Natural stone tiles are an excellent choice for adding natural beauty to your home. They come in many different shapes, colours, and sizes that provide an elegant look with timeless appeal. With so many options available in the market today, it can be difficult to find the right tile without doing extensive research. This is where our guide comes in! We have compiled all of the information you need on natural stone flooring into one place so you don't have to go hunting for it all over the internet.
What are Natural Stone Tiles?
Natural stone tiles, as the term suggests, are made from natural stones such as granite and limestone. These materials can be found in quarries and mines. The stone is then cut into thin slabs which are often polished to maintain a finished look with an attractive sheen. Stone can also contain deposits that may affect its appearance or purpose i.e. iron oxides that lend it a rustic brown colour; quartz veins that make it speckled; mineral fractures; air bubbles; cavities. Natural stone tiles come in many shapes and sizes but they always make for a very durable flooring option because of the thickness of the plates (1 - 3 inches).
Why Choose Natural Stone Tiles?
Natural stone tiles are typically more expensive than manmade tile, but they can provide a classic look that's not attainable with other types of tiles. Although natural stone tiles take a lot of work and money to install, the result is a warm and beautiful appearance that lasts for decades with little to no upkeep. Additionally, natural stone is durable enough to be used in both high traffic areas and wet areas, which ultimately saves you from needing multiple materials or laborious patterns or tedious care.
Types of Natural Stones Used in Flooring
The three types of natural stones used in flooring are marble, granite, and travertine. Marble is a sedimentary rock made of calcite and has many varieties with different colours, textures, and spots. Granite is usually greenish-grey with some brown streaks. Travertine, which is often confused as being a type of limestones such as Florida or Texas limestone, is an igneous rock that was once molten lava poured from the Earth's core. It now consists mostly of calcite made up of crystals that look like daggers sticking outwards from one side to another side.
Benefits of Installing Natural Stone Tile Floors at Home
Natural stone tile floors are aesthetically pleasing because they provide a natural beauty to the house, and people who have them often report feeling an increased sense of peace or relaxation. They are durable so they will last for many years, unlike regular ceramic tile. It's also easy to clean because it's porous, unlike regular ceramic tile which can be hard to scrub up if dirt builds up over time. Natural stone tiles are the perfect choice for places that see a lot of bumping into walls or chairs, giving these areas higher protection than you might get with other options like laminate or carpeted flooring.
Guide to Selecting the Right Type of Tile for Your Project
While there are many different types of natural stone, the most popular types that home builders and homeowners typically use are granite, marble, limestone, or slate. For interior flooring, people typically prefer granite because it's more durable than marble. Marble is often used for wall cladding because it's more affordable than granite. When considering exterior surfaces like patios and walkways, homeowners typically prefer either limestone or granite since both stones aren't as susceptible to cracking or staining as slate is. Limestone tends to be softer than even some varieties of granite but will stand up to acidic substances better. Granite is an extremely hard mineral with a heavy feel that provides excellent footing on slippery surfaces due to its smooth surface.
How to Clean and Maintain your Floors with Maintenance Tips
The most important thing to keep in mind with natural stone tile is that you should seal them periodically. The reasons being, they are porous and as time goes by they will begin taking on a dull tone as well as stains from anything that spills or seeps into their crevices. In addition to the sealing, recommended cleaning techniques include wiping them down daily with a wet microfiber cloth and cleaning them weekly with a mixed solution made of one part vinegar to two parts water.
The absorption rating indicates how porous a particular material is. The more absorbent it is, the more sensitive the stone is to stains. Absorbent stone may also be susceptible to crushing damage when exposed to cold conditions. The rate of absorption of natural stones varies greatly, with sandstone being the most porous, and granite being the most resistant to water absorption. Absorption rates are classified according to the following conditions:
Non-vitreous: This is the highest absorption level. In most cases, non-vitreous tiles should not be used in any humid environment.
Semi-vitreous: While these tiles are less absorbent, the more liquid they are exposed to, the more maintenance they will require.
Glass: This is the standard absorption level for floor tiles and this material is generally considered most suitable for low to moderate traffic indoor and outdoor applications.
Some retailers use a grading system to evaluate the quality of items. It can indicate the size, shape and thickness of the tile as well as its surface condition. Most grading systems have three levels of quality:
Grade 1 refers to standardized, high quality materials.
Grade 2 consists of materials with minor imperfections, such as chips, scratches, or irregular surfaces.
Grade 3 materials have significant size, shape, surface or cut imperfections, making them suitable only as accent pieces or in some rustic decorative applications.
Coefficient of friction
It measures how well different materials glide. The higher the coefficient, the greater the traction force of the tile. This number is especially important in humid environments such as bathrooms and kitchens, as well as high-traffic commercial areas. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires flooring materials to have a minimum drying coefficient of 0.6.