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What to Consider, If You're Considering Stone Flooring

By Brett Freeman
What to Consider, If You're Considering Stone Flooring

Stone floors bring to mind forceful descriptors--marble floors are classic; granite tiles are a dramatic touch; travertine or slate flooring is sturdy, or weighty, or substantial. But none of them are really "homey" or "comfortable." If you are considering installing stone floors in one or more rooms in your home, make sure to consider how those rooms are used before taking the plunge.

A First Impression That Is Set in Stone

Stone flooring is particularly suited for entryways. Marble or granite tiles can help make an immediate first impression on guests, and they also stand up to the heavy traffic you expect in a foyer. Stone floors are also a good choice if your home has an office, den, or library. It is an obvious choice if you have a formal dining room. Stone works well in rooms where you host visitors or guests. It is good in rooms where you entertain. But while granite and travertine are great in rooms where you want to impress, they're not necessarily the right choice in rooms where you just want to hang out.

Places Where Stone Doesn't Rock

Stone flooring is popular in bathrooms, and can certainly be a beautiful compliment to other popular bathroom d├ęcor items such as travertine counters and a cultured marble tub. But that beauty comes at a price. Marble in particular is susceptible to staining from water if the water is allowed to sit on the surface, which is difficult to avoid in a room where you step from the tub or shower every day. Regular exposure to moisture also means that the stone floor in your bathroom requires resealing and re-polishing even more often than it would in other rooms. In cold weather, stone flooring tends to be cold and unpleasant to walk on and slippery when wet. If you do take a spill, it's a very unforgiving landing surface.

Kitchens likewise tend to be a bad fit for stone flooring. Acidic liquids like lemon or orange juice or wine can stain all types of stone flooring (and again marble in particular), and these stains can be difficult to remove. And stone is, by its very nature, rock-hard. Plates, glasses, or crockery that slip out of your hand end up in a million pieces if your kitchen has stone flooring.

Stone might also be the wrong choice in bedrooms--particularly kids' rooms--and the "comfort" rooms in your home, like the family room or play room. Stone doesn't absorb sound the way hardwood flooring or carpeting does. It's not comfortable so it's a bad choice for rooms where people might lounge about in bare or stocking feet or where they might want to sit or play on the floor.

Sources

Ask the Builder, Granite and Marble Flooring, by Tim Carter

BobVila.com, Trends in Stone

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