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Natural Characteristics

Understand that many natural stones may contain small naturally-occurring cracks (fissures). Granite countertops may have some pitting. Each stone has its own unique characteristics.  Cracking and pitting are common complaints heard from consumers who were unaware of these characteristics when they selected natural stone.  A common saying in the stone business:  “If you want consistency and uniformity, then select porcelain tile”.

Installation Materials

The most common way to install ceramic (or porcelain) tiles is using the thin-set method with a 3/16” or greater grout joint.  Stones are commonly installed using a medium-bed or mud-bed installation with a grout joint 1/16”-3/16”.  A thicker setting bed allows the installer to level the product and create a more level installation.

Installation Costs

Natural stone tiles and slabs are generally more expensive to install.  This is primarily due to the overall difficulty of the installation combined with a tighter grout joint and buyer’s higher expectation of a flat floor.


If you own a large quantity of stone flooring, you will want to have it deep-cleaned on occasion.  Also, most stones require a grout release before installation and a penetrating sealer after installation.  A penetrating (or impregnating) sealer needs to be re-applied periodically per manufacturer instructions.  Go to manufacturer’s websites for detailed maintenance instructions (i.e.,,,, etc.)

Vapor transmission

All stones breathe.  This means they breathe up moisture from the slab and setting materials. They tend to breathe in moisture from external sources as well.  This means all stones should be sealed using a penetrating sealer that allows vapor transmission, but inhibits staining.  Vapor transmission also means that if you’re using a light stone over a large area, you may want to check the moisture in the slab (hydrostatic pressure) before installation begins.  Keep in mind that as moisture passed from the slab to the stone, it’s possible to discolor some lighter stones from within the stone itself.

Frost resistance

Some slates are very frost resistant, which is why slate roofing is used in cold regions. However, other slates are simply not as condensed and will explode like a soda can in a freezer.  Most stones are not suitable for outdoor installation in freeze-thaw conditions.  Ceramic tiles with an absorption rating of over 3% are not generally suited for outdoor use as well.  All porcelains (.5% absorption) have low absorption to be used outdoors, but the COF (Coefficient of Friction) be suitable as well.  Lucky we live in Maui and these are non issues as related to frost.  Most natural stones can be used in outdoor applications.

Wear Resistance

Granites are the hardest of all natural stones, however there are some stone types that approach the hardness of granite.  All polished stones scratch dull, yet some honed stones may be more difficult to clean than polished.  A natural (through-body) porcelain tile can be up to 30% harder than granite.

Acid and Stain Resistance

Granites typically have superior resistance against staining.  However, many common household products will stain or etch stone, yet most will have little or no effect on ceramic tile.  For instance, an ice cold glass of water can etch a ring on White Carrara marble.  Vinegar, ketchup, mustard, fruit juice or wine will etch many stones.  Again, look at sealant manufacturers websites for info on how to minimize (not eliminate) staining and etching.

Stone Products Disclaimer

Today, more than ever, the beauty of natural stone is a favorite choice of designers, architects and homebuilders. For floors, walls and countertops there are a variety of natural stone surface finishes to choose from.

Regardless of which type of material used, all are susceptible to staining and surface wear. To ensure the natural stone provides a lifetime of beauty and function, proper stone care maintenance is recommended.

Natural Stone: All natural stone (granite, travertine, limestone, marble, slate and quartzite, etc.) are inherently subject to variation in shadings and markings and can vary from one shipment to another. Please be advised that each piece of natural stone is virtually unique. Its veining, shading, density and can vary from one box to another.

Understand that these qualities are inherent in the nature of the product. This is part of the beauty of natural stone. They are not considered latent defects and, therefore, Exclusively Yours: The Maui Home Design Center cannot be held liable for them.

Maui's Natural Stone & Tile Center

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Exclusively Yours25 South Kahului Beach Road, Kahului HI 96732
Office: 808-871-7595
Fax: 808-871-7059
Hours of Operation:
Monday-Friday 7:00am-5:00pm
Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm
Closed Sunday
Ceramic Tile Plus
25 South Kahului Beach Road, Kahului HI 96732
Office: 808-871-8674,
Toll free: 800-833-2748
Fax: 808-871-7059
Hours of Operation:
Monday-Friday 7:00am-5:00pm
Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm
Closed Sunday
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