The term natural is used, as there are many man-made “stone look” ceramic tiles in the market place these days. Natural is the real thing; the authentic, beautiful earthy stone that adds warmth and depth to your floor and home. There’s a massive resurgence of stone flooring is Europe and the USA with more stone being laid in the 21st century than ever before, which is pretty amazing considering that stone was the original flooring (after dirt). The stone being quarried is also changing. Never before have we have this amount of choice available to us. The range of colours and textures are very impressive and luckily there are great tile retailers all over the country that now stock an extensive range of natural stone flooring!
With all of its perfection and imperfection, natural stone is often described as timeless--not only will it often last longer than your actual home, its look and feel being “of the earth” renders it eternal. Think museum, church, art space, heritage, comfortable, grand, unpretentious, contemporary, stylish!
A very important part of your decision making process when choosing natural stone in preference to ceramic tiles are your expectations!
With natural stone you have to “give up” on expecting a “perfect” surface (except with stone like marble and granite which are often polished smooth). This is an important concept for stone buyers! Europeans don’t expect their stone floors to retain an always perfect, absolutely pristine look. They know that stone does not work this way. If it has life, it looks better when worn, like a Turkish rug. If an absolutely faultless, clean look is your preferred style go for a marble or granite stone tile (if suitable for the area you will be having floored) or choose a ceramic tile (there’ll be no tears then!).
Any type of natural stone will always be warmer underfoot than ceramic (man-made) tiles. Natural stone absorbs heat, from direct sunlight or from internal home heating systems, then releases that heat slowly over time- a natural insulator! Underfloor heating can be installed prior to laying a stone floor (if you have the money and live in a cold climate), though mostly it is not necessary. Ceramic tile is virtually always chilly. Nine times out of ten a ceramic tile will actually deflect the sun. Natural stone wins hands down on being more comfortable underfoot!
It is often said that ceramic tiles are much easier to care for compared to stone, as harsh detergents do not effect them, stains wash off easily and ceramic tiles don’t require sealants. All true, yet natural stone flooring is also easy to care for and simple to maintain. Stone can always be rejuvenated!
Installing natural stone tile is slightly more difficult than installing the manufactured ceramic tiles from a home improvement, but the results are far more unique and the materials will last a lifetime.
- This will add elegance of natural stone to your bathroom walls for little more than the cost of standard ceramic tiles.
- Home improvement and tile shops carry a huge selection of marble, limestone and granite, and the installation techniques are virtually the same as for ceramic.