Stone flooring pros and cons

Stone flooring pros and cons

Marble, granite and other stone flooring; pros and cons


Stone varies in its quality, appearance and porosity. Strictly speaking there aren’t two stones alike, even when they come from the same quarry and belong to the same grade. There is always differences, even within the same grade.

Stone Tile Grades

There aren’t any standards to rate a stone, but it is common to consider two or three grades. Travertine. for instance, comes in three grades: Premium or First grade, Standard or Second grade, and Commercial or Third grade.

Premium grade travertine stone is a perfectly cut stone, with uniform thickness and very little filler. Standard grade has a bit more filler or some kind of fault. Commercial grade can be defective on its cut, or non-uniform in its quality, or with an atypical pattern, or with high levels of filler or some other fault.

The pros and cons of stone tile flooring

Pros. stone flooring is widely valued, durable and easy to clean. Stone is also a natural product, without unhealthy chemicals. Cons: stone hasn’t the warmth of the wood — and other flooring materials — and is typically expensive to buy and to install; some types of stone are prone to scratches and damages. and should be properly sealed to become water and stain-resistant.

Types of stone

Though there are many types of stones, only some — granite, marble, slate, limestone, travertine. — are really popular.

Granite. a quartz-based stone, is often considered the queen of the stones for flooring purposes. Salt, pepper and veined patterns, very similar to marble, are very common.

Granite is particularly hard, ensuring durability and water- and staining resistance. Though largely moisture-resistant, it should be sealed in moisture-prone rooms.

Slate is a dense and tough stone, available in many colors, mostly blacks, grays and greens. Veined patterns are also common. Slate has different degrees of porosity, that should be sealed.

Marble involves a large set of colors and veined patterns, and varies a lot in its hardness; it should be honed and sealed, namely in kitchens and bathrooms. Is stone an environmentally friendly option?

Stone is a natural product. But that doesn’t make stone flooring an environmentally-friendly option. Stone isn’t renewable, and quarrying is an energy intensive activity, with serious environmental impacts. Salvaged stone is the most environmentally-friendly option, and an excellent alternative to new quarried stone, but the offer is very limited.

Limestone and travertine belong to the marble family, but are less dense than the average marble. Limestone comes mostly in earth tones: off-white, beige, gray.

Some limestone contains dolomite, which makes the stone harder.

Travertine is particularly porous and comes in beige, brown and intermediate colors.

Travertine and limestone requires more maintenance than other popular types of stone, and are very susceptible to damage.

Stone flooring pros and cons

For details on the several types of stone, see this Marble Institute page .

Sealing the stone Flooring

Unsealed stones may look more natural, but their natural porosity make sealing highly advisible. Factory-sealed stone flooring is becoming a standard; most stones are now being sold pre-sealed. Stone vs. porcelain

Porcelain tile flooring can be a great alternative to stone in rooms prone to water damages and staining issues. Porcelain is water- and stain-resistant, and largely maintenance-free.

Just pay attention to the type of sealing. They are of two tyes: topical and penetrating sealers.

Topical sealers are just topical They may protect the surface of the stone for some time, but in the end they will not prevent the water (or other liquids) from entering the stone.

Only penetrating sealers provide an efficient barrier; only they will prevent water or other liquid from occupying the empty spaces of the stone for a long time (10 years. ).

Prices and where to buy

Stone is an expensive flooring choice, in part because of installation costs. Expect prices above $10 per square feet for granite; marble and stale prices are also high, though less.

Be aware of potential pitfalls, and be cautious of very low priced stone, and its possible faults, high filler or high porosity

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