Natural stone flooring has been a hot trend for some time. It’s a flooring option that comes in endless colours, textures, and styles. Let’s jump in and explore some of the benefits, drawbacks, and considerations to be made before purchasing natural stone tile.
When we say ‘natural stone’, what exactly are we talking about? Simply put, natural stone is any type of stone taken from the earth. The types most frequently used in flooring include marble, slate, granite, and limestone, among others. Natural stone differs from standard tile flooring because, while it has been processed and cut by humans, it is an otherwise raw and unique material. No two quarries will have the same colour, texture, or type of stone, making each tile absolutely unique.
As mentioned above, there are a few main types of stone used in flooring. The most common types are marble, slate, granite, and limestone. Each is suited for different applications. Here’s a brief explanation of each main type:
Marble is one of the most popular materials for kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms, and more. Not limited to just tile, marble is often used for fixtures like countertops, sinks, and bathtubs. Marble has a long historical association with luxury and refinement. It’s a moderately porous stone, and may require more care than some other options. Marble is often white or light grey, though some regions produce colours ranging from salmon to black. It is often a ‘streaky’ or veined stone.
Slate is a common stone building material, found on roofs, in floors, and beneath the felt linings of pool tables. It can be easily sheared into thin, flat planes, and has been a popular building material for centuries. Slate flooring is popular not only for its distinguished look, but also for its unrivalled durability. It is almost completely resistant to water absorption, and is not prone to cracks or wear-and-tear. Properly maintained slate can last centuries! Slate comes in a variety of hues, but it is typically a medium to dark grey, often with a blue tint.
Closely related to marble, limestone is a soft, sedimentary rock that is easy to work with. Notable for its smoothness and relative warmth compared to other stone, limestone is a popular choice for flooring. Limestone from the same source often has little or no colour variation from tile to tile, making it a popular choice for those who want a uniform look. Limestone is, however, easily etched and eroded by acid. Care must be taken when cleaning limestone, and proper sealants should be used to reduce the potential for wear.
Granite is a hard, flecked stone that comes in a dizzying assortment of colours, patterns, and textures. When cut and polished, granite is shiny and exceptionally smooth. It can be treated to reduce slip for kitchens or bathrooms. Granite is popular, durable, and infinitely versatile.
Stone flooring can require special care, especially when compared to ceramic tile and laminate. While the stunning beauty and luxurious feel of stone tile is hard to beat, most types of stone require periodic sealing treatments and polishes. Some stone may need special cleaners. In some instances, stone tile can be brittle and prone to cracking or chipping. Be aware of the upkeep and special care required before you choose natural stone flooring.
As you can see, there are a lot of considerations when selecting stone flooring. Depending on the colours and decor of a room, some types of stone may be unsuitable due to their limited colour selection. Different varieties of stone require different levels of care, as well. Soft, porous stone like limestone or marble may require more treatment or ongoing care if they are being used in damp or high-traffic areas. Contact us to discuss your options with one of our design consultants. They can provide you with specific suggestions based on your budget and flooring needs.