Stone Flooring

Stone Flooring

Stone Flooring

While some may not feel that stone is an eco-friendly option for flooring — due to the fact that quarrying and the rest of the excavation process may have a serious negative impact on the environment – if the stone is taken from a well-managed quarry, then it can be an eco-friendly option.

Why Choose Stone Flooring?

Stone has a natural, timeless beauty and a feeling of solid quality which is hard to match with any other type of material. It is naturally water-resistant and is a particularly good choice for kitchen and bathroom areas. It also has a unmatched strength and durability, providing that it is looked after correctly. Note, however, that stone is by no means the cheapest type of flooring to install or maintain.

Remember, if you are planning to install your stone flooring in areas of high traffic, it is a good idea to choose a tile with a tougher glaze – one that has been fired for long periods at high temperatures – as this will give the floor greater durability. Darker-coloured grout might also be a good idea as it is less likely to show up dirt and grime which has been tracked indoors.

For those looking for an eco-friendly option, stone does not rank the highest but if taken from a well-designed and managed quarry, it can be considered. In addition, although it is not strictly a renewable resource, it is in plentiful supply and it does not incorporate any synthetic elements (eg. petroleum by-products) which are not only environmentally-unfriendly but may also release harmful chemicals into the atmosphere.

How to Make Sure your Choice is Eco-Friendly

If you want to choose stone as an eco-friendly flooring option, avoid stones like marble and granite which have to be mined from deep within the Earth’s crust and therefore require energy-intensive extraction processes which release pollutants such as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

For more environmentally-responsible stone flooring, choose softer type of stone, such as sandstone and slate. These are found closer to the Earth’s surface and therefore are much easier to mine, requiring less energy and pollution-emitting extraction processes. Furthermore, they tend to come in plainer form, with less intense patterning, which can be more easy on the eye, especially when covering a large expanse of floor space.

Other ways to minimize environmental impact is to locally-quarried stone as this will involve minimal transport and shipping and thus reduce the carbon footprint involved. Finally, while stone is generally installed using mortar (also known as cement), which is limestone, sand and water-based adhesive and does not involve man-made chemicals or volatile organic compounds, make sure that the tile surfaces are not also treated with chemical polishes.

The price of stone flooring will depend on the quality and availability. This means that the same stone may have very different prices in different situations. For example, the cheap version of slate generally has a rough surface and may not be suitable for bare feet and indoor use, such as in bathrooms but the more expensive version is a top quality product that can be used anywhere in the home.

Types of Stone Flooring

Three popular types of stone flooring are as follows:

Limestone – this is formed when seashells and marine animal skeletons (eg. coral reefs) is compressed and cemented. Another form of limestone is formed when the same thing happens with stalactites and stalagmites. Although consisting mainly of calcium carbonate, limestone may also contain traces of clay, quartz, iron oxide or organic particles. These impurities mean that limestone often varies in colour and can range from dark grey and mustard to brown, pink, yellow and creamy white. A softer stone, limestone is more easy to work with than many other natural stones, such as marble.

Slate — This is formed when a variety of rocks and minerals are compressed and recrystallize under the pressure, forming thin slabs of rock along planar surfaces. This rock is very dense and hard and contains fine-grained, metamorphoc rock, such as volcanic ash and shale. It also incorporates minerals like titanium oxide, chlorite, iron oxides, sclerite, quartz and some graphite.

Sandstone – This is formed from minerals such as quartz and feldspar, ground up as small sand-sized grains and held together by a fine muddy matrix which forms a sort of “natural cement”. It is essentially a type of sedimentary rock and as such, shows great variation in colour, texture, composition and layering. The surfaces may also show planks and ripple marks and even animal trails.

Stone flooring can be a great choice – it is long-wearing and water-resistant and also repairable (for example, slate or limestone that has been chipped can be repaired with sandpaper and sealant). Depending on its finish and surface type, it can also be easy maintenance and all types are very good at hiding dirt. If taken from a well-managed quarry and from a type that does not require deep excavation, stone flooring can be an eco-friendly choice too.

Stone Flooring

Installing stone flooring in your home or office can be the perfect solution for some situations. If properly sealed at installation stone flooring can last a lifetime. Natural stone flooring, faux stone vinyl flooring, stone laminate flooring, and the new plastic flooring that looks like stone are options you can choose from to create the look you want. Stone tile flooring at your entrance or stone patio flooring are ways you can finish an area so it will withstand foot traffic and weather.

Stone flooring is an excellent choice for some situations. It’s durable so good for entryways and bathrooms. It makes a great solar mass so is good for passive solar homes as heat storage. It’s elegant so wonderful for living rooms or great rooms.

The material is a natural looking element that has been used in homes for hundreds of years. The most obvious advantage of this type of flooring is the beauty and design that it offers. The major disadvantage to it is that natural stone flooring can be quite expensive. But, there are many ways around that. If you are considering the purchase of stone flooring for your home or business, insure that you realize the many ways in which you can purchase it.

More Types Than You Thought

There are several types of stone flooring. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Depending on the overall goals of your project, you should choose the best selection for your needs.

Natural Stone Flooring: There are several materials that are used in «real» stone floors. These include limestone, marble, slate, quartzite, granite and flagstone, sandstone, and travertine. You should select the product to use based on your budget as well as on your preferences in durability, color, texture and shape. Also, it is important to consider the weight of the stone as some structures can not support a very heavy flooring, at least not without increasing floor support.

Faux Stone Flooring: There are several types of faux flooring options for you to consider. These are the ideal ways to go if you are under budget constraints. Most of the products you find will not be completely like the real thing, but in most cases they are an agreeable alternative. Here are some examples to consider.

  • Faux stone vinyl flooring is made from vinyl materials to resemble stone. You will find a wide selection to choose from, and although they are not true stone, they come close to looking like that. The biggest problem with these is their lack of true texture.
  • Stone laminate flooring is another interesting choice. It provides for another «faux» look with all the many benefits of laminate. It is much easier to care for and much lower in price too.
  • There are many other products on the market that you can select from as well. But, before you try out that new plastic flooring that looks like stone, you should first get your hands on it and feel it. Does it give you the look, texture and tone that you are after?

    Stone Tile Flooring: In this stone flooring where the stone is cut into a tiles, rather than being left in bigger, more irregular shapes. This allows for a realistic look and an easier installation. Consider it the mid-way point between faux options and natural stone flooring.

    Things To Consider

    When you consider stone flooring for your home or business, there are several points that you should remember prior to making your selection.

  • Installing stone flooring should be done by a professional. If you plan to do it yourself, make sure to follow instructions very carefully. If you don’t, you are likely to have a floor that cracks, chips or is uneven and causes someone to fall.
  • You should take into consideration how to clean stone flooring as well. It is not as easy as you might like. Each type of stone requires its own methods; you may find it somewhat tiresome to take care of stone, beautiful as it is.
  • Lastly, you should realize that stone flooring can be used in virtually every aspect of the home from the kitchen, bath and entry to stone patio flooring.

    Stone flooring is beautiful and durable, but a bit fussy to care for. If you want to make a statement that other flooring options don’t make. Or it’s great if you want to lower your heating bills by using it for storing, and subsequently releasing, heat into your home. Stay on top of the maintenance of your stone flooring and it will last a lifetime.

    Where is the information on saltillo tile flooring? I had been communicating with you but no longer see Saltillo Tile flooring as an option.

    You can also use the search box in the upper right-hand corner and do a search for «Jackie» — that will also give you the link. ;o)

    The Flooring Lady at May 22, 2008 9:47 PM

    I am looking at installing travertine tile in my great room (family room/eat-in kitchen). I have read that there can be «bad batches» of travertine or lower quality travertine. How can I tell if this is the case? What should I look for and what questions should I ask to avoid purhcasing low quality travertine? How can I ensure I purchase high quality travertine?

    anonymous at September 17, 2008 11:33 AM

    Travertine quality varies as widely as the places it is found. In general, higher quality stones will have a tighter (compacted) structure, fewer fill areas (especially wide, shallow areas where the fill has very little to bond to), will be filled on both sides (to prevent punch through from high heels, furniture legs, etc.), and will exhibit a quality fabrication finish (no saw marks, blemishes, or unfinished areas).

    Yes, travertine is usually filled in this manner. Travertine is a sedimentary stone formed in and around hot springs. It occurs when calcite (calcium carbonate) is deposited by water, then compressed over time to a solidified structure. Travertine almost always has holes and channels where water and hot gasses escaped during formation. In most instances, these holes are filled during fabrication with cementuous (like grout) or resin (like epoxy) products to form an even, flat surface.

    Hopefully, you’ll be able to find some good quality travertine. FYI: there are also products that you can use yourself to fill in pits and such if they appear afterwards. Make sure to seal it very, very well the help keep it stable and add stregnth and protection.

    The Flooring Lady at September 18, 2008 7:44 AM

    i dropped a bottle of nail polish on a tumbled marble floor. How can I clean it up?


    pat at October 27, 2008 4:08 PM

    Hi Pat,

    Oi, what a mess. Chances are, no matter what you clean it up with, you’re going to have to apply some more sealer/finish/polish (whatever is already on your floor) after you get the nail polish up because it will be stripped with what you use to clean up the nail polish! *shudder*

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