Natural stone flooring, like marble, provides a unique and beautiful look.
Natural stone flooring comes in a variety of different materials and is purchased and installed in tile form. As you would expect, natural stone is rugged and durable, but can also be expensive.
The most common natural stone materials for flooring are:
Part of the limestone family, marble is known for its lively patterns and overall beauty, as well as its high price tag. Like most natural stone, it’s susceptible to staining, so make sure to have it sealed. Compared to granite, marble is more porous and less stain and scratch resistant. While polished marble has a luxurious look, honed marble will provide better traction in the bathroom.
It’s one of hardest and durable stones you can purchase, but because granite is porous, you’ll need to make sure to seal it about once a year. Granite will be slippery when wet, but honed granite will provide some traction, although it will still retain some of its slickness.
Made of shale and clay, slate has similar characteristics to granite and marble, as it’s durable but porous. Its cleft surface can provide better traction than other natural stones. While marble and granite can create a more elegant look, slate’s uneven and highly textured surfaces have more of a rustic appearance.
Like marble, travertine is in the limestone family, although it generally doesn’t have the sort of visually striking appearance of marble. Travertine is sometimes formed near hot springs, and the rising gas bubbles of those springs provide travertine with its pitted surface that features small holes. Most of travertine’s colors are soft, but not quite as muted as pure limestone.
“Travertine has a very natural look,” said Ersan Sayman of Floor and Décor Outlets of America. “And using travertine in the bathroom is a very big trend.”
As mentioned before, the surfaces of natural stones are porous and can stain. And while durable, natural stone is also hard and cold, although you can install any type of stone tile over radiant heating.
You’ll also find the following finish options for natural stone:
This will give a glossy finish, but it will make your surface extremely slippery, especially if using stone tile for the floor of a custom shower.
Your tiles will have more of a matte appearance, and won’t be overly smooth, which will provide for more traction. While honing materials like marble and granite will make them safer, they will obviously lose the glossy appearance most people associate with these surfaces.
This process can be used on stones like marble, travertine and slate. Tumbling will soften the edges of the tile and give the surface an unfinished, natural look.
- Tough and durable.
- Provides a variety of looks and styles.
- Polished surfaces are extremely slippery.
- Can feel cold and hard.
- Porous and susceptible to staining.
Travertine and slate can be purchased for as little a $1.50 per square foot, while marble and granite can start at $3 per square foot, and exceed $100. In general, the cost of stone can vary greatly, but do not assume that price is a reflection of quality. Prices can reflect production costs, demand and the rarity of specific color of stone.