited over the centuries into the stone. For this reason, different marbles mined in areas all over the world will have different densities. Some types of marbles that are exceptionally dense create a natural sealant that does not allow them to stain, while less dense marbles are more porous and susceptible to staining. Even if your marble does not stain, a spill left on its surface for a long time will etch into the stone, which is why sealing marble tiles is always recommended.
* Does granite stain?
Granite is a remarkably dense and strong stone, and therefore, it is naturally resistant to stains. Liquids that are spilled on its surface do not penetrate the stone if cleaned up within a few minutes. Water-based stains that are left on its surface also leave no lasting effect, though homeowners may notice a slight discoloration where the stone has temporarily absorbed the water. Do not panic, this is perfectly normal and once the water evaporates the stone’s color will return to normal. However, non-water based stains, like cooking oil, will eventually be absorbed by the granite if left on its surface. If this happens, apply a paste solution over the stain that will draw the oil out of the stone.
* Does travertine stain?
Like marble, travertine is also a type of limestone. By its nature, travertine is highly porous and not as dense as other stones, which means that it can be stained easily. Even slightly acidic liquids like fruit juices and soft drinks can stain and etch travertine tiles within a few minutes. For this reason, it is recommended that travertine tiles always be sealed to prevent staining and that they should not be installed as kitchen countertops, though they can be used as kitchen floors.
* Does limestone stain?
Limestone refers to natural stones that have been fashioned together, grain by grain, over thousands of years. While some limestone rocks, like certain marbles, are dense enough to resist staining, most are so porous that they easily absorb liquids. A prime concern for limestone stains are acidic solvents like lemon juice, which can also etch the underlying stone in a matter of minutes. Because it can be so easily stained, it is highly recommended that limestone tiles be sealed to prevent them from being ruined. Most experts also recommend against using limestone in a kitchen because of its strong reaction to acids.
* Does onyx stain?
Onyx is a crystallized stone banded with silica quartz minerals. It is a highly delicate stone, and even scratches against its surface will cause parts to flake off. Like limestone, onyx is a naturally porous stone that easily absorbs liquids. While a water stain will eventually evaporate if left on its own, other stains will damage and discolor the underlying stone. Therefore, it is highly advisable that onyx stones be sealed to protect their natural beauty against stains and scratches. They should also not be used in high traffic areas and any spills need to be immediately cleaned.
* Does slate stain?
Slate is a very dense metamorphic rock. Because it is not terribly porous, it cannot be easily stained. However, despite its density, slate tends to be soft and therefore is susceptible to liquid stains, particularly oil-based ones, but even water can soak into the stone and do damage. Therefore, it is recommended that slate be sealed with a non-glossy sealant that does not rob the stone of its natural beauty. If materials are spilled on slate, they should be cleaned up immediately to prevent any damage.
* Does marble scratch easily?
Marble is one of the least porous types of limestone, but its surface is soft. It can easily be scratched or chipped, especially by metal knives and pots. It also etches easily, which means that any acidic-based material will eat into the stone and create small scratches. Common kitchen items like lemon juice, soda cans, and coffee cups can easily etch a marble countertop. While tumbled or antiqued marble holds up better against scratches, expert do not recommend using polished marble for kitchen counters unless you are willing to live with some scratches on its surface.
* Does granite scratch easily?
Granite rocks are known for their strength. Not only is this stone incredibly dense, it is also unbelievably hard. In fact, the only thing that can scratch granite is either another piece of granite or a diamond. For this reason, granite is an excellent choice for high traffic areas and kitchen countertops. Even knife blades that slip while cutting will not damage the granite counter, though it may chip your knife.
* Does travertine scratch easily?
Travertine has some of the same issues as marble does when it comes to scratching. As a type of highly porous limestone, travertine is extremely soft when it comes to durability. It is primarily made of calcite, which only has a 3 rating on the Mohs scale of hardness. This means that a knife blade, which has a rating of 5.5, could easily cut into the stone. Another source of scratching on travertine comes from etching, where the stone is exposed to acidic content. Many common kitchen products are slightly acidic, and if they are spilled on the stone they will quickly eat away at its surface. For this reason, travertine is not recommended for kitchen countertops.
* Does limestone scratch easily?
Limestone is a soft and porous stone, which means that its surface can be easily scratched. Since it too is primarily made from calcite, it is at a 3 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Again, this creates problems in the kitchen, since cutting utensils are rated quite higher and a single slip of the knife can lead to scratches. Like both marble and travertine, limestone is weak against acidic liquids. Any spills left on its surface that contain slight amounts of acid, like fruit juice, can quickly eat into the stone, creating additional scratching. Therefore, this stone is not recommended for kitchen countertops, though it can be used for kitchen floors.
* Does onyx scratch easily?
Onyx is made out of bands of chalcedony, a silica-based mineral. While the chalcedony in onyx is rated at either a 6 or a 7 on the Moh’s hardness scale, the rest of the stone is considerably softer. This means that onyx can easily be scratched, causing it to flake and ruin the overall appearance of the natural stone. Do not use onyx tiles in high traffic areas like kitchen counters.
* Does slate scratch easily?
Slate is a particularly dense stone, but at the same time it also has a soft, uneven surface. This means that it can be scratched easily by commonplace things like the dog’s nails and metallic toys. However, because it is so dense it is not susceptible to acids, which means that etching is not a concern. While it would not work as a countertop, slate is durable enough to be used for kitchen flooring.
Design Your Space
* Would a darker color darken the room?
Generally, it is better to use lighter color 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 repent water.
* Can I mix different stones with different textures in the same room?
Yes, you can. However, it is recommended that you use materials from the same parts of the world to keep some similar characteristics. You can still use different colors.
* Where do I use decos?
Decorative natural stones are mostly used to accentuate your tiles, floor and walls.
* What is the purpose of using a base moulding?
Stone mouldings are used to enhance your floors and give a custom stone look. It will also provide a deep 3D feel to your room.
* Is a polished stone good to use in a bathroom floor or foyer?
Yes, almost every five star hotel uses polished marble in their bathrooms and showers.
* Can I do my countertop using tiles or other natural stone products?
Yes, you can use our tiles and mouldings to get a natural stone countertop. With minimal grout joints, it will be like natural stone countertop at the quarter price of solid countertop.
* Will my stone stain? What type of stones are resistant to stain?
We recommend sealing all natural stone with a good sealer like Miracle Sealants. Once sealed, all stone will be stain resistant. Please see your sealers instructions for recommended sealing procedures.
* Will my stone change colors or degrade in quality when sealed?
Different sealers have different degrees of changing the stone color. However, sealing the stone will give a slight wet and cleaner look to it. There are sealers without color 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, you might seal your stone tiles once a year. See your sealer’s instructions.
You can check out the Marble Institute of America for stone care information.
* How can you offer lower prices?
At StoneTileDepot.com, we can offer very competitive prices primarily because we buy directly from selected manufacturers and secondly we sell directly to you on the Internet. Our only showroom is our website and we update our product catalogue almost every day. On the other hand, we have arranged some pick-up locations with warehouses around the country to carry our inventory. As you can see; we 1.continuosly look into reducing our operational cost and in return, your cost of buying quality natural stone products in this market.
* Where are the pick-up locations?
Our current pick-up locations are in Carlstadt (New Jersey), Miami (Florida), Fullerton (California), Dulles (Virginia) and Chicago (Illinois). You need to schedule a pick up time with our representatives to make sure that your merchandise is ready at the pick up location.
Ordering / Shipping
* Can I order Samples?
Yes. Browse through our product collections and you will see the “Order Sample” button which will automatically add 1 SF or PC of that product to your shopping cart. Orders are shipped by UPS. Due to the UPS weight restrictions. Your sample order can not be more than 50lbs which is around 8 to 10 items in your shopping cart.
* When do you ship samples? How soon can I receive them?
We ship the sample orders the next day we receive the order. You have UPS Ground, Next Day, or 2nd Day options when you order. You can check your sample order shipping status at http://ups.com/content/us/en/index.jsx
Your merchandise will be prepared with ultimate care.
* Can I pick up my order?
Yes. You can pick up your order from our warehouses. You need to select “None-Freight Collect Only” for shipping method. You need to call our sales representative to schedule a pick-up time at your earliest convenience.
* How much do I pay for freight?
The freight is calculated automatically for UPS shipments and Common Carrier Residential and Commercial shipments. Usually we can find cheaper alternatives if the destination is in New Jersey, Florida, or in Virginia. Please call us for orders larger than 1000SF or PC to help you get a better rate. Freight also depends on commercial and residential delivery. For residential deliveries, the truck will be equipped with a lift gate usually included with the freight charge. Our residential delivery is CURBSIDE only.
* When do I receive my merchandise?
We usually ship within 24 hours for orders placed within weekdays. For orders placed on Saturday and Sunday, the order will be prepared for the next business day. We will carefully select and prepare your order from the same sample batch ensuring ultimate color and vein harmony. After we ship your merchandise we will email you the tracking information if available.
* What if my merchandise is damaged?
We work with UPS and various common carrier companies to deliver your order. StoneTileDepot.com will wrap your material to protect it against any damage during the shipment. If your merchandise arrives damaged, you should contact us immediately for assistance. Please check your merchandise with the common carrier to make sure that no tiles are damaged during the shipment.
* What are commercial delivery conditions?
Ordering / Shipping for Commercial customers and sites means that the business is open from 8-5 M-F for delivery and no appointment will be scheduled. If carrier can’t make delivery due to closure on the business site, a redelivery fee will apply.
* Disclaimer: The information provided at this page is property of StoneTileDepot.com and cannot be copied without a written authorization from StoneTileDepot.com. StoneTileDepot.com 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.