There’s nothing quite like natural stone flooring to add beauty and elegance to your home, both inside and out. Since stone is an organic material, no two tiles look exactly alike. This is a major draw to homeowners who want to achieve a unique look.
However, before you select stone tiles based on their appearance alone, here’s what you need to know about choosing a natural stone flooring material that will work best for the application you have in mind.
Natural Stone Flooring is Porous – What’s that Mean?
Stone is a porous material, which means it absorbs water and liquid spills. Stone tile manufacturers rate specific materials based on how porous they are. From most to least porous, these include:
- Non-vitreous: Don’t use tiles with thisrating in damp environments or they could become damaged.
- Semi-vitreous: Tiles with this rating require regular maintenance when exposed to moisture.
- Vitreous: This is the standard absorption level for stone tiles. This rating is ideal for low- to medium-traffic areas and can stand up to moisture exposure.
- Impervious: Tiles with this rating are ideal for outdoor, commercial and high-traffic areas where you want liquid resistance and very low maintenance.
READ MORE: Buyers Guide to Marble Stone in Houston
Thickness, shape, size and condition are all important when selecting natural stone tiles. The tiles you select may be given one of three ratings:
- Grade 1 is for the highest quality stone tiles.
- Grade 2 products have minor chips and irregularities that prevent perfect uniformity.
- Grade 3 is usually reserved for rustic decorations or antique replicas since they have major irregularities and flaws.
If you plan to install natural stone flooring outside or next to a pool where it’s bound to get wet, you should look for a higher coefficient of friction. This means when the stone gets wet, the surface doesn’t become too slippery.
The finish plays a large role in determining what the stone will look like and how slippery it is when wet. Finishing options include the following:
- A polished finish creates a glossy, reflective surface.
- A honed finish has a smooth, velvety surface and little to no gloss.
- A tumbled finish creates a weathered, aged appearance. Chipped edges and imperfections make the stone look like it was just hewn from the mountain.
- An antique brushed finish is another way to achieve a rustic, slightly pitted look by replicating the natural aging process.
Natural Stone Flooring Maintenance
Before you decide stone is definitely the right flooring material for you, consider the material’s maintenance requirements:
- You should dust mop the floor frequently to remove dust, dirt and sand. These abrasive substances can scratch your stone flooring over time.
- Place welcome mats or rugs at all entrances and ask guests to wipe their feet before entering to minimize the accumulation of dust, dirt and sand in your home.
- Occasionally clean the floor with a small amount of mild dishwashing detergent or neutral pH stone cleaner. Avoid abrasive bathroom and grout cleaners, scouring powders, vinegar, lemon, and other acidic cleaners. Thoroughly rinse the surface after washing to remove soap residue and prevent streaking.
- Blot spills immediately to help prevent staining. Don’t wipe spills as this could increase the stained area.
- To remove stains, flush the area immediately with water and soap. Rinse and dry. If the stain remains, a stone stain remover should do the trick. Several applications may be required to remove tough stains.
For more information about selecting, installing and caring for natural stone flooring, please contact us today!