If you are you eager to give your space a stylish upgrade after years of wear and tear but unsure of where to start, it may be time to replace it with something more durable and refined.
That’s where Natural Stone Flooring comes in. Renowned for its durability and quality, stone tiles can add an elegant and luxurious touch to any room in your home.
Natural stone flooring consists of tiles cut from stone blocks that were formed and extracted from the Earth.
Being made with minimal additives and almost 100% recyclable, natural stone is a sustainable flooring option that reduces air pollutants in the home.
Stone tiles are a timeless and attractive choice for both indoor and outdoor spaces. They are resilient and can withstand high humidity levels, making them perfect for bathrooms and basements. With a smooth surface that feels pleasant to the touch, natural stone flooring complements almost any interior theme.
Types of Stone Flooring
There is a wide range of stone flooring types, each offering a unique appearance that adds style and value to your home. Let’s explore a few examples:
- Marble: is known for its creamy white color and gray veining, creating an upscale and luxurious look. It is scratch-resistant, has antimicrobial properties, and is available in both tile and slab forms.
- Travertine: provides a distinctive alternative to marble with its dense, banded appearance. It typically comes in shades of beige, cream, and brown, adding a rustic and romantic feel to any room.
- Limestone: exhibits neutral and earthy tones ranging from warm beige to toasty brown, giving a cozy and rustic vibe to spaces. It is highly stain-resistant, making it ideal for households with children and pets.
- Granite: As the most commonly used natural stone tile for multiple rooms, granite offers a wide range of colors. It is scratch-resistant, making it perfect for high-traffic areas and wheelchair-accessible homes. Additionally, the speckling and veining in granite create unique designs as no two tiles are the same.
- Slate: is a versatile material suitable for indoor floors, outdoor patios, and even roofing. It is a more affordable alternative to marble and granite.
- Soapstone: has a creamy texture and comes in various shades of gray. It feels soft to the touch and is slip-resistant, making it an excellent choice for wet areas such as bathrooms, pool areas, and outdoor spaces.
- Basalt: is a solid lava stone, is known for its attractive dark features. Its smooth texture keeps it cool in tropical heat and warm-weather climates, making it an ideal option for outdoor living spaces.
- Sandstone: with warm and earthy tones reminiscent of sand and beige, sandstone adds a touch of warmth to kitchen floors and outdoor walkways.
- Quartzite: showcases a natural sparkling texture and comes in a wide range of colors. This metamorphic rock is highly heat-resistant, making it a suitable choice for outdoor areas in warmer climates.
It’s important to note that natural stone tiles are not uniform and require precise installation. The installation process is more intricate compared to other flooring types, so an inexperienced DIY attempt may negatively impact the value of your home.
Properties of Natural Stone Tiles
Understanding the following performance properties of natural stones can help you choose the right one for your home:
The absorption rating measures the porosity of a material, with higher absorbance indicating a higher susceptibility to staining. There are four absorption terms for natural stones:
- Non-vitreous: Highest absorption level, not recommended for damp environments
- Semi-vitreous: Moderate absorption, requires maintenance when exposed to moisture
- Vitreous: Standard absorption, suitable for most foot traffic areas both indoors and outdoors
- Impervious: Most resistant to liquid absorption and easiest to maintain, ideal for high-traffic and commercial environments
Many retailers use grading systems to rate the quality of natural stone tiles, considering factors such as size, surface condition, thickness, and shape. Most grading systems consist of three levels:
- Grade 1: Highest quality and uniform
- Grade 2: Minor defects like scuffs, scratches, cracks, or irregular surfaces
- Grade 3: Major defects in surface, shape, size, etc.
Natural stone contains various elements from the Earth, including iron. In outdoor environments, iron can oxidize and cause the tile to rust and deteriorate.
Coefficient of Friction
The coefficient of friction (COF) indicates the surface traction or slipperiness of a floor tile. This is an important consideration for moist environments such as kitchens and bathrooms.
Factors to Consider About Natural Stone
When selecting the best type of flooring for your space, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. Here are some factors to consider:
Advantages of Stone Floors
- Durability: Long-lasting with a timeless quality
- Sustainability: Energy-efficient, recyclable, and no synthetic ingredients
- Low-maintenance: Easy to clean and refinish
- Versatility: Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use
Disadvantages of Stone Floors
- Expensive: Higher initial cost due to durability and versatility
- Installation process: Time-consuming and requires sealing
- Susceptibility to staining: Requires sealants and periodic refinishing
Stone tiles offer natural beauty and timeless design for any home. Different textures and finishes can enhance the look and feel of a room. Here are a few ideas:
- Polished: Create an elegant and luxurious ambiance in your bathroom or living room with polished stone, which adds a glossy, reflective surface that enhances the color.
- Honed: Achieve a sleek and smooth surface without shine by opting for honed stone, which provides a more natural appearance. This matte finish is ideal for creating a contemporary look in kitchens or dining areas.
- Brushed: For a rustic and old-fashioned aesthetic, choose brushed stone. It is smooth to the touch but visually worn, and its slightly textured finish complements home bar designs and outdoor kitchens.
- Tumbled: If you desire a textured look with a rustic and antique feel, consider tumbled stone. This finish, with its imperfect smoothness, is perfect for outdoor patios or walkways.