Marble, Travertine, and Terrazzo all require more maintenance or re-polishing than Granite due to the fact that they are softer fine stones. Granite requires very little maintenance under normal use in order to preserve its shine.
Granite is the hardest of the decorative natural stones. Granite is an igneous rock meaning that it was formed under intense heat and pressure. The molten rock cooled slowly inside of the earth giving Granite its characteristic patterning and helped to harden the stone. Granite can withstand heavier use and still maintain its shine and luster which makes it the best choice for a counter top or vanity.
Marble is a metamorphic rock originating from limestone which under heat and pressure transformed into colorful stone able to take a bright polish. As a result of its origins, Marbles appear in a wide variety of colors and grains dependent upon what soils and minerals surrounded the limestone at the time it underwent its transition to marble. Marble is able to withstand a reasonable amount of use without showing significant wear. Regular polishing of Marble is essential to maintaining its color and brilliance. In order to keep a consistent shine polishing of Marble should be done a minimum of once a year for residential floors. Polishing of a commercial floor should be done semi annually or quarterly dependent upon the amount of foot traffic across the floor.
Terrazzo is a combination of resins and Marble chips, which have been ground smooth and polished. The polishing of Terrazzo is required less frequently than typical marbles because of its small percentage of stone to resin, which allows the surface to maintain a shine longer.
Travertine, the softest fine stone, is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of Calcium Carbonate (calcite). Travertine is formed from geothermal springs and in caves (stalactites and stalagmites) where algae and other organisms often inhabit the surface of travertine and are preserved. This gives travertine its distinctive porosity. Travertine, when used as flooring or on a table top will tend to lose its shine faster than Marble. The porosity and softness of Travertine makes it more difficult to polish and maintain than Marble. In order to maintain a highly polished surface more frequent maintenance will be required.
Limestone is similar to Travertine in its composition. It is also Calcium Carbonate (calcite) sedimentary rock, however unlike Travertine Limestone is not formed in relation with geothermic activity. Limestones hardness and uses vary widely by type. Limestone varieties that can be polished are the harder more dense stones and are typically classified and sold as a type of Marble. It can be difficult to visually distinguish some limestone from true Marble.
The amount of traffic upon your Marble, Travertine, or Granite surface and type of care given will affect how frequently a clean and polish is required for your fine stone.