Natural stone flooring has been around since the beginning of time. As long as people could quarry the stone, they have been able to use it as flooring and building material.
The most common types of stone flooring are granite, marble, slate, limestone, or travertine. Each stone has its own unique look, and comes with its own list of pros and cons.
Depending on the type of stone, there is a variety of colors and natural patterns available. Because stone is a natural product, there can be a lot of variation between the individual stones.
Types of Natural Stone Flooring:
Granite is a common type of igneous rock. It is formed when molten material cools and hardens. Because it is formed naturally, no two pieces of granite are alike. Granite is a hard, durable material that comes in a wide range of colors and patterns. It will not scratch, but if stuck hard enough, it can chip or crack. A downfall of granite is that it is a porous material. Granite floors will need to be periodically sealed. This keeps them waterproof and prevents staining.
Marble is a metamorphic rock, meaning the original sedimentary rock was subjected to high heat. As a result, this caused it to go through a physical and chemical change. There are a variety of natural coloration and veining patterns. Marble is prone to staining, scratching, and chipping. It is also sensitive to acids and caustic chemicals.
Slate is also a metamorphic rock, like marble. Although, slate is a softer stone, making it more susceptible to scratches. Some types of slate are more absorbent than others. You’ll have to periodically seal more absorbent slate, although denser slate may not need sealed at all. Two other disadvantages of slate are that it has a gritty texture and that it only comes in a limited range of color options.
A sedimentary rock, Limestone is mainly comprised of calcium carbonate. Corral, shells, algae, clams, mussels, and oysters accumulate and form the limestone. Limestone usually comes in lighter shades, but it is also available in red and brown colors. Also, because it is porous, it will need to be sealed. It is also a softer stone, and it is more susceptible to damage. Limestone is typically cheaper than other types of natural stone.
A type of limestone, Travertine is formed around mineral spring deposits. This flooring is usually found in earth tones, and it is visibly porous. The stone will need to be sealed. Travertine is much easier to install and fix than certain other stone floors.
Pros of Natural Stone:
Stone floors are durable and easy to keep clean. It also works well with radiant heat systems.
Cons of Natural Stone:
Some stones are higher maintenance than others. The flooring will need to be regularly sealed, depending on the porosity. Stone is uncomfortable to stand on, and can easily scratch of chip.
Other Types of Flooring:
Not sure if natural stone is the right flooring for you? You can learn more about the other types of flooring here.