Natural Stone Flooring
Choose Stone For Floors That are Durable, Beautiful, And One-of-a-Kind
While many homeowners are installing stone countertops, it's less common to encounter stone flooring. Partially, this is due to price: stone floors are more expensive than ceramic, linoleum, vinyl, and even hardwood. But those who can afford the extra cost are rewarded with floors that are uniquely gorgeous and will last a lifetime.
Stone Flooring Options
Natural stone floors are available in a number of materials and finishes. Some of the most popular are detailed below.
Types of Stone
The hardness, durability, and unique appearance of granite make it one of the most common choices for stone flooring. It's strong enough to use in high-traffic areas, and available in many varieties, each of which, thanks to natural mineral deposits and coloration, looks distinct from the other. Water and stain resistance depends on the type and density of the granite purchased.
Slate has a distinct grayish color that looks great for any interior or exterior floor, whether it's in the kitchen, bathroom, sunroom, or outdoor patio. While hard and durable as well as abrasion and chemical resistant, slate is porous, and requires regular resealing for moisture protection.
Limestone is typically purchased in neutral beige and cream colors, although shades of grey, blue, green, brown, and other colors can also be found. A naturally low-shine stone, limestone is good at hiding scratches and appropriate for high-use areas. Once you seal it, regular mopping is the only maintenance required.
Marble has long been the choice of those who want to add a touch of classic elegance to their home. It's not the best material, however, for high-traffic areas, and as a porous stone, stains and water can be problematic. Consider marble for a formal living room or other moderate-traffic floor.
If you're looking for a more rustic stone floor, sandstone is a good option. Lacking the wide range of colors that other stones do, hard and durable sandstone holds up well to all kinds of daily use and can be used anywhere in the home, including bathrooms and kitchens.
Types of Finishes
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The finish applied to a stone floor is different than the wax or sealant that stone needs for maximum performance. While sealing a stone floor helps it to resist stains, water, and scratches, finishing stone floors is primarily about aesthetics, although finish does have some bearing on how well the stone wears in addition to how comfortable and safe it is to walk on.
If you prefer to leave stone in its natural state for a more rugged look, a rough finish may be what you're looking for. More often, however, homeowners opt for a more refined look, such as that of a polished finish. There's also the in-between matte appearance offered by a honed finish.
So-called impact finishing uses tools to create stone floors that have a worn-down antique or medieval appearance. Specific impact finishes include brush hammering and tooling.
A final way to finish your stone floor is by using chemicals. Acid washing is common with limestone, marble, and granite. The specific effects of the acid depend on the type of stone and the amount of time the acid is left on for.
Stone Flooring Costs
- All of the natural stone flooring materials described above should cost somewhere between $5 and $50 per square foot installed. If this seems like an overly-broad price range, consider that the quality of individual stone products varies greatly. While basic materials may be purchased for as little as $2 to $4 per square foot, thicker cuts of more detailed stones can cost as much as $25 to $50 per square foot.
- That said, for decent quality materials, expect to pay somewhere around $10 to $25 per square foot installed.
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