Stones FAQ


Stone Types:



The Earth is a stone-making factory… and OTILE.com is one of the leading exporter of stone in the world. To help you select the stone that's right for your application, here's some detailed information:
For more information on a particular stone type, click the stone name.

  • Granite - This hard and dense stone is ideal for inside and outside surfaces and is perfect for kitchen counters.
  • Marble - This stone's rich palette of colors makes it perfect for interior floors, walls and counters.
  • Travertine - Generally beige or tan in color, this stone is often used outside as cladding and pavement and inside for floors, walls and countertops.
  • Limestone - The muted tones of this stone are excellent for bathrooms, fireplaces, counters and less-traveled flooring.


What is Slab?

  • Definition slab
    noun [C]
    (n.) A thin piece of marble or other stone, having plane surfaces.


What's the difference between marble and granite?
Although both are stones and both are quarried from the earth, granite and marble (and marble's relatives - limestone, onyx and travertine) are very different from each other. Granite is formed deep in the earth's mantle at extremely high temperatures, and is a very hard, resistant stone made of crystallized minerals.
The marble family - limestone, travertine, marble, onyx - starts out as sediment - animal skeletons and shells, plant matter, silt - at the bottom of bodies of water. After millions of years this solidifies (lithifies) into stone. Because its main component is calcium, it can be affected by acids such as vinegar and citrus beverages.


What is granite?
The term "granite" is used to cover a group of related stones, all of which have their origin deep in the earth's molten mantle. As this extremely hot liquid material rises and cools, it forms a crystalline, granular structure, hence the term granite. Granite and other granite-like stones are formed of hard minerals such as quarts, feldspar and mica, which are fused together into a very hard stone ideal for kitchen counters because its polish is resistant to household acids such as citrus and vinegar and is hard enough to resist scratching from knives and pots and pans.


Why is granite good for kitchen counters?
Because granite is very hard stone that's formed at very high temperatures deep in the earth, its polish is not subject to etching by household acids, or scratching by knives and pots and pans. It's unaffected by typical kitchen heat such as hot pans, or spilled liquid.

 


What is marble?
True geological marble is limestone that has been subjected to great pressure and heat, which has changed its structure to a crystalline, sugary texture. It is generally white or whitish, sometimes translucent, with some veining or color provided by other minerals present at its formation. White Carrara, Thassos, Colorado Yule and Bianco Rosa are true marbles.
Commercially, the term "marble" applies to any compact limestone that will take a polish, which includes most of the colored marbles, except some of the greens.
What is limestone?
Limestone is sedimentary rock consisting mostly of organic material such as skeletons and shells of marine creatures and sediments. It is formed by material which settles to the bottom of bodies of water, and over millions of years, solidifies into solid rock. Earth movements over extremely long periods of earth's history can lift limestone miles into the air. The summit of Mount Everest is limestone that started out on an ocean floor.
Travertine is limestone, in a sense. It is formed by geysers, like Old Faithful, when the extremely hot underground water dissolves the underlying limestone and carries it upwards with the geyser water. When the water falls to the ground and evaporates, it leaves behind the dissolved limestone which re-hardens into stone. Like CalistogaTM or PerrierTM waters, the new stone is full of gas bubbles, which give travertine its characteristic appearance. When it is manufactured as tiles or slabs, travertine is generally filled with cement and polished or honed.
What is onyx?
Onyx, like travertine, is the result of water dissolving existing limestone and re-depositing it as a new kind of stone, sometimes called sinter. In limestone caves, onyx is formed by drip water, as stalagmites and stalactites. It is a very soft stone, and somewhat brittle, and needs to be installed where it will not be subject to hard wear. This beautiful stone is characterized by its translucence, and can actually be backlit for striking, dramatic effects.