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Most of us have heard about the use of granite, travertine, and marble as tile or pavers for flooring projects. Those, while beautiful, are only three of the many types of natural stone that is available for stone floors in the Birmingham area. In this natural flooring blog from Floor Coverings International Birmingham, we review five natural stone options that make granite, travertine and marble the hum-ho options.

 

1. Basalt – The Black Stone

Basalt is an igneous rock that comes from lava. Granite, on the other hand, is magma, rather than lava. The small grains that characterize basalt offer a stunning and beautiful depth when polished. Basalt is one of the most common igneous rocks on the surface of the earth. While characterized as black, it does present in other natural colors such as browns and greens. It can also found with peridot in it too.

 

2. Red Jasper — Semi Precious and Beautiful

Jasper is a mineral that closely resembles chert. Jasper offers a wide array of colors that range from yellow and green to red, brown and orange. The benefit of Jasper for flooring is that it offers decadent patterns with vivid colors. As a tile, it holds a shine well and is best used to create stunning entryways, counters, or accent flooring for larger projects.

Jasper rates 6.5-7 on the hardness scale, so it is plenty hard for flooring. A nice piece of Jasper puts even the most beautiful piece of marble to shame.

 

3. Serpentine — Metamorphic Beauty

Serpentine is typically a mixed green mineral that may also contain brown, black, and gold tones. When polished, serpentine takes on some of the most beautiful stones in the world. It is a metamorphic rock like marble, but it is not calcite based. Serpentine makes an excellent floor tile.

Serpentine is usually translucent to a degree. For flooring projects, a sub-light can illuminate the stones to a degree at night. As a mineral, serpentine offers some of the depth that Jasper does. It also is beautiful when polished and offers a stunning green richness. It is not as hard as Jasper. Serpentine is 2.5-4 in hardness. Serpentine was once lava that changed during the rock cycle and formed during the metamorphic process.

 

4. Quartzite — Beautifully patterned

Quartzite was once sandstone but during the metamorphic process altered to become an elegant looking stone. One of the thing that happens during the metamorphic process is that minerals tend to align within the rocks. It is not uncommon to find beautiful striations and bands of color with metamorphic rocks. With quartzite, the small crystals grow during metamorphosis and form amazing patterns within the rock. Quartzite comes in light browns, mid greens, black and white, and rich blue-green. For flooring, quartzite shows off its high quartz content to become a deep and reflective rock.

Quartzite is a seven on the Mohs hardness scale. Granite appears as a 6.5 on the same scale making quartzite harder than granite.

 

5. Onyx — A Beautiful Tile Option with Depth and Character

Perhaps the most beautiful of all floor tile options, Onyx (pictured above) offers amazing natural patterns, color options, and value. Onyx is a semi-translucent stone that offers rich and deep color variations that are stunning. The downside to Onyx is that it is expensive. Onyx comes in a wide array of colors that range from rich, chocolate browns to pure white. It is almost impossible to find Onyx in solid tiles. Regarding hardness, Onyx is a 2.65 on the Mohs hardness scale, making it relatively soft for flooring. If treated properly, Onyx holds up well.

These five-floor tile options can take your flooring project from ordinary to extraordinary. There are a ton of options out there that many homeowners never dreamed were possible. Contact us at Floor Coverings International Birmingham to learn all about them!

 

Photo Credit: HamsterMan