It is very important to know the properties of natural stones that are used in building construction in order to determine the specific areas of usage. Among those, water absorption is one of the most important as it determines various mechanical and physical properties. The objectives of this study are to determine the water absorption characteristics of natural building stones with different composition, structure and texture properties, to determine the parameters affecting the water absorption ratio and to obtain the drying features of natural building stones. For this purpose, in this study 12 natural building stones with different structural and textural properties are studied in detail based on their water absorption attributes. For every rock type, graphics of water absorption against time are prepared and evaluated. The relationships of density, apparent density, open porosity, total porosity and open/total porosity ratios with water absorption are studied. The drying features of the samples which absorbed water are also determined. Relationships between standard times and measured real times are obtained and the results of detailed evaluations are presented with the purpose of helping standard developers and experimental researchers. The results of these tests indicate that first 24 h are very important for water absorption and drying test and apparent porosity, open and total porosity properties are highly related with water absorption ratio. On the other hand, it is found that porosity of more water absorbing stones is also an accelerating factor for drying process. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.