What is Natural Stone Flooring? Types, Cost, Pros, & Cons

Natural Stone Floor

Natural stone flooring is the most outstanding material for residential and commercial use. It is the best choice to install a long-lasting, natural, and resilient flooring in your outdoor space.

Are you interested to know what is natural stone flooring types, cost, pros and cons?

Stone floor tiles are prone to staining because it is a porous material and should be used for indoors. There is a variety in its tiles, and each tile is different.

You might be worried that your project will be incomplete if the same tiles you used are unavailable in the market. Each natural stone tile is recommended for a specific use, depending on the type.

We have described here all the information that you are thinking. You will find in detail stone floor types, pros & cons, and more.

Types of Natural Stone Flooring

When searching for natural floor ideas, it’s better to get information about the available types. Different types of stone floor tiles are given below in detail.

Marble

Marble is well-known for its traditional appearance of an even texture, semi-matte finish, attractive design, and comfort. Since marble is available in wide-ranging colors, the most popular is the white one.

It is available in every size and shape; the format is the largest, and the mosaic is the smallest. Marble is the best option to get a spa-like appearance and vibe in the bathroom.

Marble Floor

Most homeowners select marble for their flooring and countertops. However, it is not recommended for kitchen floors because marble is smooth, made of calcium, and acidic foods and liquids might dull the finish.

The acidic liquids such as orange juice and vinegar might etch the kitchen countertops made of marble.

The bathroom products are also unsuitable for marble because toothpaste and other cosmetics also contain acid. However, these acids don’t damage marble as much as kitchen acids.

Marble polishing powder, etch remover, and many other DIY products are used to polish and repair the scratching and etching. But, the kitchen scratches will not be removed completely.

Granite

If you need only durability, granite tile is the best among all floor stone types. It is best for kitchen floor and countertops, and on the Mohs scale, it ranks a 7, which shows that it is harder than marble.

It is resistant to etching and scratching. If you seal its surface, it will be resistant to stains. However, dark color granite tiles do not require sealing.

Grime, dirt, and dust particles can be easily swept from their surface and do not require daily cleaning.

Granite Floor

It has been the perfect choice of homeowners for decades for powerful performance and easy maintenance.

Granite stone tiles are great for driveways and patios—expert artistry combined with the natural beauty of stone to get an attractive design.

Granite flooring delivers a graceful and attractive touch to any space. Modern residential areas owners pick granite for their bathroom and kitchen.

Travertine

When limestone is boiled in mineral water, travertine is formed. It is an eye-catching flooring option due to its distinctive appeal and looks.

Travertine stone tile flooring is perfect for corridors, halls, washrooms, laundry rooms, and bathrooms. It is similar to marble and limestone, so they all possess the same properties, working, and maintenance requirements.

One problem in common is that they are prone to scratching and etching due to acidic products and harsh chemicals.

Travertine Floor

So, it is necessary to gain knowledge about its cleaning and maintenance. It requires more maintenance when used as a kitchen floor.

Most people select it for their pool decks. The garden and pool surroundings perfectly match the sand-like color. It is anti-slip and is cooler than other floors on red-hot days.

Since it is slip-resistant and durable, so it is best for pavements.

Quartzite

These are popular stone tiles for walls and decorative tiles, but now they are used extensively for kitchen countertops. It looks like marble, but its functioning, toughness, and low maintenance are similar to granite.

Mohs hardness scale rated it as 7 with a similar hardness to granite. Temperature and pressure change it into much harder quartzite tile flooring stone.

Quartzite Floor

Quartzite floor is best for high-traffic areas, outdoor spaces, and patios. It is famous for its high heat, scratch resistance, and sparkling shine.

Quartzite is best for insides and open-air floors. It can be used inside the house in the kitchen, countertops, and fireplace surroundings.

Keep in Mind!

Quartzite and marble look similar, so you can check them with lemon juice before buying. However, quartzite is more long-lasting and easy to maintain.

Slate

Slate is popular for its fine lines and distinctive split texture. Its gorgeous look and sturdiness are the main pros of this flooring stone.

They come in brown, green, purple, red, black, and a mixture of these colors. Its type and other organic materials describe its color.

Slate Floor

There is a problem with slate flooring stone: their durability, rigidity, and features differ. Some slates are so strong that they can bear damage, while others are prone to chipping and scratching.

So, always check the quality of the slate before buying.

Limestone

Limestone is less popular compared to marble and travertine floor, but aesthetically they are equal. It is made of calcium carbonate. Usually, it is available in the form of mineral calcite like marble.

This sedimentary rock is found in fossilized creatures, corals, shells, shallow aquatic water, and fungus.

Limestone Floor

Limestone is best for concrete collection, road foundation, and track balance due to its durability. It does not damage by freezing environments and scratching. Limestone and marble have similar maintenance requirements.

It should not be installed in kitchens because acidic products may damage it. But, they are best for bathrooms, living rooms, or outdoor areas.

Sandstone

Sandstone is a cozy and soil-like stone best for seashore and desert. It creates a sandy wavy texture in different colors like tan, brown, and bright red. They are also available in shades like gold, pink, white, and gray.

Sandstone Floor

Usually, sandstone comes in one solid color and has minimal textures. However, it shows spotted shades and patterns of different colors. It comprises soils, silicon, buildup, minerals, and cemented silicates.

This natural stone is prone to scratch because it is a porous and softer material. It is not long-lasting like granite but is hard enough to last for years.

It might discolor or scratch with wear or climate conditions if you install it in outdoor areas.

Finishes of Natural Stone Flooring

The natural stone’s outer layer’s appearance and vibe are termed a finish. A few finish types are available for wall tiles, floor tiles, and countertops like Tumbles, honed, antiqued, polished, flamed, and brushed.

Usually, two finishes are most commonly used; polished and honed. Tumbled is used to get a rustic and shabby look. If you want good traction, then a flamed finish is best.

Polished

The polished finish delivers a shiny and glittering reflective layer. The shade and design of the material are vibrant. Dirt, dust, stains, and grime are easily visible on this type of finish, and it is also slippery.

An anti-slip cleaner will recover traction on the floor surface. High maintenance is required for this, and it must be re-finished after some time. An experienced professional is needed to get a polished finish.

Honed

This finish delivers a velvety, uniform, and matte surface. It does not shine but has a little sheen. Its shades are more comfortable and soil-like.

The honed finish will provide the best results in washrooms, kitchens, stairs, high-traffic areas, and moisture areas where a non-slippery surface is required.

It rarely needs to refinish.

Tumbled

This finish has a textured and rough surface. Its surface is not smooth like a honed finish. This finish gives a round look to the edges of the tiles. It is famous for travertine tile.

Anti-slip tumbled finish comes in different varieties ranging from pebble-like texture to a rough-edged texture. Mostly granite floors use this finish. It is best for open-air floorings because it is difficult to keep clean.

Cost of Natural Stone Flooring

Here are some details about the cost of natural stone flooring:

Factors Affecting the Cost

The price of natural stone flooring, including its installation, is $8 – $47 per square foot. Some factors affect the cost of the stone flooring installation project.

  1. The price of larger flooring is much more than smaller ones.
  2. They will cost more if you want to create distinctive colors and designs.
  3. Rare stones are more costly such as exotic and imported ones.
  4. Stones with discontinued lines are inexpensive.
  5. Existing floor removal will cost extra charges.
  6. Subfloor preparation and repairing will require more charges.
  7. You will have to pay extra charges if you remove complexities like corners, obstacles, stairs, and irregular room shapes.

Cost of Stone Tiles

Natural stone flooring Average prices per square foot are given below:

Stone Types Cost
Marble $2.80 – $20.25
Granite $0.80 – $17.50
Travertine $2.15 – $10.35
Quartzite $3.50 – $7.75
Slate $2.20 – $12.50
Limestone $1.75 – $11.80
Sandstone $1.20 – $7.75

The exotic and rare shades and stones can be more costly.

Installation Cost

Installation of natural stone flooring costs a lot. The total installation labor and materials will be as much as the stone flooring price. Installers cost $5 – $20 per square foot to install natural stone flooring.

The wide-ranging prices are due to the difference in grouting, subfloor preparation, and complexity. Removing the subfloor will cost extra charges.

The expected price for removing the subfloor is $2 – $7. You must get the price details from different stone tile installers to understand the current price range.

Pros and Cons of Natural Stone Flooring

Advantages

  • Long-lasting
  • It can be installed over radiant heat, hence providing a cozy and comfortable surface
  • Organic colors and patterns deliver a graceful and beautiful space
  • Easy to maintain
  • Easy to clean
  • Can be repaired
  • Natural and environmentally friendly tiles
  • Increases the resale value
  • Keep the temperature cooler in your space

Disadvantages

  • Costly
  • Installation takes a lot of time

Properties of Natural Stone Flooring

While shopping for natural stone flooring tile, understanding some performance features and qualities is useful.

Absorption Rating


It depends on how porous the stone tile is. If the rating is high, the stone tile is susceptible to staining and is more absorbent. If a porous material with an increased absorption rate is installed in open-air, freezing situations, crack it.

Different natural stone tiles have different absorption rates. The most porous stone tile is sandstone, while granite has a low absorption rate because it is waterproof. You can perform an absorption test to see how porous a tile is.

The absorption rate can be reduced by applying a sealer. It will protect both the stone tile and grout.

Grade


The rating of the quality of the natural stone tile is given in the grading system. The main levels of the grading system describe pattern, color, irregularities, and consistency.

There are three grading system levels to rate the stone tile quality.

Grade 1

The top quality

Grade 2

Minor damage such as cracks, chips, scratches, and uneven shape

Grade 3

Major drawbacks in surface, shape, and size. These are used only for accents such as rustic decoration or wall covering.

Friction Co-efficient


It describes how slippery the stone tile is while it is wet. If a stone tile has a higher rating, its traction will be higher, so the chances of slipping will be low.

Experts look at this factor when choosing tile for bathroom, kitchen, other high-traffic areas of the house, or any place where safety is required.

The friction of a tile depends on the type of its finish. A honed finish is non-slippery, while a polished finish is much more slippery. You can improve the traction of a floor by using an anti-slip cleaner.

Oxidation


Natural stone formation occurs deep under the earth for thousands of years. There are different elements present in these stones that react with the air differently.

Due to oxidation, the tiles with iron content are degradable. This process is known as rusting.

Red and amber shade stones must be installed inside the house because the outside environment can increase its process of degeneration and cause stains of rust.

Even white stone tiles have small iron buildups that cause rust stains. They will create problems if you install them in the shower room. Marble tile flooring does not stain, even in the washroom.

You can fix this issue by applying a sealer on the surface of stone tiles.

Three Things to Remember about Natural Stone Floors

  1. Seal the surface of the stone tiles after installation for protection.
  2. Due to the variance in shades, always buy some extra tiles for your project because if you need them later, you might not get that color again.
  3. Use natural stone tile according to its type. Porous tiles are not recommended for humid and outdoor areas.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Which Natural Stone Flooring Is Best?

Marble is the best flooring because it is durable, timeless, and adds beauty to your home. Granite is popular for its hard edges and unique grain designs.

Is It Good to Install Natural Stone Flooring?

It is the best choice for homeowners because it is natural, has superior longevity, has unique designs, and remains in good condition for up to 100 years.

Explain Natural Stone Flooring?

Natural stone flooring tiles are made by cutting the stone block directly. We get them from minerals of mountains, unlike artificial stone products.

Is Natural Stone Water-Resistant?

Natural stone is a porous material, so it is not completely waterproof. Tiles with a low absorption rate have a little bit of waterproof surface. However, you can completely make them water-resistant by sealing them.

Does Natural Stone Slick when Wet?

Natural stones become slippery when they are wet. However, experts have found that the tile’s slipperiness does not depend on its roughness.

Final Thoughts

Natural stone flooring is one of the best residential and commercial area selections. This article taught you about natural stone flooring, its types, cleaning, and pros and cons.

Always install stone tiles according to their types. Use non-porous tiles for the high-moisture spaces; it would be better to seal them by finishing their surface.

You can enjoy the beauty and comfort of these tiles for hundred years if maintained properly.

Related Guides