Natural Stone Floors: Choosing the right material

Natural Stone Floors: Choosing the right material

October 10, 2013

Natural stone flooring can add organic warmth and tranquility to any space. From slate and marble to limestone and granite, natural stone tiles add unique personality wherever they’re used. But keep in mind that no two stone types- or tiles- are the same. So be sure to do your homework and know which material is right for your particular project.

Natural Stone FloorRustic Stone Floors by Battle Associates Architects; photo via Houzz

Whether you’re using stone tile floors in the bathroom, kitchen, foyer, patio, or anywhere in the home, natural stone adds drama, but also practicality. More durable than many artificial products on the market, natural stone tiles have a long life span and may require very little maintenance. Typically, once installed, finished and sealed, upkeep is pretty easy. Wet mopping is usually the best way to clean natural stone tiles. Just keep in mind that many types of stone tiles will require regular sealing. (If you have questions about when to seal and what to use, Marble and Granite, Inc. is glad to recommend a treatment program and product.)

Calacatta marble tile floor

Calacatta marble tile floor by Venegas and Company; photo via Houzz

Each piece of stone is its own unique creation, which makes every natural stone floor genuinely one-of-a-kind. Since each type of stone has slightly different properties, it’s important to understand the characteristics of the stone you’re purchasing. As you shop, here are some things to consider:  

• Remember that colors, textures, and markings can vary greatly. We recommend attempting to view as many pieces as you can before making your final purchase.

• Be sure to do your research and understand the material you’re purchasing. Make sure it will work well for your specific application, and be perfectly clear on maintenance requirements.

• Ask a lot of questions from your retailer. If you don’t feel you are getting the answers you want, feel free to call us at Marble and Granite, Inc. We will help you learn as much as you can about the material before you make a purchase.

• Look into a stone’s Absorption Rating. This term refers to a stone’s porosity. The more it absorbs, the more susceptible it will be to stains and damage. The four levels of absorption are, in order of highest to lowest: “Non-vitreous”- absorbs the most liquid; “Semi-vitreous”- absorbs less liquid; “Vitreous”- the level considered appropriate for low- to mid- traffic indoor and outdoor applications; “Impervious”- resistant to absorption, easiest to maintain and great for high-traffic areas. 

• Some retailers use a grading system to rate the quality of the stone. Be sure to understand what is being rated and how its determined.

• If the natural stone floor will be in a wet environment such as the bathroom or high traffic area like the kitchen, be sure to look at the Coefficient of Friction. This measures how slippery the material is. Also note that the Americans With Disabilities Act requires flooring materials to have a minimum of a .6 dryness coefficient.

Travertine tile floors
Travertine tile floors by Divine Kitchens; photo via Houzz

Natural stone is just that…natural. Since it’s not manufactured, it’s never perfectly uniform. But there is beauty in the originality. Embrace the imperfections and enjoy owning a one-of-a-kind flooring surface.



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