Natural Stone Flooring 101

Natural stone flooring is often chosen for its aesthetic appeal and ability to endure. The hard, durable nature of stone makes it an ideal material for commercial buildings, especially in high traffic areas like lobbies and hallways. By choosing the right type, style, and finish, natural stone can meet the visual and performance objectives of almost any flooring project.

Natural Stone Options

The various environmental factors present when stone is formed dictate exactly how it will look and what properties it will have. Several types of natural stone are used to create flooring, but the following few are the most popular:

Marble

Marble is a metamorphic rock made up of crystalized limestone. Its beautifully patterned and highly resilient surface have made it a much prized flooring, cladding, and structural material for thousands of years.

Granite

Granite is one of the hardest and most durable types of natural stone. It is made of varying quantities of quartz, mica, and feldspar, giving it an array of visual effects.

Slate

Slate is commonly used as flooring because its layered structure allows it to be separated easily into tiles. Slate is grey in color but it sometimes has a hint of blue, black, brown, purple, or red.

The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Natural Stone

When determining whether the visual appearance and physical properties of natural stone are right for your commercial flooring project, there are some drawbacks and benefits that should be taken into account:

Positives

  • Appearance
  • Natural stone creates an instant appearance of quality and elegance.
  • Choice

The rocks used to make marble, granite, and slate tile flooring differ greatly, and as a result no two tiles are completely alike. Colors, patterns, and textures all vary from quarry to quarry, so buyers have a wide range of choice.

Versatility

With so many types of stone to choose from, the material is suitable for any environment. Marble looks sophisticated, slate has a rustic appearance, and granite is urban and edgy. Each type of stone has its own strengths.

Negatives

  • Subflooring

Natural stone flooring requires very h4 and completely level subflooring to support its heavy weight. Any bumps or unevenness can cause cracks to occur in tiles.

Cost

The price of stone flooring varies depending on the type, quality, and thickness of the stone you choose, but in general it tends to be more expensive than other flooring materials. The exact cost will also depend on the size and complexity of the space you need to cover, and fitting costs should be taken into account as well. Marble is usually the most expensive natural stone option, with slate being the cheapest.

Natural Stone Floor Finish

To maintain the durability and finish of natural stone, a sealant is recommended by most manufacturers. Sealants make the stone resistant to water, oil, food stains, and grease, and it can even prevent it from chipping.

Stone Floor Maintenance

When choosing the right flooring type for a commercial building, the amount of effort and money you will have to put into maintaining its look is an important factor. Fortunately, most types of natural stone require very little maintenance.
Granite is the hardest stone used for flooring, and the material is difficult to break even when objects are dropped on it. It also requires the least attention because it is naturally resistant to grease, oil, and acidic food substances. However, small, hard particles can scratch its surface. To keep it clean, granite should be swept and mopped with warm water on a daily basis.
Slate is hard and durable, similar to granite, but it is also brittle. It needs to be dusted and mopped with warm water regularly, and sealed to keep it from flaking. Marble should be cleaned with very mild cleaning products, and it needs to be rinsed well to prevent water stains.

Environmental Impact

With public interest in environmental causes growing, making sure that commercial buildings make environmentally friendly choices is essential. Fortunately, natural stone has a much lower environmental impact than most man-made flooring materials.

  • Stone is mined directly from the ground and requires no additional chemical processes.
  • Stone tiles retain heat well and are a good addition to a building’s insulation.
  • You can use reclaimed tiles to further reduce the environmental impact.

Green Shield Floors UV Floor Sealer for Natural Stone

One of the best applications for this sealer is on natural stone.  Not only does it protect it from scratches, it also enhances the visual aesthetics of  the veins providing it a permanent wet finish look.