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Marble, Travertine, Granite and Quartzite: specificity and differences

Natural stones have always been used in construction, but especially to embellish different types of environments, from private ones such as homes to public ones such as temples. Over time, we have learned to identify the specificities of each material and to choose the most suitable according to the required function.


In this article we will lead you to discover the most used natural stones in construction, interior decoration and furnishings: marble, travertine, granite and quartzite.

Marble is a metamorphic rock, fine-grained and mainly composed of calcium carbonate. The structure and chromatic variety of the marbles as well as their suitability to the different types of finishes, make them the most used and prestigious material, recognised, and appreciated all over the world.

Although most types of the marbles are not recommended for external use as they can be damaged by frost (so they are not antifreeze), on the other hand they suit perfectly for various types of interior and furnishing claddings.

A peculiar type of marble are onyxes. Their main characteristic is translucency, they are crossed by light even in the standard thickness of 2 cm. For this particularity, onyxes are often used in the most exclusive projects, with glorious backlighting systems.

Travertine is a sedimentary rock, which means that it owes its formation to subsequent deposits of carbonate rocks. It has an irregular structure with several vacuoles that can also be filled, depending on the required finish. It is a classic material (used since ancient Roman times) that can be used for both interiors and exteriors.

The Granite is a volcanic rock of intrusive origin, made up of magmatic material that has cooled and solidified within the earth’s crust. It is formed mostly of silicates and for this reason it is harsher and more compact than marble and travertine.

This rock has a granular structure, from which its name also derives, and is not sensitive to acids or water, which is why it has long been used as the main material in kitchen tops. Today, however, modern water-repellent and stain-resistant treatments allow the safe use of other materials in the kitchen, such as marble.

Thanks to its harshness and resistance, granite is also widely used for external cladding and in areas of large foot traffic, such as airports, shopping centre, public buildings.

The quartzites are halfway between marbles and granites. Metamorphic rocks composed mostly of quartz. Thanks to their composition, the quartzites are very hard and are worked with the same tools as granites. The main difference between this two is that quartzites are fine-grained more like marbles.

Some types of quartzite can also be backlit, such as Cristallo or Patagonia.

Due to their hybrid characteristic, quartzites are suitable for many uses both in internal decorations and external claddings.

The exclusive selection of Marmo Elite includes several excellences belonging to the categories of these natural stones: discover all of them in our online showroom and contact us to request a free consultation.

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