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Here at Santa Barbara Stone Masters, we recognize that not all stone is created equal. Whenever we take a job, we take special care to evaluate the individual needs of the specific stone on a case-by-case basis.

Every kind of stone is unique.

Our priority is to serve you, and we know that you don’t have all the time in the world to dedicate to excellent, in depth articles about each kind of stone, such as this marble post we wrote several weeks ago.

Instead, here is a brief cheat sheet breaking down the most common types of natural stone you are likely to encounter on the market. We hope some of the information you find below helps inform your decision to invest in or maintain the natural stone in your home!



Granite is formed under intense heat and pressure that creates a very hard, non-porous surface. As such, granite is more resilient than other natural stones to liquid and acid damage. It is relatively difficult to scratch and can take a fair amount of heat. Granite is an excellent option for floors and countertops, but you will still want to be careful to not let oils, particularly of the cooking variety, sit for too long.


Marble is made from limestone or dolomite that experiences significant heat and pressure, crystalizing the chemistry of the stone. Relative to granite, marble is pretty soft and porous, and is particularly susceptible to acid damage.


Travertine is a type of limestone deposited by mineral springs, especially by hot springs. The dissolution and reformation of limestone deposits by the water and chemicals creates air pockets and pits throughout the stone, giving it a rustic, earthy feeling. Travertine is particularly porous, making it more susceptible to surface damage than granite and marble.


Limestone is a sedimentary stone formed by the gradual depositing and hardening of calcium and other organic matter over a very long period of time. Limestone is vaguely reminiscent of marble, but tends to be less durable and as such is less suited for kitchen and flooring applications.


Like limestone, sandstone is a sedimentary rock, but it is formed by the depositing and hardening of sand-sized minerals and rock fragments, especially quartz and felspar. Famous for its gorgeous bands of earthy color, sandstone is very porous, so if you wish to use this on countertops, it must be properly sealed!


Formed from sandstone composed of primarily quartz particles, quartzite is a hard stone made under significant heat and pressure. Reminiscent of marble, quartzite is much more resilient to damage from moisture, oils, and acids, but it is susceptible to damage from knives and impact, as well as from heat from pots and pans.


Slate is a metamorphic stone created from the natural compression of sedimentary rock over time. Particularly hard and porous, slate is an excellent option where durability is a primary concern, especially in outdoor applications because if it’s natural, earthy appearance. It generally has a dull, dark finish, which may be limiting for many design applications.

And there you have it! I hope this has been a helpful examination of the basics of these common types of natural stone. If you have any of these, or even another kind of natural stone in your home, and it needs some TLC – give us a call today!

Skip Jankoski

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