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Is there a perfect floor covering? Is there one that has stood the test of time, is durable, easy to maintain, beautiful, unique, versatile and also adds resale value to your home? Well, the argument that nothing is perfect may be valid. The stone floor, however, is perhaps just close enough to blur the line. The most likely question is which one is best for you? Find out here in our stone flooring buying guide.

What is a stone floor?

Soil stone is natural rock taken from the earth and prepared for use as soil. Most stone flooring comes in tile form and is installed much the same way as porcelain or ceramic tile. It has been around for as long as buildings have existed.

Although often used as bathroom or kitchen flooring, stone flooring is also popular in dining rooms and laundry rooms. It’s certainly not limited to these apps. Any room in your home can benefit from the addition of stone flooring. You are probably familiar with stone flooring in commercial buildings and for outdoor patio flooring as well.

Types of stone floors

All types of stone floors start as natural quarry stone. Some types are simply cut, finished and installed, while others are mixed with resins or other materials before being ready for use. All types are available in a myriad of tile sizes and have their own unique characteristics. A few are also sold as mosaics, tiles or even cast installations.

Stone Flooring Factors to Consider

Before making this potentially costly decision, there are a few things to consider. The first consideration is that a stone floor is designed to last a long time. If you’re someone who likes to change carpet colors often, make sure the stone flooring you choose is something you can live with for the long haul. Here are some other factors to consider when making your decision.

Structural requirements

Simply put, stone floors are heavy. Older homes may require reinforcement of undersized floor joists to properly support the additional weight. All homes will need sufficient subfloor thickness and will likely require the addition of suitable underlayment material. It’s a good idea to understand the additional costs you may incur well before installation begins.

Use

One thing that sets stone floors apart from other flooring is their multitude of types and styles available. Each type has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. All types of stone floors can be installed in damp locations. Some of them are better suited for this than others, however. Others are less prone to scratches and damage from wear and tear. Yet others require more or less care depending on the conditions to which they are subjected.

Consider the intended location of your stone floor and the abuse it will face. Find a material that balances the strength needed with the look you want.

Maintenance

The majority of stone floor types will require some maintenance. All are at least somewhat vulnerable to staining. Some may be damaged by water intrusion. Sedimentary types tend to be porous and require the most protection through periodic applications of sealer.

Less porous stones, such as igneous and composite types, may require little sealing or come with a factory-applied sealer. The use of harsh chemicals to clean stone floors is not recommended. Knowing what maintenance will be required for your new floor will save you from surprises.

To finish

There are several finish options to choose from. The finish of a stone floor plays a major role in its appearance, texture, proper use and cost. The type of material and its use will determine the appropriate finishes for your floor. Polished, Honed, Refined, Brushed, and Natural are commonly applied sheens. In general, more polished finishes will command higher prices than their less polished counterparts.

guarantee

Few defects require replacement under warranty. Manufacturers tend to offer long warranties on materials, believing they won’t be necessary. It is good practice, however, to pay attention to workmanship warranties offered by installing contractors. Check the fine print. Comprehensive and detailed coverage is more important than a long warranty with limited protections.

Stone Floor Costs by Type

Stone flooring installations can be divided into three quite distinct price points, from lowest to highest. Keep in mind that the cost of stone tile installation shown here does not include demolition of existing flooring, preparation of subfloors or reinforcement, if necessary. Any labor and sealants will also be charged extra if you choose to have them applied by the installer. As always, be sure to shop around for installation quotes.

*Seamless poured terrazzo floors may exceed this amount.

How to choose the right stone floor for you

Price

The cost of installing stone flooring varies greatly. The final price will depend on the preparation needed, the material, the finish, the size of the space and the size of the tiles used. With future maintenance costs in mind, decide on a price first. You are sure to find a beautiful stone floor that will fit your budget and meet your needs.

Durability

All stone floors are considered durable. However, some will show signs of wear more quickly than others, and some are more prone to staining. Deciding what level of durability you need can determine which materials you choose. Will your floor take heavy traffic, spills, children’s toys or dog claws?

Maintenance

Maintenance amounts vary with floor types and finishes. Balance maintenance needs with appearance desires. For example, a highly polished marble floor may require more maintenance than a low-gloss slate patio.

resale value

If you don’t live in the last home you want to own, resale value can play a role in your flooring decisions. Generally, stone floors increase the value of a home. Some stone materials perform better than others. Consider the housing market where you live. In some places, a smaller footprint of expensive stone may be worth more than a large area covered by a less desirable material.

Do you like it?

Perhaps the most important thing to ask yourself is: do you like it? Stone floors are timeless classics. They can be very expensive, last 50-100 years or more, don’t change much in appearance over time, and are difficult and expensive to replace. Take your time to decide which one you prefer.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the most durable stone floor?

For all intents and purposes, granite is considered the most durable stone flooring material. It is hard to scratch and virtually impervious to liquids when properly sealed.

How long does a stone floor last?

Natural stone and engineered stone flooring can last 50 to 100 years or more with proper maintenance. Some old stone floors still exist and still look great.

Which is better: stone or tile?

Stone floors are most often installed as small or large tiles, or even larger slabs. Ceramic tiles do not offer a slab option. There are almost limitless variations in colors and styles of stone and ceramic tiles. Being a product of nature, each stone tile is one of a kind. In addition, stone floors have a higher resale value than ceramic tile floors.


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