The 411 on Stone Flooring

I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time making decisions when there is potentially a lot of money on the line. I want to get the most bang for my buck, but I also want to keep as much as I can in the bank. One of the most helpful things I do when faced with a difficult choice is to make a list of pros and cons to help me visualize the best solution.

The 411 on Stone Flooring

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If you’re looking into getting stone flooring for your home or office, there can be a pretty significant discrepancy between pricing and quality, which can make the decision even trickier. We have taken the time to put together a long list of pros and cons for the various types of stone flooring to help you decide which best meets your needs.

Stone Flooring In General

Stone flooring has been widely sought after for thousands of years for its natural elegance and durability. While stone can add a unique, earthly feel to just about any space, there are also some downsides.

- Unique and natural-looking
- Relatively eco-friendly, especially when locally sourced
- Durable
- Requires upkeep and sealing
- Some stones can chip or scratch easily
- More expensive than other flooring methods

When you are choosing your stone, keep in mind the grade, absorption level, and friction level. The grade refers to the quality of the tile with grade 1 being the best quality and grade 3 being the lowest quality. The absorption ratings range from non-vitreous (most absorbent) to impervious (least absorbent).

Non-vitreous stone should be kept out of wet and outdoor areas, while impervious stone is suitable for high-traffic environments like walkways and businesses. You should take the friction level into consideration when you’re looking to add stone to bathrooms or outdoor spaces.

Finishing Options

Not all stones come in every finish, and not all finishes are appropriate for every area of your home or office.

Polish- Luxurious finish
- Brings out the natural qualities of the stone such as veining and color
- More resistant to water
- Slippery when wet
- Needs additional maintenance to keep it looking nice
Honed- Rustic appearance
- Characteristically pocked to reduce the appearance of wear
- Hard to clean because of the pockmarks
- Can accumulate dirt
- Can be more absorbent
Filled- Similar to a honed finish but the small pocks and holes are filled with a sealant
- Easier to clean than a honed finish
- It can be difficult to find a filler that matches the stone without being too obvious
Acid-Washed- Less slippery than other finishes- Less formal
Flamed- Less slippery than other finishes- Rough texture makes it good for areas that get wet

Types of Stone

GraniteGranite is an igneous rock that does exceptionally well as flooring and countertops. The characteristic flecks of other stones and minerals make it appear to be glittering.- Very durable
- Resists scratching and wear from acids
- Heat resistant
- Infinite color variation
- Can be stained by oil
- Expensive
SlateSlate is a very hard metamorphic rock that is considered one of the most durable flooring options. There are two main kinds of slate: surface slate and underground slate. The surface slate is cheaper but also more brittle, while the underground slate is denser but more expensive.- Incredibly durable
- Great for areas that get wet
- Considered high-quality and can add real estate value
- Stain-resistant
- Difficult to replace tiles because each color is so unique
- Expensive
- Difficult to install and maintain
MarbleMarble is a metamorphic rock originally from limestone. It can have interesting patterns made from various organic matter. It does really well in low-traffic areas.- Beautiful colors and variation
- Incredibly elegant
- Unique
- Can reflect and scatter light to make a room seem brighter
- Considered a soft stone so it doesn’t do well in high-traffic areas
- Susceptible to staining or etching
- Expensive
- Slippery when wet
- Requires refinishing every 6-12 months
TravertineTravertine is a very subtle natural stone that generally comes in shades of brown and tan. - Very durable and can develop a unique patina over time
- Stylish and subtle
- Easy to repair and replace damaged tiles
- Difficult to install
- Requires a lot of maintenance
- Expensive
SandstoneSandstone is a relatively soft sedimentary rock that comes in a variety of earth tones. - Durable
- Unique
- Easy to install and replace
- Soft rock that can be scratched and dented easily
- More absorbent than other stones
- Can stain easily

Whether you’re looking to do a complete overhaul renovation, or you just want to update your flooring, choosing natural stone is a great direction to go. Its durability and beauty have made it the flooring of choice for thousands of years, which means if you do your homework and choose the right type and finish, you can’t go wrong with stone flooring.