Natural Stone Tile Flooring Options
The color and appearance of a single stone tile won't represent the entire batch required to surface a floor -- even if all the tiles were cut from the same block of stone.
The finish on stone tiles must be carefully chosen and matched to the anticipated wear. For example a highly polished marble will dull on the floor in a beach house. For that reason you might want to limit highly polished tiles to areas where soft footwear is generally worn, such as in a bedroom. Whatever stone you choose, glossy finishes have a tendency to show finger- and footprints and can be slippery when wet. For better traction, choose a honed finish.Types of stone
Some stones are naturally hard and nonporous, and therefore maintenance free.
- Granite is the most durable natural stone -- it can withstand heat and moisture, and is impervious to stains. Rare colors and unusual patterns of granite cost significantly more than more commonly occurring grays and beiges.
- Soapstone starts out as a light gray color and then mellows to a dark charcoal after oiling and aging. Like granite it can withstand heat and moisture and doesn't stain when oiled regularly.
- Slate is slightly more porous that granite but is also durable.
- Marble, travertine, and limestone are porous stones, so they must be sealed regularly to reduce staining.
Stone and tile floors can feel pretty cold against bare feet, especially in northern climates. With a little forethought you can take the chill out of these floors by installing a radiant or hydronic heating system below your new flooring. (Stay away from underfloor heating if you're installing a solid wood floor; the change in temperature causes too much expansion and contraction and can cause permanent gaps and bulges in the flooring.)
Radiant heating systems typically have a network of electrical heating cables or hot-water-filled tubes installed between the subfloor and finish floor. Most systems can be installed across the entire floor or confined to a specific area such as the space in front of a vanity or tub. Like other heating systems a thermostat that can be turned on or off, up or down, controls the temperature. Radiant heating systems are available for purchase from most home centers.
- Planning Your Flooring Project
- Preparing a Room & Floor for New Flooring
- Installing Ceramic & Stone Tile: How To Install Tile
- Installing Wood Flooring: How To Install a Wood Floor
- Installing Laminate Flooring: How To Install a Laminate Floor
- Installing Resilient Floors: How To Install a Resilient Floor
- Installing Carpeting: How To Install Carpet
- Installing & Staining Cement Overlays: How to Install Cement Floors
- Installing & Finishing Baseboards: How To Install Baseboard
- Paint & Epoxy: How to Apply a Paint or Epoxy Floor Coating
- Floor Repair: How to Repair & Maintain Floors