Stone Floors Pros & Cons — Choices 4 You What Floor Type to Choose

Stone Floors Pros & Cons - Choices 4 You What Floor Type to Choose

Stone Floors: Pros & Cons

Of all the materials to use for constructing the floor of one’s house, stone is undoubtedly one of the best, if not the best. For one thing, it comes directly from nature itself (and it can be either glazed or unglazed); and if the stones were mined locally, it is no great job to transport them, which can save money. Stone is also stain resistant — again this saves money on floor repair or replacement (and I should mention that the tiled floor of the kitchen in my own house was replaced by a wooden one). Likewise it is very durable — it is less vulnerable to the adverse effects of food and chemicals than wood, for instance, which of course comes from something living. Esthetics is also a reason for having a stone floor — it looks classy. Many homeowners are attracted by the grainy, multicolored appearance of granite and other igneous rocks. Rock does not burn easily, either, nor can one slip on it. Many rocks naturally have lovely colors, and if they are smooth and well- polished, their beauty is increased. And for those who live in a warm climate, a stone floor can be pleasantly cool on the feet.

But with all these advantages, it is only fair to mention that there are drawbacks as well. The feel of hard stone beneath one’s feet can be unpleasant; and just as stone can be pleasantly cool in summer, so it can also be freezing cold in winter. Both the costs of the stone tiles themselves and the installation of the floor can be quite expensive: Home Wyse reports that tiles can cost from $300 to $800, while the price of installation can be a walloping $900 to $2,900! The cost per square foot for a stone floor can be $9 to $18, while a laminated floor can cost a mere $5. Depending on the ceiling, cleaning and maintenance can be difficult.

There are several kinds of stone that can be used for tiling, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages. Marble, slate, granite, and limestone are among the most commonly used flooring materials.

Marble is one of the most beautiful stones in existence. But it breaks and scratches easily. It should thus be reserved mainly for bathrooms and fireplaces. And it needs to be sealed periodically because of its porousness, which also makes it vulnerable to stains from liquids such as coffee, orange juice, and even water, unless these spills are wiped up immediately.

Slate is an especially versatile form of stone: It can look either elegant or rustic, depending on the dcor. It resists both stains and water, but if laid on an uneven ground it will crack easily; or it can chip if something heavy is dropped on it. Sealant should be applied either during installation or immediately afterwards.

Granite is the hardest and most durable form of stone. It can withstand heat and resists staining and scratching well, so it makes a good choice for kitchens (though shattered items do need to be removed immediately or they will cause scratching). Granite is less porous than marble, but it still requires a regular application of stone sealant. And the subflooring needs to not only be completely level — irregularities can cause the stone to crack — but also must be strong enough to support the heavy granite floor.

Limestone is softer than marble, and so feels easy on the feet; but for that same reason it should be used for areas of light traffic. Treating and sealing must be professionally done, by the manufacturer himself. And unlike the above materials, it can be stained easily, and can be slippery.

If you have decided that you wish to install a stone floor in your house, then go ahead. But always make sure the benefits of this or any enterprise outweigh the potential costs. The beauty a marble or granite floor can add to your home may be worth anything it takes to maintain it.

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